Travel is once again soaring and more people are making travel plans—surpassing even 2019 pre-pandemic travel. Many people are just plain tired of being cooped up in their homes and feeling disconnected from the outside world, and others believe herd immunity or vaccinations will keep them safe and are willing to take a chance and do what matters to them most—spend time with family.
Keeping Seniors Connected to Family
The importance of family in a senior’s life is immeasurable. Not only does family provide a consistent social network, but evidence also indicates that the relationship a senior keeps with family has a direct impact on their overall quality of life. The connection between family and health is key as we age. When it comes to maintaining a high quality of life, staying connected to friends and family was a primary concern for about 30% of those surveyed in the United States Aging Survey. Perhaps surprisingly, relationships were more important than financial resources for the majority of people surveyed.
Seniors who maintain strong ties with their family have even been shown to outlive those who report less favorable relationships. If the potential for a longer life doesn’t make you want to connect with your loved ones, here are a few more reasons why the need for family is so great.
Connection Is the Cure
The significance of family goes deeper than just the senior’s desires—there is a strong correlation between health and the strength of one’s family relationships as well. The benefits associated with elders who report having stronger ties with their families include:
- Longer life. Elders who are more socially involved with family members are more likely to live longer than those who remain isolated. This is even true for those in late stages of dementia. Although perhaps not apparent, family presence prolongs their life and improves the quality of their remaining years.
- Stronger immune system. Social seniors often have stronger immune systems. This is especially important because older immune systems are typically weaker than younger ones.
- Improved mental health. Seniors who are close to their families have better mental health than those who are not. Interacting with family and being reminded that they are loved reduces feelings of depression.
- Brain health. More socially engaged seniors typically have a higher level of cognitive function. Those who reported being happy and engaging in social activities were more likely to have an increase in memory and thinking skills; those who indicated the opposite experienced a decline in cognitive abilities.
Travel Industry Issues
During this pandemic we continue to face travel issues that impact connecting over longer distances, such as labor shortage throughout hotels, car rentals, and airlines. The reasons behind this shortage are hotly debated. Many employers blame the federal government’s extra $300 per week in unemployment aid, but plenty of hospitality workers who abruptly lost their jobs have moved on to new careers and aren’t coming back. Some employers want to hire new workers at lower wages instead of recalling laid-off employees, said D. Taylor, president of the hotel, gaming, and airport workers union Unite Here. Hotel chains are considering eliminating housekeeping and guest services jobs as well.
A recent survey of 4,000 travel and tourism workers showed that many found jobs with higher pay and predictable schedules, and some plan on leaving the industry soon, said Peter Ricci, director of Florida Atlantic University’s hospitality and tourism management program. “It’s time for our industry to wake up and see that’s an important thing. We have a shortage for a reason,” said Cathy Balestriere, general manager of Crane’s Beach House, a boutique hotel in Delray Beach, Florida.
As for the airline industry, cancellations and delays could abound. Because of mandated vaccinations for airline staff and flights being canceled due to employees resisting the mandate by not working, some airlines have decided to nix the mandate and continue to follow strict CDC protocol for flights.
Finally, once you get to where you are going, how are you going to get around? If you have a senior family member who would love to travel for the holidays but is unable to do so alone, consider an assisted travel company. We are trained in providing medical care, comfort and companionship for your loved one. Plus, it’s great peace of mind for you. Don’t let another holiday go by without bringing the whole family together.
Founder Kerri Johnson, RN, launched GOMO Travel in 2019 to bridge the gap between her passions of travel and medical care. As a registered nurse, she is not only trained in providing medical care but in providing comfort and compassion via assisted travel. GOMO Travel has completed nearly 100 trips in a short time prior to and during the pandemic, with a superb team of travel companions assisting in travel to boundless destinations.
www.gomotravel.com or call 904.395.7500. 712 Cape Coral Parkway West, Cape Coral.