- Posted December 28, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Travel snapshots: Embracing winter
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A Slow Winter Holiday of Switzerland with Senior Citizen
I recently completed a winter vacation trip to Jungfrau, Switzerland, with senior my 65 years old mother. I did learn a few things about traveling with a senior that may be useful to others planning a trip with an elderly parents or grandparent.
Switzerland is a cool destination in winter there were a plentiful of snow, amazing nature views and some of the best winter sports opportunities in the world. What you can do if you travel & visit Switzerland in winter with senior? My mother is relatively fit and healthy; at home she lives alone, volunteers. She has glasses and her hearing is not entirely sharp.
Love it or Hate it? What are your tricks for making the most out of this vacation?
All in all, our trip was a success because of some decisions on my part, as well some tips I discovered along the way. After my father had passed away 7 years ago, my mother has limited travel experience. She had been to Germany, England in last 4 years on an organized tour for seniors. She was not accustomed to the itinerary of a tourist; she rarely traveled as an adult, and has not indulged herself with as many vacations as she deserved.
My travel style was often a cross between an organized traveler and somewhat of a wanderer; I like to balance schedule with spontaneity. Traveling with a senior, as I learned, requires much more of my spontaneous nature and quite less of activities.
With the duties as the daughter, the first thing you should do was surrender to the primary focus of the trip; this one is not all about you, it is about your beloved elderly parent, grandparent, friend, or relative. You must adjust your very notion of travel, time, agendas, schedules, and goals to survive a vacation with them.
Therefore, anything I wanted to do was merely a "wish" or a "maybe". Seniors may move at a different pace, and they have different physical, and as I learned, emotional needs, and you must serve own needs way back.
The right location is the first step towards planning a great trip with senior. I chose to bring my mother to hotel/resort because we would have conveniences at our fingertips, as well as ease of transportation in the form of taxis and buses.
Whether people enjoy hiking, skiing or climbing, or just like the idea of sitting in front of the fire in a traditional wooden chalet, spending an 'Off-Season' holiday here in hotel in Switzerland is guaranteed to leave with incredible memories and increase the chance where the emotional needs are not met. It is important to visualize trip, step by step, with the details that will impact traveling senior, and discuss those details if it is appropriate.
Consider the time of year and the weather as well. Put those together and they may fall into the 'unglued'. When you consider a vacation rental, or a hotel for that matter, make sure any mobility issues are addressed. Time is entirely relative.
It may take 1.5 hours to have breakfast, 1 hour get dressed or a short nap 2 hours after lunch, because that is what happens at home too. Sometimes, just a slow walk around the neighborhood or to the lively nature views, market stalls was plenty to fill my mother's entire plan.
Sample Packing List: (Let's packing light)
- An extra pair of glasses
- ID Cards, Medicard cards, Insurance cards, Prescription
- A bottle of water
- Light Clothes
- Personal care/Personal Hygiene items
- A list of important name and contact address
- 2 pairs of shoes
- Medicine packs
Provide peace of mind. Each location, let’s find an English-speaking doctor and 24-hour pharmacy, have the numbers handy and available for senior traveler. For natural beauty and variety; the village is also served by cable cars that can take you to spectacular views.
Purchase/rent a mobile phone, or get a calling card with plenty of credit. If she/he wants to check in on the pet at home, or call with anyone else of importance, make it convenient and easy, so he or she does not feel cut off from the world. Put passports in a safe place that both of you are aware of.
Trying to please all to her on holiday can be tough.
Above all, enjoy the quiet times. I learned more about my mother than I ever expected to on the wonderful trip. During those calm days of relaxation and peace, my mother told me stories about her childhood or complaining on something’s. Where you're headed for holiday can be a good or a bad thing, depending on how you choose to see it. When conflict arises, let’s try to keep your temper while you try to get what you want out of the situation.
With a list of some of the pros and cons to consider, turn it over to God. when you spent a vacation time with senior. Some things may beyond our control. Hopefully your trip will be bearable and unforgettable with whom you love, but not to worry, in a few short weeks you’ll be back to the REAL life. Happy travel with seniors!!
Photographs: A memoire of pleasant lunch time here, we’re just enjoying the scenery at the EigerNordwand restaurant. (http://www.eigernordwand.eu/) It is a nice self-service restaurant & café with good nature views of the mountains and the valleys.