Traveling as a caregiver is a two-way proposition. I found that the pleasure I get is as much as the pleasure I give. Traveling with my grandfather when I was in my 20s allow me to hear stories in the car and at campsites about his childhood, his family, and adventures in New York of the Depressions. With my mother, when she was in her 80s and 90s we spoke about life in general and about Europe after WWII. And, with my friend Mario who died at 86 years, we spoke about business, friendship, and amazing adventures that he had during the revolution in Argentina, torture, starting over in America, etc.
Being a caregiver brings lots of joy to us as well as help and comfort to those who cannot move with the nimbleness that they once had. But, in all cases their minds were just as nimble as they ever were. Be ready for grand adventures in storytelling and helping them meet their bucket-list travel wishes.
Much of caregiving means receiving as well. A lot of a caregivers vibes come from how they see their caregiving. I have had the opportunity to travel with senior citizens during my 20s when my grandfather came to Italy from NYC to live with us after my grandmother had died. Later, I took care of my mother who lived to be 96 years old. And, during that period I also had a good friend who eventually died at 86 who loved to travel.
Each of them provided me with plenty of conversations, observations about life, advice, and great stories. When friends asked me later in life how hard it must be to spend time and travel with my mother and my friend, I always told them the truth. It was a pleasure. I had a great time with them.
With my grandfather, I watched the landing of the first man on the moon. We saw it from a campsite in northern Italy. We watched on a 9-inch TV set plugged into a VW van's cifgarette lighter. My mother turned out to be more of a friend than a mom in her later life. She listened to my problems and helped m work through them by regaliing me with her stories. And, my friend Mario, with his love of travel pushed me to go to Patagonia in the far south of Argentina and motor across Spain and southern France. Every kilometer was filled with stories and adventures that I wouldn't have experienced with anyone else. What a gift.
Of course, there were hassles. There was airport security. There were passport issues. There were endless airport concourses. There was plenty of ego to go around. There were hotels with no walk-in showeres or grab bars. There were moody days with my mom, grandpa, and Mario, but we worked through them and learned more about each other.