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Essential Tips For Travelling Safely With Seniors

Travelling with senior loved ones requires special considerations to ensure their safety and comfort. The recent incident involving Singapore Airlines Flight SQ321 on 21 May serves as a sobering reminder of the potential challenges and risks associated with air travel. Twenty passengers had to be treated in the intensive care unit due to severe turbulence, and one lost his life.

As we enter the June school holidays, it’s crucial to prioritise the well-being of seniors while planning trips.

Here are some expert tips from Naomi Chen, Senior Nurse Manager at Allium Healthcare, to help you prepare for a safe and enjoyable journey for all.

1. Consult with a healthcare provider to manage medications and health needs

Before embarking on any trip, consult with your elderly loved one’s healthcare provider. This step is vital to ensure they are fit to travel and to address any specific health concerns. Discuss necessary medications, vaccinations, and any health conditions that may be affected by the destination.

Keep all medications in their original packaging and carry a comprehensive list of prescriptions. It’s also advisable to set reminders for medication times, taking into account any time zone changes.

Bringing copies of medical records and emergency contact information can be incredibly useful in case of unexpected medical needs.

2. Choose suitable destinations and accommodations

Select a destination that caters to the needs of elderly travellers. Consider climate, altitude, medical facilities, and overall accessibility. Avoid places with extreme temperatures or strenuous activities. Ensure accommodations are elder-friendly by looking for features such as elevator access, minimal stairs, accessible bathrooms, and proximity to medical facilities. Inform the hotel in advance if special arrangements are required to ensure a comfortable stay.


3. Consider travel insurance or special services

Comprehensive travel insurance is essential when travelling with elderly family members. Ensure the insurance covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and other unexpected events. This not only provides financial protection but also peace of mind. When booking flights, request special services such as wheelchair assistance, priority boarding, and seats with extra legroom. Inform the airline of any specific needs well ahead of time to ensure they can accommodate these requests.

4. Plan for regular breaks, stay hydrated, and eat wisely

Long journeys can be exhausting, especially for seniors. Plan for regular breaks to allow your loved one to stretch, move around, and rest. Schedule activities at a relaxed pace to avoid exhaustion. Encourage your elderly loved one to stay hydrated and consume small, healthy meals, avoiding heavy or unfamiliar foods that could cause digestive issues. Always carry snacks and bottled water to ensure they have easy access to refreshments.

5. Be prepared for turbulence and other travel challenges

Ensure that airplane seat belts are fastened when seated and follow all crew instructions diligently. Utilise turbulence forecast tools to anticipate and manage discomfort. Stay calm and provide reassurance to your loved one during any bumpy moments, as your composure can significantly help in keeping them relaxed.

6. Pack smart and light

While packing light is generally advisable, make sure all essential items are included. Key items should include medications, a first-aid kit, comfortable clothing, and any necessary medical devices. A well-packed day bag with essentials can be a lifesaver during transit, ensuring that everything needed is easily accessible.

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