5 Tips for Planning a Healthy, Safe Family Getaway
Just because you have a disability or you’re not as nimble as you once were doesn’t mean you have to be a prisoner in your own home!
Traveling to visit family, especially grandkids, or a trip to an exciting new destination can be refreshing and a nice change of pace. Whether the trip is solo or accompanied by others, here are five tips to make sure you are planning healthy, safe family getaway.
1. Plan: Request and reserve special services
Plan as far in advance as possible so that your trip goes smoothly. If you are traveling via airline, train, or bus, request seats in rows designated for disabled travelers. Request free in-airport transportation or wheelchair service at your origin, connection, and arrival locations.
If there is meal service aboard your transportation, advise the reservation system of any dietary needs when you reserve transportation. If you don’t make and confirm any special requests at the time of reservation, the airline, train or bus line is not obligated to make them available while you are en route.
Plan the most direct and shortest travel schedule possible.
It may cost you a little more, but the discomfort and hassle that can arise during connections can make the price of direct routes worth it.
If you are staying at a hotel or with family, find out what kind of daily assistive equipment they have available in their bathrooms — the shower and bathtub are some of the most dangerous places in a house for falling.
Do they have grab bars in the shower or around the toilet? Most hotels will have a room with assistive devices, but you must request this when making your reservation. If you are staying with family or friends, see if they can have some temporary equipment available when you arrive.
There are several items that can assist that don’t require putting holes in walls. A good bathtub safety rail like the Lumex Safety Rail (69623A) can be installed quickly to assist you in stepping over a bathtub wall. Or a simple free-standing shower chair like the Lumex Shower Chair (7921KD-1) can provide a convenient way to avoid slipping on wet, soapy surfaces and bathe sitting down. These are readily available from a local Durable Medical Equipment provider or a large pharmacy at very reasonable prices.
2. Packing Medical Info and Medication
It’s a good idea to have copies of prescriptions and medical condition statements from your physician. Make several copies along with medical insurance cards, driver’s license, and passport. One set to keep with you in carry-on bags, another in luggage, and another for family members in case of an emergency.
Most seniors take five or more medications daily. Carrying all these medication bottles can take up lots of room in your luggage.
As you prepare for your travels, consider buying a Pill Organizer to pre-organize your medication while you are away.
A version like the Lumex Pill Organizer (5717) can hold up to a week’s worth of medication. It has 4 compartments (morning, noon, evening, bedtime) for each day of the week. If you are staying longer than a week, get one for each week you will be gone. It will save luggage space and keep your medication in order.
3. Plan for Security Lines
If you are traveling by airplane, train, or bus, the security line is unavoidable. But even if you are traveling by car, these recommendations can still be relevant for easy access to important items.
Place all prescriptions and over-the-counter medications in a clear bag, like a zip-lock freezer bag.
Each pill organizer can be placed in a separate clear bag. Also, keep copies of your prescriptions in your carry-on in case security needs proof.
It’s a good idea to keep most of your medication in your carry-on bag, but also keep a day or two worth in your checked luggage. Keeping some in each location will ensure you have enough in case one or the other is stolen or lost. This will ensure you have time to get to a pharmacy if needed.
Even though you may have arranged for transportation, it is still a good idea to have a walking aid available to help you. A cane like the Lumex Folding Cane (5950A) is small and light enough to keep in a carry-on bag. This can be unfolded quickly and be used to provide balance while waiting in a line or assist you in standing up from a chair.
4. Make yourself comfortable during the wait
Unfortunately, travel can mean a lot of sitting and waiting in cars as well as lines at the airport, train, or bus station. Arranging special services such as wheelchair transportation in advance can help with getting around, but not with the wait.
Be prepared to sit or stand a lot, which can put stress on your lower back and leg muscles.
Wear comfortable shoes and socks to help keep blood circulating. Consider bringing a lumbar cushion like the Lumex Lumbar Cushion (DM80). This light cushion will provide support to your lower back during these long waits.
5. Enjoy … and take lots of pictures!
We’d love to see them. Tag us on social media or send us your favorite shot with a Graham-Field product in the picture.
Cynthia Counts is Vice President of Product Management & Homecare SBU, and Ryan Howe is a Product Manager at Graham-Field.
About GF Health Products, Inc.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with more than 300 US-based employees, GF Health Products, Inc. is a major manufacturer of healthcare products for the acute care, extended care, homecare and primary care markets. The Graham-Field family of brands includes Basic American Medical Products, Everest & Jennings, Grafco, Hausted, John Bunn, Labtron, Lumex and Lumiscope. Visit www.grahamfield.com or call 770-368-4700.