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Handle with Care: Seniors in the Air

When Mom and Dad are traveling, especially with medical issues or after an illness or surgery, it can worry even the most sanguine of their grown kids. With the holiday season approaching, it may be time to consider a few extra measures to keep them safe and comfortable while they are traveling. Conversely, you as a senior may be hearing from your adult kids about how they worry when you travel – much as you worried when they were younger. It can be a daunting role reversal, but some tips and tricks for seniors traveling can make everything a lot easier on both sides of the generation gap.

  1. Trained medical assistance from a flight transport nurse can go a long way to making a flight safer and more comfortable for seniors. A flight transport nurse is a registered nurses who administer medical care while patients are being transported from Point A to Point B. This can be especially helpful to seniors with dementia, or who will require medicines and care en route.
  2. Not many people know that a family member or caretaker can accompany an elderly traveler to the departure gate. The request for an escort pass needs to be made to the airline ahead of the travel date, and the escort must provide government issued ID, full name, and their birthdate.
  3. Ask ahead of time. Asking ahead of time for helpful services such as wheelchairs or carts to and from the gate, special in-flight meals, seats with more legroom, and early boarding.
  4. Medical conditions and disabilities. The TSA provides travelers with a card that they can fill out in order to properly advise screeners that they have medicines, devices, disabilities, and medical conditions. Screeners cannot force passengers to remove devices such as ostomy pouches, insulin pumps, back braces, or other devices. However, these devices are subject to extra screening.

Seniors don’t have to give up traveling but instead can make a few changes in order to do it comfortably. From a flight transport nurse to a curbside concierge to get them to the gate, there are many different options to make it easier to get where you’re going. Likewise, adult kids can rest assured that their parents are in the best of hands as they travel. Making these arrangements takes some forethought and time to accomplish, but the overall reduction in stress and worry is more than worth the price.