Family time is precious. Some parents with kids of their own and aging parents prefer to keep family close. When taking limited time off work to go on vacation, it’s a perfect opportunity to bring the whole family along. The idea is certainly inclusive, but it also presents some unique challenges too.
Here are a few ideas about how to manage on a vacation with younger children and elderly parents too.
Selecting a Suitable Destination
It stands to reason that it’s more difficult to pick a perfect destination when catering to the tastes of yourself, your partner, the children, and at least one set of elderly grandparents too. The kids no doubt would love nothing more than being taken to Disneyland, but all that walking around would likely be too much for the elders in the group. Therefore, choose some middle ground to keep everyone happy, at least at different times.
Some resorts have a little bit of everything. Maybe it’s a lake resort, so it has fishing for parents who enjoy that and perhaps their son can join them. Sitting out with a lakeside view to enjoy a beverage and a classic Jackie Collins novel is maybe what the grandmother would enjoy doing instead of being overly active.
For the kids, a lakeside destination offers the chance to go swimming or be taken out on a boat, with parental supervision. The grandparents may enjoy taking a few photos of the youngsters on the water to commemorate the trip.
Choice of Accommodation
When it comes to accommodation, decide what the priorities are in terms of living arrangements and available funds. It’s unlikely that grandparents and parents will want to stay in the same hotel room, but private accommodation like a cabin with multiple bedrooms is ideal.
For children, it depends how old they are whether they really need a separate bedroom of their own or to share with their younger brother or sister. Discuss the potential sleeping arrangements with everyone and gauge their reactions to come up with a suitable solution without anyone getting bent out of shape about it.
Make sure that the managers at the resort or accommodation know how many beds are required. Sometimes they add a bunk bed, a single bed or even a cot for smaller kids to sleep on. See what can be organized ahead of your arrival.
Make a Plan for Sightseeing
With sightseeing, it’s a good idea to preview a few of the places of interest with the grandparents and children separately to see what they wish to see and do. The grandparents may well say they aren’t interested in visiting anywhere, but then change their mind when something catches their eye. Bear in mind that they’ll most likely need to be chaperoned to the place of interest and back, so at least one parent will probably need to come along (depending on the seniors’ respective ages and physical capabilities).
For kids, the list of things they want to do at a fun destination can be almost endless. You’ll need to narrow down the choices to the things they most want to do and plan the days accordingly. Invite the grandparents along for each activity but expect to be turned down often. They’ll want to feel included even if they know they won’t be joining in all that much. That’s just the way it is.
It’s worth noting, that the older your parents are, the less energy they’ll have to participate in many daily activities. This will vary depending on how physically active they are normally. Also, they may need to take a nap in the middle of the day to keep their strength up. If you’re not clear on what their personal needs are or their regular routine, now’s a good time to ask them and plan around it. Doing so may encourage them to go on a local half-day excursion once their specific needs have been met. They’ll appreciate it too.
With a family vacation, plan to have time apart as well as group time. The children will enjoy some supervised time outside or some alone time at the hotel or resort. Similarly, elderly parents will be used to having their own company and not necessarily want to always be with the rest of the family. Accordingly, make plans to have time together and planned time apart too.
For yourself and your partner, ask your parents to take care of the kids so that the two of you can go out for a romantic dinner date while on vacation. Make sure that you have some alone time as a couple. Similarly, your parents may enjoy doing the same thing with you acting as their driver to take them to the restaurant and pick them up when they’re ready. This way, they retain their independence but don’t have to worry about driving back in the dark.
Protect Against Emergencies
In situations where your elderly parents are going to be alone or acting as babysitters, equipping them with an ATC Alert system lets them push a button on a pendent around their neck to directly contact an emergency call center. It’s certainly a good idea when they’re taking care of your small children while you’re out on a date. However, it’s also smart for when they’re back home and you wish for them have this facility too. Click here to learn more about the ATC Alert system.
Planning a family vacation for three generations traveling together is not easy. Everyone wants to see and do different things. Some people may not like flying and prefer to be driven instead. Deciding who stays in which room isn’t always obvious. Special needs must be handled, whatever they may be. It is certainly true that traveling with the whole family, including elderly parents, takes more consideration and careful planning. However, it’s a wonderful thing to be able to do while they’re still with us and creates memories that will last long after their passing. That alone makes it worth the extra effort to put together a big trip as a complete family.