How to make traveling easier for the elderly or infirm

Airports are stressful for many of us who are reasonably fit and can move about on our own volition, but for the elderly or physically impaired traveling can be a frustrating and exhausting endeavor. Patients who do not have help from friends or family find traveling with a paid companion or heath care worker beneficial. Thorough Instructions should be communicated to the caregiver so the patient has everything they need for the trip. This includes enough medications for the time away, wheelchair, cane, walker, appropriate clothes for weather conditions at the destination, emergency phone numbers, oxygen, moist wipes, snacks etc.

The New York Times article titled “Flying Tips for Older Passengers” has the following advice. “Make as many requests as possible when booking a flight, including requests for expedited boarding and seats with extra legroom and wheelchairs. Elderly fliers who don’t need wheelchairs but have trouble walking can ask about electric carts. Fliers should get a doctor’s note that they can present at check-in and the gate.” The more you can take care of in booking the better. Checking in presents another set of challenges.

The article goes on to say “People who can’t help an elderly flier check in can take advantage of free services — for instance, a Delta employee can help an older person through check-in with 48 hours’ notice — or pay for a concierge. American Airlines has a Service program that shepherds fliers from curb to gate.
Other companies, like Royal Airport Concierge Services, will meet passengers at the curb to help them check bags and escort them to security. “If the person is traveling with a caregiver some of the these can ideas can still be utilized. Traveling with the physically or mentally impaired is complicated, entailing extensive planning. Whether the patient is going across state lines or over seas the issues are the same.

The elderly and infirm can become lethargic and even depressed due to their lack of mobility, companionship and stimulation. Theses people have enjoyed traveling, and cruises are especially popular. Bringing a caregiver along on a pleasure trip is a wonderful way for a disabled person to experience an adventure. Usually the companion’s ticket, taxes, room and board, cash for taxi’s etc. is paid for by the patient or patients representative. Caregivers are paid for the time they are traveling as they are working on such trips. A day rate or weekly rate that includes 24/7 care is established up front. Find a reputable agency with references that is licensed, bonded and insured. Ask to meet with the caregiver they assign you since you will be with them for an extended period of time. If you don’t like that person request someone else. Compatibility is an important factor in the relationship between caregiver and patient.

Brought to you by Angel Care Nurse Registry.

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