Looking for some help/suggestions on traveling with my elderly mother (75 yrs old)

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Post by Guest »

She’s generally healthy though she has in the last year been treated for cancer and is now in remission. Doctors are fine with her traveling.

She wants to go to more countries in Europe, however we just got back from a trip to England and she had more issues than expected with her luggage (yes I help her as much as I can but I only have two hands) and sightseeing in London. Even with the tube it was too much walking for her (4 miles per day) and she was frustrated with all the stairs (she just gets really winded with them, nothing is wrong with her joints/limbs). She said she wants to go to Italy again and I reminded her that Italy is more walking because they don’t have as much public transport as say London. I had even paired down our England itinerary before we left and we ended up skipping a lot since she was so tired from walking. She’s fine with the flights so far, it’s more the walking around seeing stuff.

So my questions are:

Has anyone done Italy with an elderly parent and what tips do you have? Are certain cities/regions better for older people getting around? She doesn’t just want to rent a villa and sit around- I asked !

Are there certain countries in Europe that are easier for elderly tourists?

I had suggested Europe river cruises and she seems to think that they are too expensive (not worth what you get for what you pay) or that I wouldn’t have fun cause it would be all old people. (I’m 39). We’re not huge cruise ship fans-no Caribbean cruises for us! But I thought river cruises were smaller and calmer…suggestions? Certain companies to check out?

Or any other general tips for traveling with elderly? I tried to do all I could think of to help her in England but maybe I’m missing things? I’d like to help her travel a bit more before her body can’t do it anymore.

Thanks for reading this long post 🙂

Post by Sherri »

No real advice as far as destinations go, but perhaps with the advice of her doctor, she can start an exercise program to build up her endurance. We visit an elderly family member in the Lakes District of England every few years and I am amazed at how well he gets around because he takes walks twice a day. Knowing there's an amazing trip to work towards might be the perfect motivation for her. That and find accommodations with laundry so you both can travel with just carryon luggage. I hope you find the perfect destination for you both!

Post by Megan »

I actually think a river cruise would be perfect and they are definitely not all elderly people- there are lots of them targeted at multi-generational groups. I posted this on another thread but my parents travel with Overseas Adventure Travel- it is very active travel but still friendly for people with mobility issues. They rate all the trips on physical exertion level and they will help move bags from place to place, etc. They love it because they are small groups with great guides. They do lean older but I also think this is partly the time of year they are (conflict with school schedules) and that they don't allow kids because there are definitely younger people on them. For reference my parents are turning 80 next year and they just finished their 17th trip with OAT. The other thing that isn't just advice for older people but in general a good practice is walking a LOT to get conditioned for a trip to Europe. Its just a ton of walking almost no matter where you go or how you do it and even if you are fit, that much walking can be an adjustment. My parents try to walk 2-4 miles per day (energetic dog helps) so they can keep traveling without limitations despite my mom having two hip replacements and both of them having a couple rounds of cancer they are able to do it.

Post by Linda »

The last vacation my elderly mother went on with was a cruise.

I don't think she would have been able to manage anything else.

The crew was very helpful

Post by Marsha »

I’m in the same boat as your mom both in age and health. I found that traveling has become more difficult and though I’ve managed to get some trips in lately, I’ve had to sit some activities out. I have a riverboat cruise coming up. I’ve done A river boat once before and found it to be manageable. The tours each day always had three levels, easy medium and more difficult. There were a number of younger people on board who did the more difficult , often bike, tours. I think it’s a good suggestion and prices are often quite reasonable, especially if you’re going to share a cabin.

As far as destinations are concerned, how about the Netherlands? It’s quite flat and there is a lot to see. I would think it would be a very nice trip for her. I have a tour booked to Italy in the spring with some friends and I’m a little apprehensive, but again, if necessary I can sit things out. I’ve done quite a bit of travel so if I miss a particular destination, I’ll get over it. Best wishes to you and your mom. I hope she stays in remission and that you make wonderful memories together.

Post by Lyn »

Many people take river cruises of all ages! Don’t go down that thought process of it being only for old people. It’s a lively way to travel. Quieter than large cruise ships.

Cruising could be the way to go. They accommodate disabled and elderly so easily even on tours. Cruising also would make it easier to travel (unpack once!) no traveling from hotel to hotel.

We have clients that rent wheelchairs that are delivered to the cruise ship too if you want to go that route. It makes for a great trip for all. When you break down the price of the cruise and include meals it can be a great way to travel. Lots of special pricing today too.

If you want I have a phone humber you can call for chair rental arrangements.

Happy to help with any cruise questions too.

Post by Allison »

I traveled with my mom to Italy, and she fell multiple times on the cobblestones. In Bruges now, and that's inaccessible. I'd look at a river cruise, renting a home somewhere in the countryside of anywhere (with the expectation that most of the trip will be spent in the country) or plan on hiring a private driver to help her wherever she goes. London is the most accessible place I can think of in Europe, and if that was too much, it is probably time to adapt her travel style. Unfortunately Medieval cities aren't very accommodating to those with mobility challenges. Viking would have other guests with similar challenges and would likely be very accommodating. MSC also has many low cost ocean cruises around Europe. At least there would be minimal luggage movement. Has she considered Asia? Kyoto is relaxing and fairly accessible (but still can be a lot of walking).

Post by Jim »

This is why I am setting up a travel companion business. I don't need the pay, just cover the expenses. I help with mobility issues.
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