Top Tips For A Post-COVID Holiday With Elderly Parents
The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially difficult for families with elderly relatives. As a result of shielding or the strict rules imposed by sheltered accommodation providers and care homes to halt the spread of the virus amongst the most vulnerable, some people have gone months without seeing their parents or grandparents.
This has been a heartbreaking experience for many. For people in the later years of their life, particularly those living with medical conditions that make them more susceptible to the coronavirus, the price of protecting their health has often been the distress of isolation and loneliness. It has been a heavy price to pay.
Now with shielding advice long past, the vast majority of people aged 70 and over fully vaccinated and rules on social distancing and mixing relaxed, families are at least able to reconnect again at long last – albeit with the caution that the virus remains very much at large and a threat to our health.
After so long apart and such a tough year, people are naturally wanting to make up for lost time and enjoy themselves again. This includes getting away from it all and taking a well-earned break as a family.
But as we’re not through the other side of the pandemic yet, is it sensible to be thinking about holidays with elderly parents, especially if they are vulnerable?
With a little planning, there are ways to do it safely. Here are our ‘Top Tips For A Post-COVID Holiday With Elderly Parents’.
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Post-COVID Holiday With Elderly Parents #1 –
Prioritise Accessible Self-Contained, Self-Catering Accommodation
There are several reasons why a self-contained holiday cottage or other type of holiday rental might suit your needs better if you are going away with elderly relatives.
- You won’t have to mix with large numbers of other guests in public areas as you would in a hotel or at a holiday resort.
- Self-catering means you don’t have to worry about the heightened risks of catching the virus that come with going to busy restaurants.
Holiday lets are also an easier option if you are going away with anyone with mobility issues. Check hotels in the area you are visiting to see if they have apartments on site to lease, or visit websites like Airbnb that let you search by accessibility requirements, including properties that are suitable for wheelchair users. You can also quickly filter out any properties with stairs and look for bungalows only, or even for specific modifications like disabled toilets or stairlifts.
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Post-COVID Holiday With Elderly Parents #2 –
Aim For Shorter Journeys … Or Break Longer Ones Up
Long journeys can become uncomfortable and tiring for elderly people. As a rule of thumb, travelling by car is less stressful (and more COVID safe) than by train or coach. But it is still worth thinking about how long you want to spend hunched up in a car.
There are a couple of things you can consider here. One is to pick destinations that are closer to home, perhaps within a two to three hour drive, which will avoid the worst discomforts of spending extended periods in a car. Alternatively, if you have your heart set on exploring further afield, make sure you plan sufficient rest stops into your journey. You might want to look up attractions and beauty spots to visit on your route to break up the journey and add to the holiday experience.
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Post-COVID Holiday With Elderly Parents #3 –
Choose A location With Plenty Of Attractions For All Ages
Particularly if you are travelling in an extended family group that includes children as well as older relatives, do some research to make sure that there will be something for everyone at the destination you select. For example, kids will inevitably look forward to having sea and sand to play in on their summer holiday. When looking for a suitable beach for the whole family, aim for somewhere that is easily accessible and that has comfortable, sheltered places to sit.
Likewise, a peaceful rural retreat might sound ideal, but if the only things to do in the vicinity involve long rambles across the countryside, you will run into complaints from both ends of the age spectrum. Use top attraction lists on travel blogs and websites, and read plenty of reviews to make sure there is plenty to do for all ages.
Post-COVID Holiday With Elderly Parents #4 –
Look Into Extra Assistance
If your elderly relatives have significant medical or care needs, there are numerous options available for getting extra help while you are on holiday. These range from supported accommodation and care homes that offer short term packages, including respite care for full time carers, to firms that offer specialised live-in care while you are away. Consult your current care provider for more information.
Further Reading: 5 Fab Places For Your Post-Coronavirus Travel Bucket List
Post-COVID Holiday With Elderly Parents #5 –
Make Sure Travel Insurance Is On Your To-Do List
Finally, a critical part of your post-COVID holiday planning should be travel insurance – and yes, you should consider it even for a domestic break in Ireland and the UK. Traditionally, travel insurance has been overlooked for Ireland and UK holidays, largely because one of the key things travel policies cover is medical costs if you fall ill or have an accident abroad. With access to the HSE in Ireland and free NHS care in the UK, there’s no pressing need for that protection for domestic trips.
However, what travel insurance does also cover you for is if you have to cancel your trip last minute for medical reasons, or cut your holiday short. With the risks of testing positive and having to self-isolate before going away on holiday, COVID-19 has pushed this up the agenda. But cancellations and curtailments for medical reasons have long been a greater risk for elderly people when planning to go away.
For example, with comprehensive senior uk travel insurance that includes cover for known medical conditions, you can protect the costs of a holiday paid for upfront when you wouldn’t normally be entitled to a refund.
Further Reading: Travel Insurance After Covid-19 – What Will It Look Like
Photos by Visual Stories || Micheile – CCO Licence
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