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Tips for Traveling With People With Disabilities

Importance of Touch

For the nearly 1.25 million Hoosiers living with a disability, transportation goes far beyond getting from one place to another. Being in a different environment, be it a new room, new city or on a plane, can be extremely stressful. Even tasks as seemingly simple as getting in and out of a car can become discouraging travel barriers.

CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions has a few tips when it comes to traveling with people living with disabilities:

Give yourself extra time and plan ahead

Once you’re familiar with where you’re going, you can prepare for what you may encounter on the way. Start by planning ahead to refill any necessary medications or purchase supplies the day before your trip. It also can be helpful to research your route and schedule pit stops along the way, especially if it’s a longer trip. Have a game plan complete with in-vehicle activities and snacks in case you encounter unexpected circumstances. Be sure to check the emergency medical kit as well. And don’t forget to make sure everyone uses the bathroom before you leave!

Know your destination

Depending on your destination, there are a number of factors that can make the end of a trip frustrating for everyone in the vehicle. Is there enough designated parking? Will there be accessible seating? Is the destination in a busy part of town? Are there any potential physical obstacles? In addition to the physical difficulties, an unfamiliar environment can create emotional stress. If you’re going someplace new, look online or call before you leave to find out how disability friendly your destination is to make the trip easier for everyone.

Be patient and supportive

It is important to be patient and calm when traveling, even more so when assisting a person with a disability. It might take a little extra time to get to where you’re going, but getting their safely is more significant than how long it takes to get there. Talk to your loved one before you leave about any concerns he or she has to help avoid unnecessary stress while driving or once you reach your destination. If a stressful situation arises, give information in small amounts and repeat yourself using a calm tone of voice as necessary to prevent further agitation. Take cues from your loved one, and try to see things from his or her point of view.