Our parents have always been the ones in the past to plan our holidays. It may feel a bit daunting if now the roles are reversed and you’re organising their holidays, but don’t despair. Parents may have special circumstances such as limited mobility or care needs whilst away, luckily more holiday companies are providing these services. Age Space have put together this guide on planning a holidays with care for the elderly to help make sure you’ve got everything covered.
What are their needs?
The first stage in planning is to assess what support and services they may need throughout their holiday. Create a list and write down any aspect you feel may require any sort of assistance help or special circumstance.
Some things to note may be:
- Limited mobility or wheelchair bound
- Limited or minimal hearing ability
- Visually impaired
- Any illnesses
- Any current or reccurring injuries
- Do they require a carer whilst on holiday?
Choosing the right type of holiday
Once you have finished assessing what their needs are, you can start looking at what type of holiday would be most suitable for them based on what they want from a holiday. Are they looking for a nice relaxing holiday abroad? What about a spa retreat for a long weekend? Or perhaps they are more active and want to go on a nice countryside walking holiday. Luckily there are holidays that are designed to suit everyone’s needs.
The devil is in the detail however. Is the hotel fully disability friendly? Do they provide any sort of transportation or trips whilst there? (if so do they have ramps in case of a wheelchair). Along with these, don’t forget the small things such as a handrails in the bathroom and elevator accessibility if needed.
The internet can be your biggest friend when looking for various selections of holiday and most big travel agent’s websites will be filled with information to help you. There are also other specialist websites that can help you find the holiday with the elderly in mind. Some examples are:
Silver travel advisor has lots of information, advice and travel reviews. All of which is specifically designed for travellers over the age of 50. They can give you advice on holiday type, country, hotels, airport services and baggage services to name a few.
This website is essentially a travel agents designed specifically for those with disabilities and special needs. They offer full financial protection, accessible room guarantees, mobility equipment hire, flights and airport assistance and adapted transfers. This can be a great place to look for planning a holiday for elderly parents suited exactly for their needs.
Revitalise is a great charity on a mission to give the elderly and disabled respite breaks in holiday homes set in Southport, Southampton and Essex. Revitalise believe that the elderly and disabled should be able to have the same rights, freedoms, responsibilities and quality of life as those without disabilities. Giving people the chance to experience a relaxed, holiday-style environment with a variety of trips and activities. Offering support to the elderly, disabled and their carers, guests will be supported by volunteers who provide companionship and assistance to make everyone’s holiday a more relaxing experience.
Enable Holidays is a great website giving you plenty of options for holidays in the UK and abroad. It all depends on what type of holiday you and your elderly parent are looking for. You can choose whether you require assisted holidays that provide additional support to you and your family or if you just want a quiet family holiday it’s entirely your choice. Aimed at giving the elderly and disabled an enjoyable holiday with no worries at all, every destination and all facilities are wheelchair friendly including wheelchair access, wheelchair hoists at swimming pools, disabled toilets and changing rooms.
Care and support whilst on holiday
Although your parents may be able to take care of certain needs, this isn’t always possible and they are not always able. This may mean that you need to seek a holiday in which these care aspects are included into the package.
An example of a holiday company that provide this is Richmond Retreats. They have award winning retirement holiday sites across England and provide care on site 24/7. They have excellent facilities and a fantastic choice for elderly who have specialist needs. There are others like this which can be exactly the type of holiday you are looking for when planning a holiday for elderly parents who require care.
There is also the option (although more expensive) to hire a carer/companion service which can accompany your elderly parents on their holiday and provide all the care services they require. UK Care offers such a service, you can enquire about this on their website.
Remember the little things
It is easy to get caught up on the big details that sometimes we forget the simplest of things, we have got some information to help remind you of these.
Make sure that you have a copy of all their usual medication with you before they go, this will help to let other people know what they may need in case of an emergency. You should also ensure that they get there prescriptions filled and make sure they have sufficient enough of each of their medications/pills so they do not fall short while on holiday.
Often the top of the to-do list – and rightly so! Who looks after the pets if they can’t go on the holiday aswell?
It may be well worth checking the house after they have left to make sure everything is locked up, alarms on and all plugs are switched off. Letting them know you are checking up on the house will also help give them reassurance that everything is safe.
Don’t forget when planning a holiday for elderly parents
Although we hope nothing will go wrong for them with all of the planning, it’s a good idea to make a note of a few things just in case of any issues or emergencies.
- Take a copy of all documents including passports, travel insurance, flight and transfer details, hotel details and any information that is sent to them via post. These may come in useful!
- Find out all emergency contact numbers for the holiday destination, taxi numbers and any local hospitals to where they are.
- Make a note of your parent’s bank account details, national insurance numbers and passport number.
- Although we know the elderly don’t always like the latest technology, giving them a simple and easy to use mobile phone can make sure that if they really need to contact you (or vice versa) that can be done easily. You can buy cheap pre-paid and topped up phones from any phone shop. (We suggest getting the simplest one they do with big buttons). You can set it all up before you give it to them.
UK Based Locations
Based just off the south shore coast, the award winning hotel is located close to the heart of Blackpool. It is the UK’s largest disabled hotel, suitable whether you are after a relaxing break or a fun and faster paced holiday. The hotel is suitable for any disability or needs and all rooms are fully accessible and mobility friendly.
The Merton house based in Herefordshire, is a holiday hotel which is specialized for the elderly who are frail and people with disabilities. It is ideally suited for guests requiring the use of a wheelchair.
If your looking for a sunny seaside break then this is a fantastic choice. Rooms are ideal for all as they are full accessible on the ground floor, low leveled hands to furniture and en-suite wet rooms with support rails. Restaurant and lounge are on the ground floor for easy access. The hotel also has a spa and offers in-room treatments if unable to go downstairs to the spa facilities.
The Guardian have written a fantastic review of ten top accessible stays in the UK which you can read about here: The Guardian Ten Top Accessible Stays
Had a great holiday experience with the elderly? Let us know on our forum!