If you have traveled outside the United States lately, you may have noticed that other countries have not made it easy for people who use walkers, canes or wheelchairs to get around. Cobblestone streets and narrow elevators are just part of the problem. And while many seniors hope to travel after retirement, the limited use of ramps at entrances or bars in the bath area have made many people who need a little extra assistance think that their travel days are over. Even a flight to a grandchild's wedding or graduation can feel daunting.
Enter the traveling caregiver. One such company is Deena Balogh and Associates in Florida, and according to a recent article in the Tampa Bay Times, they are committed to “showing the elderly that it is still possible to discover new worlds and lift the clouds of depression" that often settle over those left disabled or in pain in later life. They do this by providing caregivers who will travel anywhere in the world with seniors who can no longer travel without help. Clients in their 80s and 90s have rented villas in France, toured Morocco and cruised in the Caribbean.
Traveling while physically impaired is not easy and requires extensive planning. The agency finds international partners and medical providers in countries seniors wish to visit. The international health providers monitor special diets, dispense medications and handle emergencies. Caregivers also must be prepared if someone gets ill while abroad.
Winter holiday cruises, which the Florida agency began five years ago, have been very successful and rewarding, especially for older people who are vulnerable to feeling blue during the holidays. But cruises and trips to cities and the countryside are all possible any time of year with the right preparation.
Not surprising, traveling with a caregiver can be expensive. In addition to plane flights, cruise fares or villa rentals, clients pay per hour for a guardian and a licensed professional care manager. But the people who have traveled this way rave about it and say that they thought had given up travel altogether before learning of this new opportunity.
It is never too late to have a wonderful travel experience. All you need is a little help.