Holiday Safety Tips For The Older Traveler and Their Hosts

After several years of caution, many families are beginning to travel to celebrate the holiday season together in-person. The holiday season also brings some unique challenges for older adults and those with mobility difficulties. In today’s blog we share some tips that can assist with accessing your loved ones homes. Often, having a plan is the most crucial element to a successful visit! 

Getting There

Before you see your loved ones, you will have to get there. If you are one of the millions of people traveling by plane from now through the end of the year, there are some things that can help make the experience seamless.

  • Plan for extra time in security and other long lines. If you travel with a wheelchair or other mobility device, this could also increase time for security procedures. Inquire beforehand if you will be allowed to have an unticketed loved one assist you through security and at the boarding gate.
  • Security screening can be done in private. Simply request this of the TSA official. It may be necessary for TSA to swab down your mobility device or medical device to test for explosive residue. This is routine. Remember, if you have TSA PreCheck you do not need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, or light jackets for screening. The TSA has created a resource page for travelers who would like additional assistance and/or peace of mind.
  • Call ahead to the airline if you will need a wheelchair at the departure, layover, and arrival airports. Here are links to the major airlines websites where you can research or request assistance.

Delta    American    Southwest    United


If You Are Staying With Loved Ones

If you have accessibility needs or mobility difficulties, inform your friends and family of these needs before you arrive. These conversations are important for your comfort and safety and your hosts will want to know what they can do to help.Things to discuss include if you need furniture rearranged to accommodate mobility devices or a ramp rental if you’re not able to use steps to enter the home. Other things that might need to be address include:

  • Increased lighting in hallways
  • Throw rugs being removed
  • A chair with arms for ease in rising from sitting
  • Clear paths for walking or using a walker of wheelchair
  • A quiet spot for naps or rests if socialization becomes to overwhelming

If You Are Staying at a Hotel

Here is another area where planning is key. Before you check-in, it is important to discuss your needs with the hotel so be sure to call ahead to ask questions and make requests. Whether you need a room that can accommodate wheelchairs, a roll in shower, visual alert systems if you are hearing impaired, or a refrigerator for medications, be sure to check that the hotel you choose will be able to accommodate your requirements.


RI State Grant

One of the unique benefits of RI residents is their access to state funds for home modifications. The program is called the RI Livable Home Modification Program, and for those who qualify, it reimburses 50% of home modifications related to a disability, with a cap of $4000. While this program does not assist with rentals, the 50% reimbursement can often make it a more affordable option than renting, and it provides you with a permanently accessible house. Many of our clients who host holidays with their family choose to utilize the grant and make their home more accessible. In doing this, they create a safe environment for their loved ones to visit not only during the holidays, but year round. Family support and social interaction is one of the most critical components of successful aging, and those who reside in RI are lucky to have access to such a fantastic grant program. 


If You Are The Host

If you are hosting the family and a family member has special needs, as always, Oakley Home Access is equipped with all of the equipment needed to make your home accessible should a loved one need a temporary solution. Our showroom is stocked with ramp and stairlifts which can be assessed for and installed quickly to ensure it is in place before your loved one arrives! Should an out of state family member be coming to visit for longer than a week or so, our rental program is perfect to create an accessible home for as long as needed.

We are also available to discuss grant programs for longer term solutions. At Oakley Home Access we can discuss what your needs might be and recommend products that help you travel easily or help your visiting loved ones (not just during the holidays, but all year!).