While many of us are making holiday plans that ensure our children are happy and entertained, many of us are also planning a holiday with a senior relative or family friend.
Home Instead Senior Care, which provides care for seniors in their own home, is issuing tips and advice to ensure that the summer holidays are relaxing and hassle free for all involved.
According to Danette Connolly, Director of Care at Home Instead, the number of families inviting grandparents on holidays has increased in recent years. “There are a number of reasons for grandparents being invited on holidays. It’s traditionally an opportunity to spend quality time with all generations, leaving behind everyday worries and stresses. However, we firmly believe that inviting a grandparent needs to be for the right reasons.”
Danette added, “In 2014, a survey conducted by online travel agency sunshine.co.uk revealed that 61% of over 2,000 UK families questioned, invited other family members on holiday with them. Of these, a massive 67% admitted it was so the grandparents could keep an eye on their children and give them a break. What’s even more telling is that 42% admitted that the grandparents weren’t all that keen on the idea.”
The reality is that grandparents should not be brought on holidays as full time babysitters, no matter how well meaning the intentions are. Danette added, “This situation can lead to family tension and in many cases, resentment. If you are inviting a grandparent on holiday it is important to remember that it is also a time for them to relax, explore, and enjoy the holiday and not be responsible 24/7 for young children.”
If you are planning a holiday with a grandparent or older relative, Home Instead Senior Care advises:
- Discussion: Have a discussion about what type of holiday your senior relative would enjoy; cultural, adventure, a city break. A two week adventure park holiday might not be the relaxing holiday your older relative had in mind.
- Preparation: Before you travel, ensure you have a written summary of any medical conditions or medications that your travelling companion has / takes. Also ensure you are aware of the proximity of hospitals, G.P.’s and pharmacies in the area.
- Travel insurance / healthcare in EU / EEA countries: As an Irish resident you are entitled to get healthcare through the public system in countries of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland if you become ill or injured while on a temporary stay there. It is worthwhile applying for a European Health Insurance Card – one card is required for each individual or family member.
- Try to keep set schedules: Change of routine and climate can contribute to dehydration and constipation. Try not to alter the daily pattern too much, for example eating much later in the evening than usual can lead to stress, sleeping and digestion difficulties.
- Budget: Many seniors are on fixed incomes, so keep spend on food, travel and gifts to a minimum. Agree a realistic budget and stick to it.
- Keep cool: Sunscreen should always be worn by an older person, even if they only go outside for a short time, as their skin is much thinner and can burn easily. A wide-brimmed hat that shades the face and covers the head is advisable if going outdoors in the heat.
For more information about travelling / holidaying with a senior family member or friend, contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office.