Posted: January 1, 2014

Ready to visit family or slip away for a vacation? When you’re a caregiver, you have much more to consider than what goes into your own suitcase. Air travel with your elderly parent or loved one can pose a few more challenges. Here are a few tips for making that travel time the best it can be.

Talk to the Doctor
This is the best place to start when beginning your travel plans. Ask if a check up is advised to make sure your loved one is healthy enough to travel.

Plan For Low Stress
Boarding and re-boarding an airplane can be some of the most stressful travel times for an elderly person. Plan an itinerary with as few layovers as possible. You may pay slightly more for direct flights, but it will be worth your money.

Make Special Requests When Booking Your Reservation
Some common requests? Expedited boarding, seating options, wheelchair reservation. Check to see if you need proof of medical conditions to receive any of these services – you don’t want to find out when you arrive at the gate that you needed extra documentation.

Aisle seating is often preferable because it’s easier to maneuver; you’ll also want to check on the availability and cost of being seated in an area with extra leg room. Most airlines now add a surcharge for these coveted spots, but it may be worth the investment in the extra space it provides for you and your loved one.

This is the best time to ask for a wheelchair. Even if your loved one doesn’t typically use a wheelchair, it can be helpful when you have to navigate long airport corridors, or when you’re in a rush and carrying baggage. Some airports also provide electric carts to help passengers get to their gates.

Keep Prescriptions Accessible
Always back medicines in your carry on bags. It’s then easily accessible when you land and – in those rare occasions when the airline loses luggage – you’ll have the essentials with you at all times.

Drink Plenty of Liquids
The low humifity on planes cane lead to dehydration; combat this by drinking plenty of water before, during and after the flight. It’s also best to avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages as these tend to further dehydrate you. Wear loose clothing and slip on shoes to make your body evenmore comfortable during flight.

Stay Back
Once you land, it’s a good idea to hang back and let other passengers exit before you. This will prevent your loved one from being jostled around by other passengers in a hurry. It also gives you time to calmly collect all of your belongings.

Resource: Read more from JetBLue Airlines