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Ind. woman travels 300,000 miles with aging mom

Posted at 10:51 PM, Apr 26, 2016

MOORESVILLE, Ind. -- Dorothy Grubb of Mooresville will be 86 this year – but she's probably logged more air miles in the last 20 years than many of us will in our lifetimes.

Together, with her daughter Valerie, Grubb has traveled more than 300,000 miles. That includes six trips to China, three to Thailand, and visits to Australia, Malaysia and elsewhere.

PHOTOS | See pictures from Valerie and Dorothy Grubb's trips around the world

Grubb now enlists the help of a wheelchair to see the sites.

"Mom's like, faster, faster, what are you waiting on Val, let's go!" Valerie Grubb said. "That's the only time being pushed around is good."

But Valerie Grubb noticed that there aren't a lot of resources for traveling with aging adults. So she decided to write a book to help others: "Planes, Canes and Automobiles."

The book includes lists and chapters full of tips, like how to slow down and enjoy your sightseeing. Some of those tips include:

  • Understand that things have changed: you may not be able to hike all over the country, or see 10 landmarks in one day. But take this time to see a few and really enjoy them, reflect on the experience together (maybe over a lunch or afternoon by the pool)
  • Make a packing list for yourself and your aging parent: to make sure everyone has what they need but not way more. Plan where you are going each day and that they have what they need for the climate.
  • See a travel doctor: make sure their immune system is prepared and thy have proper medication before traveling out of the country.
  • Get to know their routine: when it comes to taking medicine, what they take each day, what time, and their medical history. make sure they know yours as well in case anything happens.
  • Don't treat them like your child: everyone can make adult decisions and have a say in the trip and where you go. Involve your aging parent in the planning process.
  • Take time for yourself: whether that means going on a morning jog or grabbing coffee on your own, give each other space to unwind.
  • Mobility planning: make sure you know where you can find resources like wheelchairs, cars, taxis...things to help them go longer distances without getting too tired.
  • ENJOY each other as much as the trip: this is a time for bonding and growing in your relationship together. Check your emotional baggage and appreciate the time you still have together. 

For Valerie and Dorothy, it's all about your perspective on travel and using it to build your relationship.

"Don't treat mom like a child, is one thing that I would say," Valerie said. "Involve them in decision making."

For more information about traveling with aging parents, visit Valerie's blog.