Holiday Travel Safety for Seniors

Older people often hesitate to travel during the holidays, especially if travelling alone. But if children and grandchildren have made new homes outside of Kansas City, the idea of not seeing them at Christmas can sometimes lead to holiday depression.

If you’re nervous about holiday travel, taking measures to ensure your safety may alleviate your anxiety. Here are some suggestions:

Get your meds in order. Before you travel, update your medication list. You’ll want to take it with you in case of emergency. It’s also a good idea to take the list to your pharmacy, and ask if there are any potential medication or food interactions.

Keep your medications in their original bottles, and make sure you have enough of each to last two or three days longer than you’re planning to stay (in case of flight or other travel delay). And pack your medications in your carry-on bag, not in your checked luggage.

Check weather reports. You’ll want to know what the weather’s going to be like for your drive to the Kansas City airport (or out of town) on the day you plan to leave. If you’re taking a road trip, you may also consider adjusting your route to avoid any ice and snow. And you’ll want to bring appropriate clothing for weather conditions at your home and at your destination.

If travelling by car, throw a blanket, a heavy coat, a flashlight, some snacks, and a first aid kit in your trunk in case your car breaks down or gets stuck in inclement weather.

Wear non-skid shoes. Preferably flats. This is particularly important if you have balance issues or are going somewhere that there may be ice and snow. And bring your cane or walker, even if you only use it occasionally.

Get a ride to the airport. If at all possible, have someone drop you off and pick you up at the Kansas City airport. You don’t want to risk being alone in the parking lot searching for your car or waiting for a shuttle.

Ship gifts ahead of time. Gifts can be lost of broken if you put them in checked luggage, and you won’t want to drag them through airports (or into hotel rooms) in addition to your other luggage. You also don’t need the added stress of having to shop when you reach your destination. So it’s a good idea to ship gifts in advance. Or you can order them online and have them gift wrapped and shipped to wherever you’re going.

Also, make sure someone will be home when your gifts will be delivered. If they’re sitting on the porch all day, thieves may to come along and steal them.

Get help if you need it. Preparing for holiday travel can be a bit daunting, especially if you have physical limitations or are traveling with (and caring for) a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia. You can relieve some of the holiday travel pressure by enlisting the help of an agency that provides Kansas City home health services. A good home health agency can help with things like bathing and grooming, transportation, meal preparation, and light housekeeping, which will give you more time to prepare for your holiday travels.