Intergenerational Family Vacation

Posted at Jul 27, 2016 |

Intergenerational Family Vacation

Dear Sandy:

My husband and I are considering taking my mom with us on our family vacation this summer. Since my father lost his battle with Alzheimer’s disease earlier this year, she’s been struggling to find her way. We don’t want to leave her alone while we are off on vacation. Since we are traveling by car, it is easy to include her in the trip.

She is 81 years old and in good health. While she is still pretty active, my mom does tire fairly easy. Do you have any advice for us that could help make the trip one our family remembers for years to come for all the right reasons?

Katrina in Gaylord, Michigan

Planning a Family Getaway with a Senior Loved One

Hi, Katrina:

What a good question! Planning ahead is definitely the key to a safe and successful intergenerational family vacation.  Here are a few factors to consider before you hit the highway:

  1. Set realistic goals. When you are planning a road trip that includes an older loved one it is important be realistic about how far you can drive in one day or how much walking you can do. If you and the kids are used to long days filled with new adventures, you might need to scale back your plans a little this year.
  2. Research before leaving home. While no one wants to think the worst will happen while on vacation, it is a good idea to explore local health care options. From urgent care centers to hospitals, research your options online before you leave home. It might also help if you call the hotel you will be staying at to see if they know of any respite caregivers who can keep your mom company if the planned activities for some days might be too much for her. It will allow you to spend time alone with your kids without worrying about what your mother is doing.
  3. Plan for mobility issues. Depending upon your summer vacation destination, you might need to make arrangements ahead of time to accommodate your mother’s special needs. Since you mentioned she grows tired easily, would she be agreeable to using a wheelchair? Many locations have them available to loan or rent. It might be the best way to keep her feeling like she is a part of things without wearing her out and risking her health.
  4. Plan frequent rest breaks. While it can be tough to slow the younger generation down, traveling with a senior often requires more frequent rest breaks. This includes while you are driving and during the time you spend a different destinations. You can use travel sites to help you identify good stopping points along your route and the vacation destinations’ websites to learn more about where you can rest throughout the day.
  5. Pack medical file. While I hope you won’t have to use it when you are away, having a copy of your mom’s medical information with you is important. Be sure you have a copy of her medication list, medical history and names and contact information for her physicians.

I hope this information helps, Katrina!

If anything changes and you decide a road trip might be too much for your mother, The Brook Retirement Communities throughout northern Michigan offer respite services. Your mom can be our guest while you are away. She will enjoy the same life enrichment activities, services and amenities as our long-term residents!

Kind Regards,



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