Traveling with seniors is Sonja Burns’s specialty. Sonja, a licensed practical nurse, is the owner of Air Companions. Air Companions makes traveling with seniors safer and more comfortable. Just in time for Christmas and New Year trips, she’s offering these safe travel tips.
1.) Make absolutely sure your loved one has a picture ID. I have discovered that older people who need care, and no longer drive, often do not have a picture ID. If you do not have one when you enter the airport you will not be able to fly, and your traveling with seniors adventure ends before it begins.
2.) If a person is wheelchair bound and cannot walk through the metal detectors at the airport, they will be patted down. So, if you are traveling with seniors who cannot walk. please give them a heads up about going through security!
3.) Airports offer escort services in the airport, which I’ve found to be very helpful and courteous. They can help you get checked in, take you to your gate, and assist a wheelchair bound person on and off the plane. Remember to tip them!
Travleing with Seniors: bring meds and wet wipes
4.) I always carry a small package of wet wipes in my purse. When you are traveling with seniors who need assistance with their care, wet wipes are invaluable for numerous reasons!
5.) When traveling with seniors, always bring along extra supplies for your loved one. If they are incontinent bring extra incontinent pads/underwear. If they have an ostomy bring extra ostomy supplies. Bring a two-day supply of their medications in your carry on, in case your are delayed. Make sure all medications are labeled and in their original containers or presciption bottles, if possible. Remember the rule about liquids!
6.) Make sure your loved one dresses comfortably. I would suggest a fleece outfit as it is warm and roomy. If you have room, a light fleece laprobe can be a pillow or shawl, and will be invaluable if you’re delayed somewhere.
7.) When purchasing a ticket the best solution is to go first class. But, not everyone can afford that. If you are traveling with seniors in coach, ask for seats by the bulkhead. There is more leg room by the bulkhead. Tell the agent you are flying with someone disabled. The ticket agents really do try to help you out.
8.) If your loved one hasn’t flown in a long time it might be a good idea to tell their doctor about the upcoming flight. If you think the flight might be stressful ask the M.D. about a mild sedative to help them get through the trip.
9.) Make sure your luggage has wheels! When you are pushing a wheelchair it is very difficult to carry bags on your shoulders. A small carry on bag on wheels is a very good investment when traveling with seniors.
10.) If all this sounds like too much work contact Air Companions! We would be delighted to accompany your loved one in air travel. Or, any kind of travel for that matter. Let us help make your holidays easier. Sonja Burns, Air Companions