Torrential rains are expected later today, making travel across the region treacherous. Gale-force winds are grounding flights.
Going on a trip any time of year takes some attentive planning to work around both travel and destination weather, particularly if you are an older adult or are accompanying an elder loved one. Increasingly popular senior travel includes grandparents treating grandkids to celebration trips and adult children vacationing with parents or in-laws. But how does seasonal weather affect older adults who travel?
“Traveling as a senior or with a senior is an ideal way to enjoy fun, enriching memories with family and friends,” said Cathy Queen,RN Owner of Right at Home of the Rivercities. “Yet, as with any travel experience, it’s important to consider the weather. No matter the mode of transportation or destination, there are a number of steps older adults and their caregivers can take to help ensure a comfortable and pleasant journey come rain, shine, snow, high winds or heat.”
Queen recommends the following tips for seniors who travel in inclement weather:
Springtime thunderstorms, lightning and hail are problematic. Flooding and mudslides from snowmelt can close roads and entire communities, putting travelers at risk of being stuck in train and bus stations or along roadsides. Also, in southern states, peak season for tornadoes is typically March through June; summertime twisters are more likely in northern states. But Mother Nature can surprise us with tornadoes any month of the year.
• Choose a morning flight or travel departure time. If weather causes trip delays or cancelations, you will have more options throughout the day to schedule alternative travel.
• Check weather at connecting travel cities, not just at your destination. If weather looks threatening, you can contact your airline, train operator, etc. to see if you can be rerouted.
• Pack a raincoat, rain poncho or other waterproof coat along with a compact umbrella.
Sizzling heat and soaring humidity can cause sunburn, dehydration and other health challenges for travelers. Seniors are susceptible to hyperthermia, the general term used for heat-related illnesses including heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Note that certain medications including heart and blood pressure drugs and diuretics can limit one’s ability to perspire.
• Stay well-hydrated. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and be sure to drink up. Plan ahead on your day excursions to refill or restock your water supply as you go.
• Wear and reapply sunscreen regularly. Caregivers can help with slathering sunscreen on hard-to-reach places. UV protection is essential for those with thinning hair or bald heads.
• Dress in light, natural fabrics. For cooler indoor and evening environments, you can easily add a sweater or jacket.
No matter how many years turn on the calendar, there’s nothing like autumn travel to see the turning leaves or visit pumpkin patches and apple orchards. But the shortening days plus rain and fog can reduce visibility, turning leaf-slick roads even more precarious. Freezing drizzle and fog affect when and if planes are cleared for takeoff. Quickly changing weather and winds also can disrupt travel plans.
• Slow down on wet pavement. On road trips, keep plenty of distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
• Bring a GPS, compass and map on outdoor adventures. Your cellphone’s directional apps may not work in remote travel locations, so it’s wise to orient yourself with old-fashioned navigation tools.
Just the thought of extreme cold, snow, ice and brutal winds can usher in a bone-chilling reality for seniors who plan wintertime travel for holiday gatherings or getaway vacations.
• Pack clothing that can be layered rather than bulky items. Heavy sweatshirts take up room in your suitcase. Instead, choose thin, insulating layers including a wool layer that helps regulate body temperature.
• Plan ahead for a possible overnight at the airport or train/bus station. If your flight or other public transportation is canceled, it is best to be prepared ahead of time with extra cash, medications, snacks, eye care essentials and other personal items. You may not have the time or money to find accommodations outside the airport, especially if the weather is limiting road travel.
Queen also advises older travelers to consult with their primary care physician to discuss any travel precautions and personal health concerns before leaving home. Keeping a list of emergency contacts and travel documents secure and easily accessible also is smart for every traveler.
In spite of unpredictable seasonal weather – and even an occasional spewing volcano or pesky wildfire – little will thwart the travel plans of a senior who invests in basic pre-trip planning.
About Right at Home of the Rivercities
The Rivercities office of Right at Home is a locally owned and operated franchise office of Right at Home, LLC, serving the communities of the Tri-State going on 10 years. We directly employ and supervise all caregiving staff, each of whom is thoroughly screened, trained, and bonded/insured prior to entering a client’s home. Right at Home offers in-home companionship and personal care and assistance to seniors and adults with a disability who want to continue to live independently.
For more information, contact Right at Home of the Rivercities at www.rahrivercities.com 1-866-453-2128 or by email at email@example.com For more information on Right at Home, visit About Right at Home at http://www.rightathome.net/about-us or read the Right at Home caregiving blog at http://www.rightathome.net/blog. To sign up for Right at Home’s free adult caregiving e-newsletter, Caring Right at Home, visit http://caringnews.com