Planning day trips and outings is a great way to help your senior loved one enjoy a more full and enriched life — but it’s important to plan ahead and make sure that these adventures are truly safe and enjoyable.
Reports have shown that travel can be an incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating experience for people of all ages, even if you just go for a simple day trip. Having the freedom and flexibility to go out into the community and experience traveling museum exhibitions, live theater performances, and great restaurants is also one of the biggest lifestyle benefits of aging in place. Seniors who are able to go out and connect with their community are able to remain independent, and often report having more happiness and a higher quality of life overall.
The activities you choose to enjoy will come down to your senior loved one’s preferences, and what’s available in their area. Depending on the season, there are all sorts of senior-friendly outings to consider, such as:
- Going out for ice cream at a local outdoor stand
- Enjoying a day in an arboretum, park, or botanical garden
- Going for a light nature walk
- Having a picnic outdoors
- Visiting a local museum
- Going for a scenic car ride along the beach or through a prairie
- Seeing a local sports team play a home game
- Going shopping at a favorite local store
Planning Safe Outings and Day Trips for the Elderly
Whatever outings and activities you choose, remember: safety first! While they may be enthusiastic about going out, your senior loved one may get overexerted easily. Older adults can also be highly susceptible to changes in the temperature, and many common destinations can pose a slip and fall risk to the elderly.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to make sure your next day trip goes off without a hitch! Here are five important ways to make outings and adventures safer for seniors:
1.) Research Your Destination Ahead of Time
As Benjamin Franklin once put it: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Before you go, take some time to learn as much about your destination as possible, so that you can start planning ahead — and make things easier and safer for your older loved one down the line. Do some research online by checking out the destination’s website for senior-friendly ideas, or read reviews on a site such as Yelp or Facebook. You can also call the location directly, to see if they can answer any questions that you may have. If you’re going outdoors, be sure to look into the types of terrain that you’ll be encountering; see if there are any spots to take a break; and research all of the senior-friendly things to see and do. If your loved one has trouble with people, it’s worth looking into how crowded it gets, and whether you can go on an off time.
2.) Pack a Day Bag with Essentials
Before you go, load up a backpack or shoulder bag with all of the essentials you may need for a successful day out — based on your loved one’s needs, where you’re going, the time of year, and so on. Some ideas for a successful day bag might include:
- The seniors’ daily medications
- Snacks and water
- First aid supplies (bandages, aspirin, etc.)
- A change of clothes
- A fan or personal cooler
- Change of batteries for the senior’s hearing aids
- Cell phone charger
- Medical cards and information (e.g., prescriptions, insurance, etc.)
- A card with basic contact information (in case you get separated)
3.) Dress for the Weather and the Conditions
As we get older, our bodies have a harder time adjusting to changing weather conditions. Make sure you help your senior loved one dress for the weather, while also thinking about how they can stay comfortable all day long. On hot summer days, for instance, this might include wearing a sun hat, applying sunscreen, wearing sunglasses, and dressing in loose, light clothing. On colder winter days, encourage your loved one to wear insulating, waterproof layers. If you’re going to be moving between indoor and outdoor locations, plan for adapting to air conditioning and heating. Make sure your senior loved one is wearing comfortable and supportive shoes. Check the weather before you leave, and pack an umbrella and raincoat as needed. And make sure your loved one always has access to their assistive devices, such as a walker or cane.
4.) Offer a Helping Hand
Mobility challenges are incredibly common among the elderly. Even older adults who are more comfortable walking and moving about may need an extra hand during a day trip or outing. Be ready to offer your loved one assistance with getting in and out of the car properly. Offer a supportive arm during walks, and be ready to carry water bottles, gear, and other bulky supplies so that your loved one doesn’t have to.
5.) Build In Plenty of Time for Breaks
Overexertion can turn a pleasant trip into an uncomfortable experience in a flash. Be accommodating of the senior’s limits and respect their wishes. On hot days, be on the lookout for warning signs of overexertion and dehydration — particularly if you suspect your loved one would be reluctant to share when they need to stop. Build in plenty of time to rest and recharge. Plan breaks through the day, and be flexible and willing to pause for additional breaks as needed. Consider bringing a collapsible chair or shade umbrella, to help your loved one cool off. Remember, it’s about the journey, not just the destination.
How a Professional Companion or Caregiver Can Help
Looking for someone who can help make sure your loved one is always able to go on outings and adventures, even when you can’t be there in person? Could you benefit from having an extra set of hands available when you and your senior loved one head out into their neighborhood? A professional senior companion may just be the help you’ve been looking for.
Having an experienced, knowledgeable, and friendly senior companion available can help ensure that your elderly loved one gets the support they need — so you can focus on all of the other moving parts that go into planning the perfect trip.
From offering assistance with walking and other activities of daily living, to offering reliable and convenient driving services, to simply providing a friend to share stories and chat with, a companion can make sure your senior loved one is able to really enjoy themselves as they explore their community, while staying safe at every step of the way.
About Companions for Seniors
At Companions for Seniors, our mission is to help seniors live independently and with dignity in the comfort of their own home by empowering them to lead an active and enriched lifestyle, connecting them with their community, and nurturing meaningful relationships.
Our companions are trained and bonded, and can help provide a variety of services designed to help your loved one live independently and safely from the comfort of their own home — including providing driving services, companionship, and support during outings and day trips.
Our companions see spending time with the elderly as a passion, not just a job. They are empathetic, kind, and always ready to go the extra mile on behalf of a client. We have experience scheduling and coordinating all kinds of trips and outings in the Chicagoland area, so that seniors never have to worry about giving up on their active lifestyle.
Want to help your senior loved one truly enjoy themselves while they age in place? Looking for some help making your family’s most important goals come true — even during COVID-19? We’re here to offer guidance and provide support, in whatever way we can! Empowering the elderly is what we do, and we’d love to share our experiences and expertise with you.
Don’t hesitate to reach out online or give us a call at 866-910-9020 to get the conversation started today!