Planning ahead does require a little bit of extra time initially, but it can also save you time, stress, and more in the long run! Here are some plan ahead tips for Sandwich Generation senior home care givers and grandparents, heading out to help an aging parent or a grandchild who doesn’t live close by:
- If you’re flying to an unfamiliar area, be sure to take a few minutes, if you can, to map out your route and print it as well as sending it to your cell phone if it has that capability. Many cell phones now have GPS and that’s such a big help. Occasionally, though, they don’t work as quickly as we need or you drive through “dead zone” areas where your cell doesn’t work well. Not to mention the fact that our “older eyes” may not focus as fast as they used to. Having the route already done and easily available will save you time and stress.
- Doublecheck to make sure you actually have your driver’s license, credit card(s), and checkbook. Mine are always with me but I still always try to doublecheck and one time it paid off BIG TIME. I had to make a short-notice flight out of state due to a family illness. When I checked my wallet an hour before heading for the airport, I discovered my driver’s license wasn’t there! Panicked, I called the airline and was so relieved to find there were a couple of alternative options I could use. I grabbed one and headed out. It was a difficult trip without that license but at least I made it. I later found that the license had fallen from a file folder I had put it in for a real estate transaction and was lodged between the seats in my car.
- Take contact phone information for various places you might not already have in your cell phone or address book. It can be a big help to have phone numbers for the local hospital, doctors, neighbors, etc. PRE-CRISIS TIP – I got those phone numbers from one senior relative who lives far from me. They’ve come in handy more than once for everything from checking on him at the hospital to arranging for an alternative for Christmas presents to be delivered while he was in the hospital.
- Make sure your frequent travel numbers and contact phone numbers for airlines, hotels, car rentals, etc. are in your cell phone, your wallet, and/or on a handy sheet in your wallet. No matter how well you did plan ahead, plans can change. Those numbers can save you a ton of time if that happens! Trust me! I just went through that WITHOUT the numbers and paid the price in lost time and mega stress! 🙂
- While on the way, use the time to try to relax and prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for what lies ahead. Scripture praying, praise and worship using an mp3 player, a crossword puzzle, and a relaxing book are four of the ways I use. How about you?
For more Sandwich Generation travel tips, be sure to check out Flying Too Close For Comfort? Tips for the Sandwich Generation.