At Care is There Geriatric Care Management we often help our clients prepare for airline travel. If your loved one has memory loss, mobility limitations, hearing loss, visual limitations or other concerns, travel can seem stressful or even out of the question. But with special attention, your loved one can travel successfully. Here are some tips:
- Special TSA Security Screening for Passengers 75 and Older - Passengers 75 and older are not required to remove their shoes and light jacket at the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) checkpoint, and they are allowed an extra pass through Advanced Imaging Technology devices. More details are available on the TSA Website.
- Special TSA Security Screening for Passengers with Disabilities - The TSA has special screening procedures for people with disabilities, which are explained at this link. Travelers requiring special accommodations or concerned about the security screening process at the airport may ask a TSA officer or supervisor for a passenger support specialist who can provide on-the-spot assistance.
- "Please be Patient" Card - Care is There produces a small card which reads "Please Be Patient....The person with me has memory loss and may require a few extra moments. Thank you for understanding." You can also make your own cards with a customized message and print them at home on business card paper from your local office supply store.
- Special Assistance from Airlines - Airlines offer special assistance for people with disabilities or those who need to travel with medical equipment. Discuss your loved one's needs when booking their ticket, and contact your airline several days in advance of travel to arrange for special services. See these pages for instructions from major airlines:
- Gate Passes Allow You to Escort Your Loved One - If you are not traveling with your loved one and need to accompany them through the security checkpoint to the gate, obtain a gate pass from your airline ticket counter when you check them in and present it to the TSA security officer. Allow extra time for this process since ticket agents and TSA officers may not be familiar with the process and the gate pass may trigger secondary security checks for you and your loved one. If you are using a gate pass, remember not to bring to the airport any items such as liquids, pocket knives, etc. which will complicate your own security screening.
- Medications - Don't put medications in checked luggage, in case that luggage gets lost. TSA allows medications in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces to be carried on the plane, and the medications don’t have to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint, as TSA officers may need to open them for additional screening. Be aware of all the TSA regulations for carrying medication on the plane.
- Reduce Confusion by Checking Luggage through to the final destination - if your loved one is traveling on a small plane, rollaboard bags will have to be gate-checked and retrieved planeside. This may confuse your loved one and lead to lost luggage. Consider checking bags all the way through to the destination, and pay for baggage charges when you book your ticket to avoid extra steps and decisions during check-in.
- Senior Citizen Discounts - some airlines offer discounts for senior citizens. See more information here.
- Professional Accompaniment - At Care is There Geriatric Care Management, we travel with our clients at their request. Some companion agencies or specialty providers may also provide staff people to travel with your loved one.
- Medical Transport Services - if your loved one is seriously ill, consider a medical transport company specializing in this type of service.
Health Insurance Coverage While Out of the Country
According to Medicare.gov:
- In general, Medicare won’t pay for health care services or supplies if you travel outside the U.S. (except in these rare cases).
- Here are 3 ways you can get health coverage outside the U.S.:
- If you have a Medigap policy, check your policy to see if it includes coverage when traveling outside the U.S.
- If you have another Medicare health plan instead of Original Medicare — Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance) — check with your plan to see if they offer coverage outside the U.S.
- Purchase a travel insurance policy that includes health coverage.
Find out more at Medicare.gov. Safe travels!
Need help assisting your loved one with travel?
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