Tips for Safe and Healthy Travel with Seniors

senior-couple-on-vacationWhen you have a full understanding of the travel benefits seniors can take advantage of, you will find that all you need is a bit of preparation to plan a worry and stress free, enjoyable travel for the elderly.

Face it; today, travel is a lot more complex than it is was ten or 20 years ago. In fact, it is getting more and more complex all the time: Especially if the travel involves airport terminals and flying. There are so many regulations and security issues with airports that the act of traveling is becoming a lot more frustrating and tiresome – this is especially true for today’s traveling seniors, and even more so for those dealing with one or more disabilities.

Thankfully, the Federal Aviation Administration has made a serious effort to make traveling a bit easier for seniors, particularly the disabled elderly. If you keep the following tips in mind you can take full advantage of such traveling conveniences:

  • Special Boarding Assistance for the Elderly: If a senior is disabled or needs extra boarding assistance, the senior can get on the plane before other passengers through a process called priority boarding. Additional benefits include the fact that the passenger can request an airport staff escort so they can have assistance getting to their seat, and putting bags away.
  • Elderly and Security Restrictions: The Transportation Security Administration has changed security-checking processes to make things a bit easier on the elderly. Those who are 75 years of age or older can wear a light jacket and can keep on their shoes when going through a security check. Those passengers who are in a wheelchair will go through a different type of screening. Important note: If the elderly has a pacemaker or another medical device, he should ask security for a pat-down check instead of going through the airport scanner.
  • Elderly Airport Assistance: The elderly can get help the minute they enter the airport and can have help right through the boarding process. A visit to the check in desk is all it takes to get someone to help him or her get to the gate. The elderly can request a wheelchair or a ride on cart for transport through the terminal. The elderly can also ask for help at security and this may even mean they deal with a shorter line.
  • Medications and Traveling: When the senior is on medication it is important to talk to the doctor to find out how such medications should be handled during travel. For instance, the senior might need additional medications on top of what he is already taking. When one travels, it may be necessary to take medicine for altitude sickness, malaria, or diarrhea. The senior will need to discuss any potential interactions with regular medications. The senior will also need to make sure enough medication is packed to last the duration of the trip; in fact, it might be wise to pack enough for a couple of days extra just in case something changes one’s initial travel plans.
  • Vaccinations before Traveling: The senior should definitely see a physician before traveling. A full physical is ideal. The senior will need to be current on all vaccinations, including MMR – measles, mumps, and rubella, and it is a good idea to get a flu shot. If the senior has not had a tetanus booster in a long time, it is recommended that they do so before traveling. Depending on where one is traveling, the senior might also need to get shots for yellow fever, polio, typhoid, and hepatitis.
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