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Celebrating Safely: Transportation Tips

Solving the following issues prior to inviting your loved ones for holiday visits is important. Getting a family member’s hopes up regarding a visit and then not being able to see friends and family can deliver a disheartening blow. By planning ahead these following items can usually be resolved before uncomfortable situations occur during the holidays.

Have you planned the timing of pick-ups, visits, and rest?

Planning the timing of holiday visits with our loved ones is crucial due to their varying energy levels. Older family members often need to take naps. These naps are important for fall prevention and allowing our loved ones the energy they need to enjoy visiting with family. When your loved one is tired, their balance is affected. Surprisingly, visiting takes a lot of energy to concentrate due to hearing issues and slower processing time. Timing of pick-ups has many components. Make sure to allow enough time for transportation so that dinner is not delayed for your entire family. Remember that aging loved ones move more slowly. Sometimes they need help with the final preparations of going out for a visit. Dressing, grooming and putting on outside clothing takes time. Make sure to include time for gathering extra supplies for incontinence if necessary.

Have you thoughtfully planned who is going to bring your loved one to your home?

It is important to make sure that whoever is in charge of transporting your loved one is strong enough to handle all of the necessary transitions. Having good balance is key for transitions to prevent injuries or falling. Consider how your loved one moves, walks or rides. Does your family member walk with a cane or walker? If there is not a wheelchair available, try to borrow one for transporting your loved one more safely. Transport wheelchairs are a blessing to have in general. Wheelchairs are helpful for other uses than just the holidays.

Focus on getting your loved one from their home to the car. Developing the best entrance is important, especially when considering portable ramps, railings and steps. Also, look at the sidewalk safety for uneven surfaces.

Have you planned on how to protect the car seat?

There are many different options available for pads that can be found in drug stores, Target and Walmart. These items are found in the section where incontinence products are sold. Along with car seats, protecting chairs within your home is also great preparation.

Do you have the items needed to make transitions to the car easier?

Your family member may need assistance getting in and out of cars. Canes and walkers can greatly help with balance. Hand grips for door jams can be found online. Sometimes your loved one needs to be lifted, which can take one or two people to safely handle the task. The person handling transportation needs to be capable of transitioning your loved one safely into the car. Gait belts with handlers help and can be found online. Lifting belts and sliding boards are available to assist as well. Videos on Youtube are available for transfer training.

How are you going to get your loved one over to your home?

Determining whose car will be best to bring your family member is important. Remember that the height of the car seat makes a difference in transfers. Bucket seats are tougher because they are low; therefore, it is best to avoid “coupes” and other lower riding cars when possible. Riding in the front seat or back seat of a car depends on how wide the car doors open with the height of the seat. Be sure to ask how comfortable your loved one is riding in the front seat. Putting a pad on the seat of the car to protect the seat from incontinence accidents is a must.

How are you going to get them into your home?

Getting into your home can be a potential challenge. Figuring this out in advance can save the day! Consider railings to hold onto. A half step makes climbing the steps into the home easier. If your loved one cannot handle the steps and uses a walker or rides in a wheelchair, consider installing a modular ramp. Advanced planning for a modular ramp is important. If your loved one is coming into our home via wheelchair, portable ramps surely help and are available online. If you cannot get a ramp in advance, plan on having two strong people to lift your loved one into your home while sitting in a chair or wheelchair.

Have you considered alternate or more accessible locations?

While most of the above items can be resolved by planning ahead, sometimes it is best to consider the possibility of an alternative location or even a different place within the home for meals and giving gifts. For example, consider eating food in the living room where they are already gathering. Hosting at another family member’s home may have less obstacles. A restaurant could also be more accessible for family and loved ones. Another idea is to celebrate on Christmas Eve when more restaurants are open.

Be open to all possibilities! This is the holiday season for all to enjoy and remember.


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