Over the past decade the numbers of seniors in society have increased sharply due to the “baby boomers” reaching middle and retirement age. Caregivers, be they family or friends, are discovering a whole new area of concern – that of travelling with an elderly friend or relative. But with a little planning and a bit of research you should have no fear scheduling that cruise or setting up that plane trip for you and your friend.
The first stop before you even start making reservations should be with the senior’s doctor or medical professional. Many people skip this step and end up devastated at the airport or at the wharf when they discover that they’re unable to travel due to medical restrictions. For example, if you or your friends are on oxygen, you won’t be able to fly. Almost all airlines restrict the use of oxygen tanks being in the passenger cabin or even being transported unless there are special conditions and prior discussion. This is due to the obvious concern of an accident in the cabin leading to a potentially explosive situation with pure oxygen leaking out into the pressurized area. Or if you have angina your doctor may recommend you not undergo the stress of flying due to the strain placed on your heart. Even if you think it’s a minor condition you should discuss all potential trips with your doctor before going to the travel agent.
Now that you’ve obtained the right information regarding what you can and can’t do as far as transportation goes, let’s talk about drugs. Prescription drugs, that is. Many seniors have a variety of pills that they usually dispense via a pill case, dumping out their daily dosage of pills into a pile and organizing them into a day by day series of boxes to make sure they have the right ones. But when travelling there is always a concern of drug smuggling, sorry to say – and while you may know that the little blue pill is only corzide for high blood pressure and the smaller oval one is for high cholesterol, the security official may not be so knowledgable. Be sure to keep all original pill bottles with you while travelling in case there’s any question regarding what these pills are and the authencitity of the prescription.
As well, keep these medical supplies with you at all times, much as you do your passport or personal identification. Having your only source of nitroglycerine go soaring off on a lost piece of baggage isn’t just annoying; it can possibly be life threatening. Keep all prescription drugs with you at all times as well as the phone number of your physician in case of medical emergency.
No matter if you’re travelling by plane, train, automobile or cruise ship there’s likely to be a special service offered for seniors to transport them on and off safely, usually via wheelchair. Call ahead and make sure that this service is available and make a reservation if needed to ensure that your friend or relative can easily be moved from the car to his/her cabin or from the ticket counter onto the plane. Many companies make it a priority to allow seniors and families with children to board first, giving them plenty of time to settle in before letting in the rest of the public. Take advantage of these services to make sure that your travelling is as problem-free as possible.
Travelling with an elderly person doesn’t have to be a major crisis if you plan ahead and make sure to know as much as possible about your options. With more and more of the population aging gracefully many companies are developing more policies to make everyone’s life easier. Why not check out your options and think about taking that trip around the world that your grandmother always wanted to?