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Incontinence: Traveling with Your Elderly Parent

July 30, 2013 2 min read

Caregivers, if you plan on traveling with your elderly parent this summer, you must first prepare on how to accommodate for your loved one’s needs. From incontinence products to senior-friendly activities, there’s a lot to take into consideration. The travel tips below are ideal for those who are limited in mobility and/or suffer from incontinence issues:

  1. Keep it simple. Try not to plan so many activities at once, and know your loved one’s limits. Going on a long hiking excursion may be a little too overwhelming for mom and dad, but sightseeing in the city using a rollator could be less strenuous.
  2. Pack appropriately. Adult briefs, incontinence pads, wet wipes, diaper rash cream, medication – the list could go on and on. Bring a travel kit, and make sure your parent wears loose clothing, or clothing with minimal loop buttons and zippers. Elastic waistbands are best when it comes time to use the bathroom.
  3. Use a mobility bag. If your loved one is using a rollator or foldable cane, attach a basket or small pouch to it so they can keep their personal items close by. Use a large backpack as a carry-on to make it easier to push a wheelchair.
  4. Find accommodations.Check to see if the hotel, cruise line, or travel destination is ADA-friendly. Are there wheelchair ramps? Does the hotel supply bedside urinals? What about waterproof mattress covers or bathroom grab bars? You want to make sure that your loved one is both safe and comfortable.
  5. Locate the bathrooms. If your loved one has bladder control problems, it’d be a good idea to schedule frequent bathroom trips to avoid accidents. If you’re traveling in a foreign country, it’d also help to know how to ask where the bathroom is.
  6. Allow for extra time. For many elderly adults, movement is limited, so it takes even longer to get to one place to another. Be on top of your schedule. Call ahead to see if there are special travel services for senior citizens. Bringing a portable transport chair can also help save time and energy.
  7. Be patient. Try not to be overbearing or make it seem like your loved one is a burden. Despite their ailments, mom and dad still want to maintain their independence. Just reassure them that you’re here to help if they need it.
  8. Monitor diet.Keep in mind that certain foods can trigger bladder spasms. Spicy and sour foods, as well as coffee, alcohol, and tea are some of the most common bladder irritants. Also, make sure that your loved one drinks plenty of water, as dehydration can lead to more bladder problems.
  9. Provide entertainment.Sometimes your parent might get bored when traveling on a long tour bus ride. Bring large print books, snacks, crossword puzzles, or card games to help stimulate the mind and keep your loved one occupied.

Hopefully these tips will make vacationing with your elderly loved one stress-free. All it takes is a little extra planning ahead. Happy travels!


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