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Tips when planning holidays for the elderly in the UK

If you're planning a holiday, here are some things to consider to ensure you have the best possible break away.

August 01, 2022

Holidays in UK for elderly people

Spending some quality time away with loved ones is something that many of us like to do, but when a trip involves elderly relatives or friends, there are often additional things to consider and plan for.

Research indicates that almost half of those aged 65+ went on at least one UK holiday in 2021 and with overseas travel currently having it’s challenges, many may choose to do so again in 2022 and beyond.

In this article, we look at some of the additional considerations that may need to be made when planning holidays for the elderly in the UK.

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Reasons why there’s currently more UK elderly holidays being taken

There are many reasons why older adults might choose to holiday in the UK rather than going abroad at the moment.

Here’s our four top reasons why the UK is more attractive to the elderly and those with health conditions:

1. Delays and issues

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and even Brexit, travelling overseas can be more complicated than it used to be. Throughout 2022, there have been well-publicised delays and other problems at UK airports, as well as with tunnel and ferry crossings into Europe.

The thought of dealing with these things could be enough to put many people off the idea of going abroad for a holiday for now.

 

2. Travel insurance complexities and costs

For many older people holidaying abroad, finding affordable travel insurance can be a real issue, especially for those with any pre-existing medical conditions. Travelling within the UK means that they don’t need the same level of cover, as any medical emergency would be dealt with by the NHS and repatriation wouldn’t be needed.

This means that a more straightforward cancellation cover policy is usually all that’s needed, just in case something unexpected happens between booking the holiday and going on the trip.

 

3. Discomfort and challenges with long-distance travel

For those elderly people who perhaps have limited mobility or certain health conditions, long hours spent travelling aren’t necessarily comfortable or something they would choose, which means that many destinations abroad could be off the table.

Holidaying in the UK instead usually means that there are fewer practical concerns to navigate, such as getting used to a very different climate in the destination country, a different currency or language barriers.

 

4. The UK is beautiful!

The United Kingdom has so many beautiful and charming places to explore, whatever your interests are, whether you want beautiful scenery, to explore a coastline, to visit areas of historical interest, to enjoy bustling towns, villages, or cities or simply to relax somewhere different to home. It’s no wonder that many people, young and old, like to take holidays in the UK.

 

Planning the travel to your destination

Depending on where you’re holidaying in the UK, there may be different options for travelling there. If travelling by car, it’s perhaps easier to make frequent stops if needed. You can break up the journey into smaller chunks if that better suits any elderly adults making the trip.

Alternatively, you might travel by train, which can suit some older people because they can get up and stretch their legs during the journey.

Coach travel is another option that some elderly adults enjoy. It’s always important to plan any transfers from the transportation itself to the accommodation and how that will be managed if a door-to-door service is not available.

 

Planning the types of holidays for senior citizens

The type of holiday itself can be planned around the interests and capabilities of your elderly loved one.

A hotel or guesthouse might be a great option for them, especially if there are facilities there that they would enjoy, such as restaurants, a pool, spa or even a golf course. For others, a self-catering holiday in a cottage, mobile home or lodge would be more suitable, giving lots of freedom and flexibility in when and what you do whilst away.

 

cottage in UK

Accommodation accessibility and suitability

If your elderly loved one has any accessibility needs or has limited mobility, ensuring that the accommodation that you’re staying in is suitable and safe for them is very important. For older people who perhaps struggle with balance at times, things like an unfamiliar doorstep could be a trip or fall hazard, and a steep staircase could mean that an elderly person might struggle to climb them.

It’s important to ensure that the holiday accommodation is appropriate before you book.

Look for clear photos of the accommodation and don’t be afraid to ask questions before you make a booking.

If you’re staying in a hotel, their accessibility information should be easily available, and they may have rooms available that are especially suited to elderly people or those with reduced mobility.

 

Plans for food and eating out on elderly holidays in the UK

Depending on the type of holiday that you’re planning, it might be self-catered or may involve mainly eating out. If your elderly loved one has any specific dietary requirements or preferences, it’s important to check before you travel to ensure that these can be worked around either by taking your own food or by checking what is available locally. That way, everyone on the holiday can enjoy the food as well as the location and activities.

