Elderly care expert Deb Bernacki of Happier At Home joins us with tips for senior citizens who are planning on air travel.
Here's what to do before your trip.
Create an index card with the following information:
1) Current and past medical history
2) Current treatments including a listing of medications and their dose and frequency
3) If you are changing time zones, tell your doctor and have him specify when to take your medications at your destination's time zone.
4) Name and phone number of your pharmacy and doctor
Plan to bring as much medication to last your entire trip. You may need to ask your doctor for a 2 or 3 month prescription.
If there are any medical conditions that will require security or the airline to be aware of, have your doctor write a note in regard to the same.
Pack your carryon bag:
1) Pack all of your medications in their original containers in your carryon bag
2) Pack water and snacks. It's important to stay hydrated and have water available if you'll need to take your medications while traveling. Have snacks in the event that your flight is delayed.
3) Bring a small neck pillow or blanket to provide extra comfort during your trip.
4) Hand sanitizer
5) Medical notification from doctor for security or the airline if applicable
Wear compression stockings. Sitting for long periods of time could cause a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot); wearing compression stockings and getting up to move frequently will help to avoid this from happening.
Know your limitations
At the time of purchasing your air ticket, check on the requirements for getting a motorized escort or wheelchair assistance to your departure gate. You are also able to check your own wheelchair and have it arrive at your final destination.
Request pre-boarding assistance, which will allow you the opportunity to be seated prior to general boarding.
If You're on Oxygen
Oxygen is a hazardous material, and airlines will not allow passengers to carry it onto an airplane. Some airlines may provide oxygen, but most do not, the few that do assess charges for oxygen service. Airlines may allow passengers to bring portable oxygen concentrators (POCs).If you need oxygen and plan to fly, you'll need to make sure your POC is on the FAA's approved list.
Hire a Companion Escort
Finally, hiring a companion to fly with you will help to ensure your safety and ease the stressors of flying when you have limitations. Happier At Home provides special pricing for the escort. The escort may fly with you, and return after you've safely reached your destination. Also, you may have the escort remain with you during your trip.