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CAREGiver Accompanies Client on European Trip

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CAREGiver Lory Accompanied Client on European TripFeatured CAREGiver - Lory

It wasn't a typical trip request. The 82-year-old Home Instead Senior Care® client asked CAREGiver Cornerstone Award recipient Lory Markowski if she would accompany her on a long trip. The client's European destinations were eight time zones away in Romania and Hungary.

"The client wanted to know if I could assist her. I said, 'I'll do whatever you need me to do.' I was excited because my grandparents came from Romania," said Lory, who has assisted the client since Sept. 12, 2016, after joining the award-winning Home Instead Senior Care of Jackson nearly six months earlier.

The client is an experienced world traveler who is a coveted conference and seminar speaker for a Christian church denomination. Lory's previous overseas travel was a vacation ocean cruise, so going to Europe was a new experience, but she had a veteran "travel guide," and they were a perfectly matched pair. Lory said, "Since I've been with her, this is the third trip she's taken. She once had me drive her to Nashville, so I took her to a hotel and came back a couple of days later and picked her up. Of course, that's a two-hour drive up Interstate 40. The May trip, of course, was quite a different project."

Among other things on the European trip, Lory assisted the client with mobility challenges and "the unknowns" that arise with overseas traveling. In some cases, there's little or no handicap accessibility in public and private places in other countries. In many historic cities, the cobblestone streets are tough for wheelchair travel. While the 10-day May trip consisted of just CAREGiver and client, they had assistance from a friend of the client, a younger Romania minister who also was a fellow conference attendee.

"When the client goes on these trips, she relies on a wheelchair. Using a walker all the time would wear her out in terms of stamina. She does a lot of things on her own – for instance, we had two hotel rooms in Romania," Lory explained. "We spent two days in Romania, and her friend drove us to Hungary for the conference, where she was the only speaker invited from the United States. She did a great job. It was somewhat tiring because it took a lot of strength and stamina, but everything went well. It was a business trip, but there was vacation time. I was with her all the time. Her friend was a great help, and he took us to all the sights and would help wheel her up the steeper hills."

Lory, who usually helps the client two days a week with four-hour shifts, said the trip was amazing. "I never dreamed this would happen. It was a God thing," said Lory, whose husband is the youth minister at Grace Point Church in Jackson.

Lory's organizational skills are extraordinary, which made for a smooth trip. While each CAREGiver-client excursion is unique as a result of factors such a destination and senior's age and health, these are some general suggestions for traveling with seniors whether the fellow traveler is a Home Instead CAREGiver or a family caregiver:

  • Make a checklist that covers everything from medications and medication-reminder schedules to wardrobe and travel-kit packing.
  • Call ahead for wheelchair availability at airports and venues.
  • Remind the client's family to consider signing up for travel insurance when the flights are booked far in advance. Suggest nonstop flights and avoid regional carriers if you have a voice with the family. Select any necessary disability options with the airlines. Consider TSA pre-screening.

  • Request a hotel room on the ground level, maybe one that is close to the hotel restaurant and memorabilia gift shop.
  • Travel lightly, checking luggage at the airport instead of lugging heavy carry-ons, but make sure medications are in a carry-on bag. Mail home the souvenirs if possible.
  • Weather, venue, crowds are among the biggest challenges and considerations, especially taken as a whole. Watch weather reports at night. Good judgment and ability to predict potential hazards are as important as appropriate clothing, packing sunscreen and an adequate supply of bottled water.
  • Keep a notebook and plan ahead as the trip unfolds. Put yourself in your clients' shoes when planning. Is the weather cooler or warmer than expected? Are the crowds bigger and the lines longer at attractions than anticipated? Maybe Day 3 of a five-day trip will have to be "a rest day" at the hotel or beach. Don't be afraid to deviate from scheduled activities if it is becoming a stressful trip.
  • Consider a bus tour instead of trying to navigate congested streets on a walker or in a wheelchair. For example, let the family's grandkids do the exploration on foot and meet up with them later at a restaurant or the hotel.
  • It doesn't hurt to ask for senior discount for whatever you purchase.
  • Take plenty of pictures (perhaps you can put together a vacation scrapbook later).

Summing up her client's travels, Lory said: "She's amazing. In fact, she has no struggle with jet lag. The trips keep her going. She doesn't let anything stop her, and she has such a positive attitude toward life. To say, 'No more trips' would crush her."

Our franchise serves most of West Tennessee, including Jackson, Medina, Humboldt, Milan, Trenton, Dyer, Alamo, Bells, Lexington, Henderson, Dyersburg, Gates, Halls, Brownsville, Covington, Brighton, Mason, Ripley, Paris, Munford, Atoka and Union City. All Home Instead Senior Care CAREGivers are screened, trained, bonded and insured. For inquiries about employment, please call 731-201-0092 or apply online. For further information visit us at Home Instead Senior Care.​​


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