17 Mar Fly Safely With Senior Transitions
Boarding a flight today is complex– long security lines and two hour check-ins. It’s a challenging atmosphere for people with early stage dementia or major health problems, explained Senior Transitions owner, Gale Wald. Wald, an RN and practicing flight attendant, provides travel companionship and trip coordination services to seniors and their families. “You don’t have to do this alone,” she says with confident assurance.
Her company, Senior Transitions, is based in the Pacific Northwest. Her services provide door to door flight companionship which may also include aspects of trip planning: ticket purchase, food, transportation, health clearance, luggage check-in, or travel insurance. Travel companions are skilled at managing in-air emergencies or troubleshooting flight delays and cancellations. Air Travel companions arrange quick trips through TSA security and know how to bypass pat downs. Awaiting families or friends receive trip updates as desired. “With detailed sensitivity to personal needs such as frequent toileting, help through confusing customs and security checks, lunch at the favourite spot, always mindful of his physical stamina and comfort, Gale has facilitated the ‘quality of life choice to travel’ for my father,” writes one of Senior Transition’s satisfied clients.
Wald conceived of her travel companion business after noticing the difficulties some elder customers experienced in flight. Diabetics, recent stroke victims and people on certain medications may not realize the dangers that can arise in travel. People with mild memory loss may be confused or experience difficulty locating resources. Wald pairs her experience in air travel with years in geriatrics nursing to bring a unique skillset to the travel companion field. Through her insights her company’s travel companions can ensure simpler and smoother travel experiences for elder clients.
To help elders better navigate the skies, Wald offers a free booklet: 7 Expert Tips for Safe and Hassle-Free Senior Air Travel. Through this blog she’s also sharing two free tips for all travelers:
(A) Don’t buy tickets through a third party…..Have you tried to cancel or change anything lately? It can be a very frustrating experience to cancel, modify, or rebook an airline reservation when your trip was booked through a third party. And, if a refund is agreed to, it could take until next Christmas to go back on your card. Not only that, there may be fees attached to any changes. After the third party reservation is made, you can often go directly to the airline you are flying on to make changes but that too can sometimes be a hassle as well with large fees to reschedule etc.
(B). Pick early dates ……It’s all about the early bird getting the word. Or, there is a term I have gleaned from several travel sites called, the “shoulder season”, the time between high and low season, usually from October through April when airfares are at their lowest, as well as hotel or bed/breakfast rooms. Museums and Art Gallery lines are shorter and restaurant menu prices seem to have dropped.
We’re still in the “shoulder season” when airfares are low and hotel rates are more affordable. It’s an excellent time to travel. As blogger Val Grubb tells us, traveling with our parents requires thorough trip planning. Consider making it easier for you or your parent by exploring the services of a travel companion.
With special thanks to Gale Wald for help compiling this blog. Watch for her upcoming book on air travel! Contact Senior Transitions.