Planning a trip this year? Nearly 100 million Americans are scheduling family vacations throughout 2019, according to a survey by AAA. And since half of grandparents have at least one grandchild more than 200 miles away according to AARP, travel has become a necessity for quality time. In fact, a third of grandparents have experienced “skip gen” travel (just grandparents/grandkids and no parents).
Yet nearly a third of boomers (32 percent) say that health issues and concerns limit their travel. One of those health issues might have to do with bladder control or incontinence. Worried about this? Here are some tips for traveling—whether by car, bus, boat, train or plane—because nobody should feel like they need to stay home just because they may need help controlling when they “go.”
Prepare and plan ahead. Map out the closest rest stops if on the road, ensure public transportation has a bathroom available during the trip and let travel companions know that more breaks might need to be made while en route. Pack a change of clothes in a backpack or carry-on bag along with any other supplies that might be needed. Plan for delays and unexpected overnight stays.
Select the right spot. If sitting in a row of seats, it is always best to pick the aisle. Spending time at a park or on the beach? Make sure to put the blanket and umbrella down close to a public restroom. Need to know where those are? The National Association for Continence has a list of locator apps that may be useful when sightseeing or spending time outdoors.
Build in extra time. On your way, ensure that there’s enough time to get to a bathroom before getting in any lines or while making any transfers. Factor in the extra time it takes to board and disembark; consider sitting in the front or by the door to exit more quickly. If traveling by car, plan the timing of the trip for when less traffic is expected, such as early in the morning.
Technology can take away worries. Wearable technology, such as DFree®, uses a noninvasive ultrasound sensor to measure the size of the bladder to determine how full it is. When urinary volume reaches a threshold, the device can send notifications to a phone or tablet, reminding you to visit the bathroom soon. A device like this might be especially handy for those who want to stay hydrated but may have limited their drinking for fear of “accidents.” Drinking water is particularly important during air travel since the dry air can be dehydrating, according to Reader’s Digest.
Talk to a doctor. If urinary incontinence issues have not been addressed or are getting worse, it is always important to speak with a medical professional for recommendations on how to manage the symptoms and get back to an active lifestyle.