 

Get clued up on local amenities and services

If you’re travelling with someone who is elderly, it’s a great idea to make sure that you find out everything you can about the local amenities and services close to where you are staying, just in case you need something you weren’t expecting.

For example, where the nearest GP and chemist is located, in case any medication or advice is needed while you’re away. Regardless of where you are registered with a GP in the UK, you can visit any GP surgery when on holiday in this country if urgent need arises that can’t wait until you are back home.

Before you travel, we’d recommend gathering a list of local services and amenities that can be useful, including:

  • Closest GP surgery and chemist
  • Local taxi firm details in case transport is needed whilst you’re away
  • Local shops where the essentials can be bought
  • Local restaurants, cafes, or pubs, if these might be places that you’ll visit during your stay

 

Planning activities for senior holidays

Depending on what type of holiday you’re planning and the interests of those going, the types of activities that you might want to do when there can vary.

For some people, a pretty view and a good book to read are the ingredients for the perfect break, but others might wish to do various activities, visit specific places or see certain things on holiday.

Warwick castle

When travelling with someone who is elderly, there are sometimes additional things to consider when it comes to holiday activities, even ones that aren’t physically demanding. The accessibility of places that you want to visit is important, especially if your older loved one has limited mobility or cannot walk or stand for long periods of time.

Unsure if you or a loved one is at risk of a fall?

Take our quick falls risk assessment and get helpful advice and a downloadable Falls Prevention Guide. 

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Questions that you might want to find answers to before committing to any holiday activity could include:

  • Are there lots of steps or any uneven ground that could potentially cause problems for someone who is perhaps not as steady on their feet as they used to be? For example, at a castle or other historical attraction, or a cobbled street.
  • Are there places to stop and seating available if needed e.g. benches or seats for the public to use?
  • Are there public loos available and how easy are they to access within the venue?

For multi-generation holidays, where there can be those who are elderly as well as adults and children or babies, finding activities that has options everyone will enjoy can be a challenge, but many tourist attractions will have amenities that suit lots of different people and ages. For example, this could include play areas for children along with cafes that might suit older people better.

 

Things to help make holidays easier for older adults

Along with all the clothes and other usual things you need to pack when going on a UK break, when travelling with an older adult, there might be some other items that will help make things easier on your holiday.

These can include:

  • Full details of all medications that they are currently taking, in case medical advice or help is needed when away
  • Mobility aids if they are required e.g. if there is lots of walking involved whilst away, a walking stick to help support them, a stick with an integrated seat/rest or even hiring a mobility scooter for the trip could be a real help

Blackpool

 

Consider a GPS personal alarm for peace of mind when on a UK holiday

An additional layer of peace of mind could be offered by taking a location-aware GPS personal alarm away with you on your UK holiday.

This can be especially useful if not everyone going on the holiday will want to do the same activities all the time. It means that your elderly loved one can spend their break doing things they enjoy, even if that means time away from everyone else, without the worry that might usually go along with that.

GPS alarms

Designed to work anywhere in the country, this kind of personal alarm is worn by the older individual and they can press the button if they have a fall, an accident or are concerned about anything whilst away from home. Pressing the button alerts the Emergency Resolution Team, who can speak directly to the elderly person through the device, and are able to get their GPS location, wherever they are in the country.

Depending on what is required, the team can then contact family members or the emergency services to ensure that the right assistance is on its way.

This type of GPS personal alarm can be very reassuring for the elderly individual, as well as with their family and loved ones and it means that the older adult can continue to enjoy their independence whether on holiday or at home, knowing that help is always on hand if it is needed, at any time of the day or night, wherever they are in the UK.

Compare GPS personal alarms

You can choose from our range of GPS personal alarms to find the right one for the circumstances, whether that is Taking Care Anywhere, which includes fall detection technology, or our personal alarm watch, which brings all the benefits of a location-aware personal alarm, but with added features such as fitness tracking.

GPS Personal Alarms

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

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Ways to support independent living

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

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