Planes, Canes, and Automobiles - Connecting with Your Aging Parents through Travel By Valerie M. Grubb
Reviewed by Mike Keenan, What Travel Writers Say
If you have been to the theatre lately, you will have noticed an aging audience, replete with an abundance of canes, walkers and other aids. The same phenomenon applies to travel.
With a father as a pilot, Valerie Grubb began traveling at the age of four. She and her mom took their first overseas vacation together more than 20 years ago, and they have visited destinations such as Thailand, France, Australia, China, and Cambodia.
As the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, more American adults now bring their elderly parents on vacation with them, however, planning logistics, activities, and the itinerary for a vacation suitable for family members of different ages, interests, and physical abilities can be a difficult task.
Due to the lack of resources available, Valerie has had to become a doctor, psychiatrist, social worker and travel expert to write her informative new book, Planes, Canes, and Automobiles: Connecting with Your Aging Parents through Travel (Greenleaf Book Group).
Chronicling the ups and downs of inter-generational travel, Grubb provides a wealth of information, practical advice, funny anecdotes, and tales of triumphs and travails to help everyone plan a stress-free family vacation and handle any problems that may arise. She offers advice on the emotional aspects of travel, how-to tips on physically getting around, and suggestions for where to go and what to do when you get there!
This book is easy to read and contains myriad comments and suggestions from others. She examines how traveling can create stronger bonds between you and your parents in ways that no number of phone calls and emails can ever equal; how to pick a vacation spot that all ages and interests can enjoy; the best ways to manage medical issues and crises while on vacation; tips for traveling with your parents after their physical and mental capabilities begin to falter; techniques for "letting go" of the emotional baggage from your childhood and enjoying your time away together. She suggests why you should never treat your parents as children even when you're the decision maker and examines how to build downtime into your schedule regardless how busy you are. The reader will find the book comprehensive as it includes proposed schedules, notes on meds and just about everything one can think of regarding travel with elders.
"Planes, Canes, and Automobiles grew out of the success of my blog, Travel with Aging Parents, which I launched in 2013," says Grubb. "My impetus for the blog came in late 2012 when planning a trip to Australia. I realized my mom's capabilities had changed: she now needed a wheelchair and was afraid to travel alone even on short flights. I went to find suggestions for handling these changes, and after much research I was struck by the lack of resources to help people plan vacations with an aging friend or family member. I couldn't find any comprehensive information that shed light on the nuances of globetrotting with aging parents, and realized that many of my friends were struggling with the same thing."
Planes, Canes, and Automobiles is her first book, available for purchase on Amazon.com and through other booksellers.
According to a recent AARP study, multigenerational households are on the rise: 44% of 45-to 55-year-olds have at least one living parent and one child under the age of 21 living with them. Today, including elderly parents in vacation plans is not just a matter of being practical, but can actually be one of the most rewarding experiences adult children and aging parents can share.
Grubb has traveled over 300,000 miles (and counting!) with her elderly mother. "Traveling together as grown-ups has a different and in many ways better, dynamic from the family vacations of your childhood," says Grubb. "Travel can bring you and your parents together in a way that no number of phone calls can ever equal."
Planes, Canes, and Automobiles is available on
Amazon.com ($13.26) and through other booksellers.
Mike Keenan writes for Postmedia Canada's largest newspaper publisher, printing 44 daily newspapers as well as a web portal, Canoe.ca. Besides regular columns for the St. Catharines Standard, Welland Tribune, Niagara Falls Review and Seniors Review, Mike has been published in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Geographic Traveler, Buffalo Spree, Stitches, West of the City and Hamilton-Burlington's View Magazine.