Preparing to Have a Comfortable and Safe Stay
Holidays are a favorite time for travel for most people. Caregivers and care-receivers can also enjoy traveling during the summer, with a little more planning and preparation to have a comfortable and safe stay while you visit friends or family or just travel for fun.
It is best for you both to think ahead about where you will be staying and the accommodations there. Hotels today have handicapped accessible rooms, bathrooms and parking. It is worth your time to call ahead and make reservations for rooms that are on the bottom floor, near handicapped parking areas and have wheelchair accessible bathrooms. A smoke-free room is also another plus for visitors who are sensitive to smoke and odors. The convenience and safety of those features will certainly make your stay more enjoyable. The accommodations found in public buildings like hotels, restaurants, museums and airports today make traveling much more comfortable for those with mobility challenges than ever before.
If you will be staying with friends or family in their homes, then it is best to ask them how to make a comfortable and safe stay before you arrive. They will need your advice about what is needed, since you have personal experience and knowledge. How accessible is the front door or the back door of the home? Can your loved one make their way up the steps with supervision, or is a ramp needed? We do have portable ramps which can help your family member make that door accessible to a wheelchair or walker user.
Can you and your loved one stay in a room on the bottom floor of the home? It would probably best to avoid having to stay in a room upstairs if one or both of you have mobility problems. Since you may be in an unfamiliar home, with an unfamiliar furniture arrangement, take a flashlight with you for use at night inside the house. Then, in case you have to get up at night, you can find your way around.
How about the bed? Is there a way to make it as comfortable as possible? Wedges, cushions, pillows could be used to support someone in bed, if extra support and positioning is needed.
Prepare the Bath
What about the bathroom? Can you get in the bathroom using a walker or wheelchair, if needed? Are there grab bars for safety in the shower stall or around the tub? It is a good idea to bring along a suction grab-bar to use on the side of the tub for safety in balancing when moving in and out of the tub. This is a portable grab bar which you can take with you wherever you go, rather than one that is permanently attached to the shower or tub stall wall. See the selection in the Bath Shop on this site. Ask if the bath faucets have a hand- held spray shower head or nozzle, so it will be easier to bathe comfortably from a seated position, if needed. If there is not one already there, then it is possible to use a spray bottle filled with warm water to shampoo hair and bathe while seated in the tub or wheelchair.
It may be possible for the family member who is hosting your visit to rent a ramp or a hospital bed or a wheelchair for your short-term use when you visit. Ask them to check with local home health care equipment stores for rental equipment. I am certain that they want to make your visit as comfortable and safe as possible.
Before You Leave
Before you go, think through your average day and the various types of adaptive equipment or supplies you commonly use to perform your daily activities. Make a written checklist of how you can bring those along for your visit, or can make-do without them, if possible.
Don’t forget to take along:
- Medications for each day, and a few extra days. Take some in your purse so they can be easily found while you are traveling, then store the others in luggage. If you are traveling by plane, then know what restrictions there are about taking your medications on the flight. Find out before you go.
- Phone numbers for doctors’ offices.
- Personal Blood pressure monitor. Personal glucose monitor. Digital Thermometer.
- Pillow for seats, cushion for wheelchair, bed pillow.
- Blanket/Sweater/Jacket. Some places are kept colder than is comfortable for some people.
- Bath seat. One that folds up is very handy.
- Extra disposable underwear.
- A suction grab bar for the side of the bathtub. This is very handy and makes getting in and out of the bathtub much safer. See the selection in the Bath Shop on this site.
A little extra preparation could make your comfortable and safe stay enjoyable. We hope you have a great visit wherever you go!