Traveling with your senior parents can be the most rewarding thing you’ll do as an adult.
It can also be heartbreaking as well as frustrating as you learn to navigate your parents’ changing abilities.
My mom has been disabled for most of my life.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a terrible disease. In the 1970’s the drugs to handle it were nothing compared to what they have now. These days my mother has a terrible time using her hands, walking is difficult, and her back now hurts every day. Growing up, we knew she was in pain, even when she didn’t say. My father, sisters and I tried to be as helpful as possible with household chores. But now she is 75. Being 75 comes with typical senior aches and pains. These age related pains add to her RA issues and makes getting around pretty painful.
Five years ago, my wife and I decided to take a trip to Europe with our two preteens.
Imagine six months of planning for four very able-bodied people to see London and Paris. Now imagine my 70 year old parents deciding one month before we leave to come with us! How were we to refuse? It turned out to be a great experience, just a very different one than we had planned. There are a lot of cobblestone streets in London and Paris. For my mother, I’m sure it was very tough to try to keep up with us, and yet I know she loved every minute of it. When we could, like at the London Bridge, we convinced her to use a wheelchair. At other times, she refused, and struggled through, like at the Louvre. I know she hates “giving in” to her disability (she would hate me even calling it that), but sometimes reality can come crashing down, and she couldn’t walk another step.
Since then, her mobility issues have only gotten worse. She actually sometimes admits that she’s in pain. Next month, my parents are coming to California with my sister and her kids for a visit. They would love to go to the San Diego Zoo. My parents want to join them, but my sister gently laid down the law, and said they can only come if my mom will use a mobility scooter. My mother, proud woman that she is, agreed. That’s how I know things have changed. Traveling with your senior parents means plans are always subject to change and being truthful about limitations is important.
I’m sure when I get to my parents’ age, I may be the same way.
It’s hard admitting that you can’t do what you used to. You don’t want to “be a burden”. But there’s something so special about taking these trips together and I know my kids love it as much as I do. Once you accept that traveling with your senior parents will be a different kind of trip, and plan accordingly, great fun will be had! If you plan to travel with your senior parents and want us to help you plan out the logistics, give us a call. (866) 760-1808