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A Unique Aging in Place Product: A Senior Travel Companion


Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen 

You may not think of a travel service when exploring aging in place products. But, with the vaccine, more older adults are ready to get back into “normal life.” Many want to make up for lost time. As we all realize with greater clarity this year, life is short.

Can You Age in Place and Travel?

The short answer is “Yes!” Maybe you have always had an adventurous spirit and love travel. Age should not be a road block.

But, be realistic. You may not be as comfortable traveling by yourself anymore. The thought of packing and organizing a trip makes you nervous. Airline travel is more complicated than it used to be. Driving yourself may no longer be an option. But, that should not stop you from hitting the road.

The Solution

Thankfully, there is a professional service that can help. Senior Travel Companion Services offers trip planning and a travel escort for seniors. I had the pleasure of interviewing the owner, Carol Giuliani. Carol has a wide array of experience in elder care. She has been a caregiver, an attorney and fiduciary. She also loves to travel. Thus, she brought all of those skills to her business.

Here are some questions that I asked Carol. Warning: After reading this, you will definitely have the desire to travel!

  • Some seniors may have given up the idea of being able to travel comfortably.  How do you and your service help people who may feel hesitant about traveling?

By providing customized trip planning and travel escort, I can handle all the stressors and concerns that come with traveling. I’ll do all the logistics planning, find the best deals and prepare for contingencies. I go at your pace, to the places YOU want to go, so there is no pressure. Also, sometimes people have no choice but to travel. They have to get somewhere and their family can’t take the time to travel or do not have the skills to plan and accompany their senior family members properly. Or there is no family to go along. I am available to those travelers, who much appreciate the help. If an individual wants to know how to best travel solo, my website includes a lot of travel tips to help them on their way.
Travel is getting easier and better for those who are nervous about their physical or mental conditions. The industry is recognizing the growing demographic of senior travelers. Travelers with hidden disabilities such as dementia or Parkinson’s now have the opportunity to obtain and wear a Sunflower Lanyard which trained workers at participating airports know means they should treat the traveler with more patience and kindness. This is an international phenomenon that, before long, should extend to retailers, arenas, etc. which will make traveling more comfortable for travelers with disabilities. I use the lanyards often. (See more at hiddendisabilitiesstore.com and dementiafriendlyairports.com).
  •  I see on your website that you have assisted older adults traveling even during the time of COVID. As restrictions are starting to loosen, do you have advice for people as they re-enter the travel world?

I would say: Get out and go! Don’t wait because if there is one thing COVID has taught us, it’s that the future is uncertain. Having a trip planned gives us something to look forward to, stimulates our minds and hearts, and makes memories. Plus, now is a great time to travel. Airports and planes are cleaner than they have ever been, and people are still wearing masks, so I believe travel is safer than ever.  People who have put off travel are now calling me to go everywhere, including overseas. Good for them! A survey I read says that seniors who are asked what they wish they could do over in life, very often say they wish they had traveled more. So do it! Visit your grandkids, attend that wedding, move to your old home town, or watch a sunset from the San Diego boardwalk. Spend your money on your life! Travel safely and comfortably and enjoy life.
  • You have assisted older adults on trips that include air travel and long-distance car travel. What has that been like?

I have enjoyed all of my 70 trips, and love seeing new places and old favorites. I am a great driver and love a good road trip. If a client wants to chat, I can do that or we can just relax. I have driven for days with clients, including a couple I drove from Minnesota to Sanibel, FL in their car with their dog so they could stay for the season. I have even flown to Dubai to fly a couple to Tampa.
  • Have you ever had unexpected events happen while traveling with a client? How did you handle it?

Of course! That is the nature of travel. Some unexpected events are great, such as the classic car show I happened upon with a client. Or the fish my client and I caught in Mexico. Others, such as gate changes and no-show pilots can make a trip more challenging. However, I like to say I plan these trips like a military operation, leaving time for issues that may arise and being ready in case the unexpected occurs.  Fortunately, the only catastrophe I encountered was on a trip with my husband, when he had a bad fall and had to be airlifted out of Belize. So I know I can handle a big problem; I also know I’ll do what it takes to avoid them. Don’t let your fear or your kids’ fear keep you from traveling. My favorite quote is by Robert Perske: “To deny the right to make choices in an effort to protect the person from risk is to diminish their human dignity.”
  • Any thoughts about people aging in place and how travel fits into their lives?
What’s so great about aging in place? How about aging in some place new? Actually, I think travel keeps us from aging too fast. lt keeps us relevant, educates us and lets us appreciate the rich variety of humans and landscape that God blessed us with. So go for it! I can make travel fit you.







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