Visiting Florida with the Elderly

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Florida Guide > Miscellaneous

Visiting Florida with the Elderly

So, your parents (or grandparents or whoever) want to go on holiday with you to Florida? You've probably got lots of questions about whether this is a good idea, such as:

  • Will they be interested in the theme parks?
  • How will they get on with the heat?
  • Will they be mobile enough?
  • What about getting health insurance?
  • What about the food?

We have been on many holidays to Florida with elderly parents (one of whom was permanently in a wheelchair) and had a great time.

Florida has a high number of elderly people already in its population as lots of people from all over the USA choose to make this their retirement destination! You will find lots of facilities already in place.

Theme Parks

All theme parks are spread out over a fairly large area and involve a lot of walking and standing. Is your elderly person fit and mobile? No? Don't worry as you can rent mechanical or electrical wheelchairs at all the parks - just make sure you arrive early as soon as the park is open as they cannot be reserved in advance and it's first come, first served. They cost around $30 - $60 for a day's rental, depending on the type. Even if they are fit and mobile, if you have any doubts about their ability to cope with walking or standing in a queue (line) for longish periods, you may want to think about renting one anyway, just in case.

If they need a wheelchair as they cannot get around at all, there are lots of attractions in the theme parks they can still access. Although this won't be all of them, there will be enough accessible things to keep them happy. Wheelchair users are given priority in all shows and queues (lines) for rides (which includes the remainder of the party) so they can be useful if there's a long queue (line) and you cannot or do not want to use a Fastpass system.

As for interest in the theme parks, even if they don't want to go on any of the rides, there are lots of things to look at and do. Kids aged 1 to 101 just love Florida!

What about the heat?

I don't know about your elderly person(s) but mine is always cold! Although it can be hot and humid in Florida in the summer months, there's plenty of air conditioning around to make this bearable if anyone is bothered by the heat, i.e. in your rental home, in the car, all buildings, etc. Just take the usual precautions of making sure that they don't get dehydrated, use sun protection and even a sun hat might be a good idea if they're out and about.

During the winter months, the day time temperature is much milder with less humidity so, if you feel your elderly person might be bothered by the heat, this is a good time to visit.

Will they be mobile enough?

If they're not, you can easily rent a mechanical or electrical wheelchair for them to use for their whole stay. There are companies which will deliver these to your rental home for you and collect it again at the end of your stay for a fee of around $90, depending on the length of your stay. Please make sure, though, if you intend to do this, that you ensure that the rental car you order will transport the wheelchair for you - don't rent one which doesn't have room for it!

What about health insurance?

You'll find that some insurance companies do not provide insurance for the over 65s, 70s or the over 75s. Don't be put off - with a little dedication, you can find insurance companies which do not have an upper age limit and don't charge a fortune for health insurance. My 81 year old's annual health insurance for travel worldwide is under £80 per year with a nationally known company. You can find similar health insurance for your elderly person at a similar price by searching the internet or making a few phone calls!

What about the food?

Isn't it all burgers and fries? No, many family type restaurants serve lots of other things apart from burgers and fries. In most restaurants, you'll find that the over 50s or 55s are entitled to a seniors' discount. If it's not offered to you, then just ask! There are also senior meals (on the back of most menus) which provide slightly smaller versions of the main menu - don't confuse smaller portions with going hungry as even these are larger than the regular size meal you would normally be served in the UK .

Finally…

We've had some very special holidays with our elderly persons over the years which we continue to enjoy. Don't let someone's age deter you from taking your elderly person to Florida. It's something they will remember long afterwards, probably as the best holiday they ever had.

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