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Traveling with a senior citizen

Virginia
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Traveling with a senior citizen

Mom's dream trip is to go to Japan and we're planning a trip for Spring 2010 for Mom, self and hubby. We're budgeting for 1 hotel room (within short walking distance to JR line or subway that is also near a mall or area with many shops/restaurants), a half-day city tour, a full day Mt. Fuji tour and a day at Disney. If Mom needs rest, hubby and I will explore surrounding areas on foot for one or two hours at a time. Any additional advice anyone can provide for traveling with a senior citizen would be most appreciated.

Palo Alto...
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1. Re: Traveling with a senior citizen

Seniors comprise a far larger percentage of the total population in Japan than most countries in the world. Thus, facilities for seniors are certainly adequate. In fact, compared to our country, Japan is a lot more friendly to seniors.

Don't worry; your mom will be fine. As part of trip planning, I suggest that you translate phrases like, "where is the closest elevator?" or "wheelchair facility" into Japanese.

Tokyo, Japan
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2. Re: Traveling with a senior citizen

City center areas are generally not friendly to people with any kind of disability, although its getting better recently.

Lots of steps (elevators not always available), crowded trains, lots of walking can zap the strength of even a robust youngster.

So its prudent to plan carefully.

Japan
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3. Re: Traveling with a senior citizen

Having been in Japan several times with elderly family members, it's not at all difficult. If Mom is mobile, you will be just fine. Take steps slower, use elevators and escalators when available, and just be ready to let go of what you thought you might get done in a day if she's tired. We took taxis several times, they are easy to find in most places and certainly worth spending money to prevent exhaustion! You'll find that many train and subway stations will be surrounded with restaurants. And do consider doing take out food from the department store basements for some quiet evenings of eating in your hotel room.

Treasure every minute you will be there with her, what a gift!!

Hong Kong, China
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for Hong Kong, Osaka
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4. Re: Traveling with a senior citizen

My only concern would be Disney since Tokyo Disneyland is notorious for having long waits. If I were you, I'd consider sticking with Orlando or California locations for Disney. You can use the extra day to enjoy Japan instead of a theme park.

Most of the popular rail and subway stations have steadily improved their facilities over the years. For example, there are basically elevators or escalators to every platform at Shinjuku. There is even an escalator that takes you all the way to street level at Tsukijishijo station. As long as she is mobile and can walk a couple flights of stairs occasionally, there should be no problem.

Aoyama Dori and San...
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5. Re: Traveling with a senior citizen

You should think about budgeting for cell phone rental if you leave her alone at the hotel. It's not for talking, just for emergencies and peace of mind when you leave her alone.

Hong Kong, China
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6. Re: Traveling with a senior citizen

I agree with Route regarding having cell phones. It lets everyone separate once in a while and come back to a meeting point. I now bring 3G phones to Japan. We would sometime go look at our own things for an hour or two and arrange a meeting place via text message.

Tokyo, Japan
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7. Re: Traveling with a senior citizen

How old is Mom? How mobile is she?

If you can get her walking NOW, she'll fare much better when she gets here. Be sure to invest in decent walking shoes -- such as Merrill or Keens -- and break them in before your arrival.

Disney is spring will be far easier than summer at Disney. Opt for Disney Sea. The shows are simply fab and there are lot of seats!

Japan is the land of Senior citizens. There have been a lot of improvements in the last 10 years. Most train stations have elavators and escalators. When riding on an escalator in Tokyo, stand on the left. The "passing" lane is on the right.

Change your watch to Tokyo time as soon as you get on the plane. Once you're in the air, never look back on what time it is at "home."

When in "spring" are you planning? Late March/early April is usually cherry blossom time!

Happy planning!

Virginia
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8. Re: Traveling with a senior citizen

Mom (early 70's) is still quite mobile and I've warned her of our stepping up our walking regimen as we get closer to our mid-March trip as well as breaking in cushioned flats. She grew up in Hawaii with many Japanese classmates and is now deciding she wants to visit. I agree that touring cities can be exhausting (we live in the suburbs) but exciting also and we plan on fortifying ourselves with all forms of noodles. You all are providing excellent suggestions - keep them coming.

San Francisco...
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9. Re: Traveling with a senior citizen

I would begin training for lots of walking and some unavoidable stairs.

I have been an advocate for inexpensive "business hotels" in Japan (for example, the Comfort Hotel and Toyoko Inn chains). They generally expect guests to be out of the hotel from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. so they can clean the rooms without the guests getting in the way. A couple of times, I put out a "do not disturb" sign and slept late, but I did get the feeling that the hotel would get upset with me if I did this for too many days. I'm hoping that others on this site can advise on this issue. My question is, if Mom will frequently need to be in the hotel room for a mid-day rest, would that be a problem for business hotels?

Auckland Region...
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10. Re: Traveling with a senior citizen

Hi Needsumnow,

when your out on foot it is easy to dehydrate even in moderate weather. Be sure to keep up your fluid intake. Most tourist places will have small stalls where one can buy a drink and japanese cake or snack. Avail yourselves of every oportunity to sit back, sip, nibble and enjoy the scenery.

We are in our mid to late sixties and find doing this helps us through the day.

Cheers.