A little extra care needs to be taken when traveling with an older person. Lets start at the beginning—the airport. There are hordes of people who are often in a rush, luggage being pulled any which way, slippery floors, moving sidewalks, and any number of other issues. Plus your parent may be worrying about the flight, the physical discomfort of being seated for a long time in altitude, possible jet lag, and if they’ve forgotten anything. Request a wheelchair if your elderly parent has issues walking or with their balance. It’s a simple thing you can do to keep them safe.

My mom has had a couple of falls in airports. One time she sustained a small elbow fracture. The other time led to what I like to call one of her “MacGyver moments.” While waiting for the paramedics to bandage her up, she did the next best thing. She got a hold of a panty liner and slapped it on her bleeding arm. Voila! How she thinks of this stuff, I don’t know. She certainly is more ingenious than I am.

You can request a wheelchair when you make your reservation. All airlines offer this service. When you arrive at the airport, just tell an airline representative that you’ve reserved a wheelchair.

One note to wheelchair use, stay in it! Yes, mom learned this one the hard way. She was traveling with a friend. They were cruising along in their wheelchairs when her friend wanted to have a sit-down lunch. Of course, the attendants pushing the wheelchairs couldn’t just hang out waiting, so mom and her friend said they’d be okay walking the rest of the way. Sure enough, when getting off a moving sidewalk—BAM—mom was down. She was trying to grab her carry-on bags that were balanced on the handrail, and she tripped. Thankfully, she’s promised not to abandon her wheelchair again.

I’m also grateful to the wheelchair attendants who always take such good care of mom. Each person has always been kind, patient, and helpful. Remember to bring some cash to give them a tip.



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