How to Navigate Air Travel with an Elderly Parent

Wondering how to fly your elderly parent to a wedding, reunion or vacation? Of course, air travel is the way to go but you may feel like it would be too much hassle to fly with an elderly person. The truth is that while air travel with your elderly parent will take some planning and extra effort, there’s no reason to avoid it. Air travel brings up some unique challenges in elderly care, but with these tips, you’ll be able to navigate air travel with an aging parent and get you both to your destination.

Elderly Care in Highland Park IL: Navigating Air Travel

Elderly Care in Highland Park IL: Navigating Air Travel

Tips on Booking the Flight.

When you are booking the flight, you can make all kinds of requests when you call to inquire about senior and disability features. Examples include booking the bulkhead seats that have more leg room, or getting seats close to the restroom, on the aisle or at the front of the plane. You should book flights in the morning or mid-day when your elderly parent is feeling their best. Often, seniors grow tired as the day goes on, making air travel more challenging.

Make arrangements for airport assistance, such as wheelchairs and an attendant to help your elderly parent from check-in to the gate, or from gate to gate if you are transferring planes. You can inquire about what you need to do about any medical equipment, like oxygen tanks or service animals, too. You’ll also need medical forms for certain liquid medicines, any metal in their bodies that may set off security alarms and more.

Preparing to Fly.

Get a medical clearance from their doctor that they are healthy enough to fly and get any paperwork needed by the airline. Dress them in comfortable and loose clothing, and make sure they drink plenty of water before departure. This will keep them hydrated during the flight. Bring all essential medication in your carry-on bag just in case checked baggage is delayed or worse, lost.

When at the airport, get as much assistance as you can. Many airlines have employees that can help elderly people with checking in and getting to the gate, besides general help for those with disabilities. Seniors who are older than 75 years old don’t have to remove their shoes or jackets at security checkpoints. Sometimes, there are designated lines for those in wheelchairs or who are disabled, so ask about that when checking in.

Of course, take advantage of any pre-boarding options the airline has for their elderly passengers. It’s nice to have a little extra time to help them get settled in their seat before everyone else does. It’s the same with getting off the plane—just wait until everyone else is gone so you can take your time.

Navigating air travel and all its many challenges can be tricky for family caregivers who are concerned about providing the same high level of elderly care they give at home. However, there are plenty of tools in place to help seniors travel, so if you are thinking about a trip, don’t let a senior companion discourage you from making it.

If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Highland Park, IL, contact the caring staff at Companion Services of America today at (847) 943-3786. Our home care service area includes Northbrook, Highland Park, Deerfield, Glenview, Buffalo Grove, Evanston, Des Plaines, Skokie, Lake Forest, Wilmette and the surrounding areas.



Jamie Shapiro

Jamie Shapiro, founder of Companion Services of America, LLC received a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago. Jamie started her career in psychiatric social work at Northwestern University Institute of Psychiatry. Later, she went on to become the Director of Social Services at Belmont Community Hospital where she developed discharge planning procedures to assist staff in identifying potential patients requiring intervention.

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