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Travel can benefit both family caregivers and care recipients: AARP



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Despite challenges, there are innate benefits for family caregivers when they do make trips with their care recipients, according to the results of a survey by the AARP.

The survey was conducted online in March and April. Those who participated were adults aged 18 or more years who provide unpaid care to a relative or friend; it included those who did and did not travel with the care recipient in the past year. 

“Caregiving can be difficult even in familiar surroundings,” stated Amy Goyer, AARP family and caregiving expert. “So it can feel daunting to take loved ones on the road. However, taking a trip with them can create wonderful, lifelong memories. By planning ahead, it is possible for many family caregivers to get away with those they care for and enjoy the positive aspects of travel.”

Reasons for avoiding travel are the physical health of the care recipients and the fear of being unable to access medical assistance when needed. There are also concerns about preparing the care recipient for the trip ahead of time and too much walking on the other end. Also, time off from a job and lack of free time can be a hindrance, especially among younger caregivers. Additionally, traveling can also be expensive.

“Nearly half of caregivers (45%) spent more than $1,000 on their most recent trip with a care recipient. Sometimes, they rack up extra fees for offerings or services that are accessible,” according to AARP. “Enticing them into more frequent travel would be such accessibility features as more seating at destinations (44%), parking spots closer to entrances (36%), and better transportation options (33%) both at destinations and within large spaces such as airports.”

Among the benefits of travel for family caregivers, according to the survey, are improved emotional well-being (47%), deepened connections with loved ones (46%), improved mental clarity (32%) and stimulated intellectual curiosity (31%).

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