Posted on Sep 26, 2014
Some communities are under the impression that home care means that seniors stay at home and never go out. Unfortunately, many people believe that caring for a senior or an older adult also means that caregivers and seniors stay home every single day. Thank goodness, some are in disagreement with this concept; in fact, most health care professionals encourage seniors and older adults to participate in activities that take them out of their comfort zone. Regrettably, many seniors, who no longer drive, are unable to go out. One travel experience local seniors may be missing out on is the SunRail, Central Florida’s commuter rail system.
Recently, I invited my friend Pat, who turned 87 and no longer drives, to go on her very first SunRail train ride. I wanted to experience the trip myself and made plans to have her come along for a short rail trip from Altamonte Springs to Winter Park.
Selecting the Winter Park’s Sun Rail Station as our destination had a twofold purpose. First, the station has an easy access to a beautiful park, and plenty of benches. Secondly, the Winter Park SunRail Station is adjacent to Park Avenue’s wonderful sidewalk cafes, shops and restaurants. The Winter Park Sun Rail Station is located at 148 West Morse Blvd., Winter Park, Florida.
The following are just a few recommendations you and your senior loved ones may want to follow when traveling on the SunRail for the first time:
Travel Recommendations for Seniors
-- Check schedules and fare prices; you can go online on the SunRail website. Pat’s round-trip fare from the Altamonte Springs station to Winter Park and back cost $2.75. While checking on fares, we found out how cost-effective the SunRail tickets are for both seniors and disabled transit travelers. If you are a senior 65 + and are traveling all the way from Sanford to the Orlando Health/Amtrak Station, the round trip will still only cost $2.75 and $1.50 if traveling one way. Schedules are listed by direction of travel, such as Northbound or Southbound.
-- Don’t go alone on your first trip; invite a friend or caregiver to go along. In addition to safety reasons, it is advantageous to go with someone you trust, and who can also offer feedback on best travel options. Also, if a senior is a fall risk it is always advisable to have friends or caregivers go along to help and assist.
-- Go on a first practice-train ride in order to become acclimated to the nuances of travel and to gain experience with the requirements of ticket purchasing. Experiencing buying a ticket from a machine that doesn’t say a word, but hums, ticks and spits out return money, receipts and a two-way ticket ride card, is just plain fun.
-- Take a short trip first, if you are unsure about how far you want to travel. If you are caring for someone who tires easily, a short trip is the most advisable.
-- Wear closed-toe shoes with good ankle and heel support; sturdy shoes offer more stability for seniors who may have poor balance.
-- Try finding seats on the lower level of the train, in order to avoid fall risks while climbing steps.
-- Take a small folding seat cushion, in case a senior loved one has to sit for more than 30 minutes on some of the metal benches at the local rail stations.
-- If you need to bring along an assistive device, do not hesitate to include it on your trip. There is room on the SunRail to fold a light travel wheelchair and walker.
When traveling with an older adult, include them in the planning of the trip. We hope these tips are helpful and we encourage you to try out the new SunRail, Central Florida’s commuter rail system.
Senior Helpers of Orlando understands the need that some seniors and older adults have in getting out of their isolated environments. Senior Helpers encourages seniors to go out and enjoy new activities in the company of family, friends and loving caregivers.
If you or a loved one is in need of home health care services, and would like to inquire about the services we provide, call our Senior Helpers office at 407-628-4357. We will be glad to schedule an appointment with you and your loved ones.
Ana P. DeLane
Senior Helpers of Orlando Team Member