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By Leonard J. Hansen
5. Think about Safety, Security and Comfort
There are thieves everywhere and, particularly, in high-traffic travel centers. Don't give the scalawags any opportunity to steal from your parent.
Mom should not carry a purse but, instead a money belt worn under a blouse or a neat Passage Wallet hidden under her coat by a neck cord. Dad should not carry a wallet in his back pocket but, instead, the same Passage Wallet from the neck cord or as a hidden wallet tucked into his pants and secured by a cord to his belt.
Advise Mom or Dad, if traveling alone, always to keep their carry-on between their feet when standing, or with the shoulder strap looped around the leg of a chair when seated.
For comfort, consider the purchase of a travel pillow, a c-shaped balloon that supports the neck and head when resting aboard transportation.
6. Arrange Medication Management
Most mature adults take five or more medications once or even several times a day. The transportation staff has no obligation regarding the medical dosing of your parent. But you can ask in advance that at a specified time (stated in local time), the staff remind Mom or Dad to take the medication. The alternative is to provide your parent with an alarm watch.
7. Plan for Security Checkpoints
If Mom or Dad is in a wheelchair at transportation centers, access to and through TSA (transportation security administration) security may actually be quicker than through the long line of other travelers.
Brief your parent (or state to the TSA, if you are traveling together) about any medical condition that would set off alarms, such as surgical hip and knee implants. To avoid unwanted delays, get a physician's statement about the implanted steel and make sure the senior has that documentation with them. Oftentimes, personnel will ask the elder to step aside and perform a wand screening, rather than passing through the sensors. If your parent is in a wheelchair, security will use a wand while he or she is seated.
Dress your parent in easily-removed (but safe) walking shoes. Security will probably want them removed. Present, if pertinent, any physician statement regarding your Mom or Dad's medical condition or limitation.
Before traveling, explain to Mom or Dad that the security process is vital to her or his safety.