Caregiving Tips for Car Trips
If you are the caregiver for an aging parent or loved one, you will surely know how challenging a car trip can be. It involves a lot of planning and maneuvering just to get your loved one into the car in the first place, not to mention the struggles of getting them back out when you get to your destination!
Car trips with seniors don’t have to be like this, though. There are many small modifications you can make to your car and your approach that can make a big difference, and can make every trip much easier for everyone involved. Here are some of those modifications, most of which you could implement today!
- Special seats – Getting in and out of the car is one of the most difficult parts of car trips for seniors. Whether they are sitting in the front seat or the back, things like mobility issues, obesity, or arthritis can make it difficult to squeeze and finagle into the compact space. Luckily, there are many companies that make cushioned seats that swivel so that your loved one doesn’t have to work as hard to turn around while they are getting in and out of the car, or getting situated. These seats are easy to install, and probably much more comfortable than sitting in the regular car seat!
- Handles – Handles around tubs or beds are a great addition to your home, because they make getting up easier. But did you know that there are handles that you can apply to your car for this same purpose? There are several companies that make a special handle that you can stick to the side of the car when your loved one is getting out, so that they can pull themselves up. Then, when you aren’t using it, you can simply remove the handle and re-stick it later!
- Seat belts – Seat belts are a necessary evil, no matter how much they might scratch our necks! Seat belts can be even more annoying, though, if you are a senior who has trouble with their range of motion. Fortunately, there are many seat belt modifiers that can hook onto the seat belt to make it easier for your loved one to pull it over themselves. There are also products available that make it easier to unlock the seatbelt with just a bop of a raised button, which is a big help for someone with arthritis, who might find it difficult to grip the mechanism with their hands.
- Be patient – There isn’t a specially made product for this, but patience is a virtue when it comes to traveling with anyone, especially seniors. Remind yourself that it will take a bit more time than you might like, so plan in advance to give yourself plenty of cushion so you’re not late for any appointments. Then do your best to stay calm: your loved one isn’t inconveniencing you on purpose, they are probably just as frustrated as you are! But until we invent teleportation, cars are something we all have to deal with, so try to find a way to stay cheerful and calm. This will help everything go much more smoothly!
Remember these tips the next time you plan a car trip with your senior, and hopefully things will be much easier.