Tips for Vacationing With Aging Parents: Pack Patience and Prescriptions

It’s finally here: lazy hazy days of summer. We’ve waited 10 long Canadian months for sunny days, sand between our toes, and cocktails at sunset. Family vacations are cherished times, something not to be missed, especially if your parents are getting older and less independent. If you are planning a multigenerational vacation with your children and your parents, we have 5 tips that will help make this summer family vacation unforgettable!

1. TRAVEL INSURANCE. It’s a must, even if travelling within Canada but outside the province of Ontario. OHIP, the first letter stands for Ontario. Residents of Ontario are only covered within the province of Ontario. It’s wise to invest in additional health insurance, including trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance. These types of insurance can cover certain costs of your trip should your parents fall ill prior to trip departure and can cover certain costs should someone fall ill or get injured during vacation. Check with a travel agent to get further information and advice on types of insurance.

2. LIST OF ALL MEDICATIONS. It’s imperative to have a list of all medications for all family members with you at all times during your trip in case of any type of emergency. Have a hard copy with you in your wallet and one on your phone as back up. Share these lists with one other person travelling with you.

3. KNOW THEIR SCHEDULE, PLAN AROUND IT. Keep in mind older people may to be somewhat set on schedules. Schedules tend to keep things in order and routine can offer a sense of familiarity and balance. If your parents are early risers, plan to stay at a hotel that offers continental breakfasts or stay within walking distance to a coffee shop where they can help themselves. It’s hard to plan for meals at specific times if you are travelling on the road so try and plan for snacks on hand. Elderly people tend to eat sparingly, so a cooler packed with sandwiches, fruits and other goodies is easy to prepare and always a good idea. If afternoon naps will interfere with adventures, talk with your parents. Let them know the plans for the day and perhaps think about winding the day down with a nice sit-down dinner and your parents can retire to their room afterward. Think about planning adventures every other day or give them the option to rest every other day at the hotel, campsite or cottage.

4. BE PATIENT. A parent NEVER stops being a parent. Be prepared to be told about directions, driving skills, choice of hotel, choice of music, amount of money being spent, pretty much anything. Arguments may happen and when they do there will be far fewer places to run. Take their assistance in stride. Remember, they were once in the driver’s seat taking you on great adventures! Don’t let tense situations carry over. Once the argument is finished it’s finished. Move on, great times are waiting on this fantastic family vacation.

5. STAY IN THE MOMENT. Time is the most precious commodity that most of us take for granted. Remember why you wanted to take this trip. Don’t think about the argument that happened last night or worry about what will happen tomorrow. Instead, think about making a playlist with some of your favourite songs played while you were vacationing with your parents as a child. Music can bring people together, lifts everyone’s spirits and can evoke great memories and help make fantastic new ones. Be sure to take lots of pictures and video to remember these great times together. Remember, time is our most precious commodity and time spent together is irreplaceable.

Strategic Property Solutions prides itself not only on the services we provide for our senior clients and their families, we also pride ourselves on working diligently to try and make any situation with family simple and memorable. Be sure to catch up on all our blogs and from our Strategic Property family we sincerely wish you and your family a wonderful and safe summer.

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