August 2, 2023

5 Tips for Planning a Successful Family Vacation with a Disabled Family Member

Caregivers | Patients

Planning a vacation that the entire family will enjoy may seem complicated, and can be very intimidating when someone in your family is disabled, aging, or has a complicated medication regimen. Extra time and attention ahead of a trip, or even before booking flights or accommodations is needed when planning a trip to ensure that your family member feels just as comfortable and supported as the rest of the family. Thankfully, there are many ways that you can accomplish this and plan a vacation that the entire family can enjoy, creating special experiences and memories for everyone. 

Here are some tips for planning a successful family vacation with your family member who may be aging, have a complicated medication regime or have a disability.

Choose Your Destination Accordingly Especially When Traveling with Family Members Who are Aging, Have a Disability or Who Have a Complicated Medicine Regime 

First and foremost, consider your disabled family member when selecting your vacation destination. For example, if your loved one requires a wheelchair, a beachfront destination typically lacks suitable accommodations and therefore might not be an ideal location for them. If a beach is a must have, research options such as sand-ready wheelchairs or cabana seating ahead of time. Selecting a destination where your disabled family member’s needs are both considered and met means that the entire family can be a part of the fun together. 

Plan Activities the Entire Family Can Enjoy

Plan activities for your family, those young and those who are aging and young at heart, ahead of time to avoid any added stress. Check in with your disabled loved one if you’re unsure what excursions they might reasonably enjoy and research accommodations for each activity before booking anything. Disabilities look different for everyone and what is a good activity for one person might not be good for another. 

Meet Your Disabled or Aging Family Member’s Needs

Plan to bring anything that will make your disabled family member’s vacation more enjoyable and meet their most basic needs, such as a wheelchair, hearing aids, or medications. It helps to have a list of medications easily accessible and to utilize a patient-centered delivery pharmacy. PersonalRX, for example, delivers your loved one’s monthly supply of medication with personalized, individually packaged medication dose packs and a pre-made list of meds. This  removes the need to gather and pack bulky pill bottles. The comprehensive list of medicine that PersonalRX provides makes it so medicine regimes are clear so doses don’t get mixed up or missed. PersonalRX also provides your loved one – and you – with a dedicated Personal Care Provider who is available anytime (even on vacation), if there are ever questions or if anyone needs assistance getting their medication reliably.

Research Disabled and Aging Traveler Accommodations 

Take extra time before your trip to research accommodations for your disabled family member. While all US airlines and hotels are required by law to provide appropriate accommodations, there are some that go the extra mile to make your trip safe and comfortable for your loved one. Many transportation companies and hospitality groups even offer specialized room layouts, luggage handling, butler service and check-in support. If you’re unsure where to begin with your research, you may want to look into a travel agency that specializes in planning trips for those with disabilities or those who operate especially for families with aging travelers. Many times travel agents know some of the special or unique opportunities that cater to multi-generational travelers. While it’s tempting to handle planning using the do it yourself booking engines, working with a travel agent can help take some of the stress out of planning your family vacation. 

Consider Transportation for Aging, Disabled or Those With Complicated Medications at the Destination

Don’t wait until after you’ve arrived to consider what modes of transportation your family will need on your trip. In some cases, it might not be easy for your disabled family member to utilize public transportation, and you may want to consider renting a car if your family plans to explore what the area has to offer. Other alternatives to meet aging relative’s needs include hiring specialty transportation or working with disability resources at the destination.

The Value of Traveling with Aging Family Members is Immeasurable

It’s worth the added effort when planning a family vacation to ensure that your aging or disabled family member feels included and has the proper accommodations. With a little extra time, consideration and health services on your side, it’s entirely possible to plan a successful family vacation that everyone will enjoy. The experiences and memories of bringing family together are worth planning ahead for.

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