Monday February 19, 2018
Services That Can Help Seniors with the Rigors of Travel
Traveling can be daunting under the best circumstances, but for elderly seniors, those with disabilities or those recovering from an illness or injury, it can seem particularly overwhelming and unmanageable. Fortunately, there are a number of companies that provide travel companions to assist these individuals with the rigors of travel.
Whether the individual needing assistance is someone who has a physical disability and wants to go on a vacation or is a grandparent who wants to attend a family member's wedding or graduation, travel companions help their clients move through airports, manage luggage, navigate busy terminals and hotel lobbies and much more.
Some companion services even provide personal care like medication reminders, dressing, bathing and feeding. Additionally, there are also traveling nursing services for those with specific medical needs.
Be aware that these services aren't cheap. You will pay for the travel companion's tickets, a fee for the services and, if necessary, the companion's hotel room, meals and incidentals. The price to accompany a client on a plane trip within the United States - including the companion fees and travel costs for all parties - can range anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 or more for coach airfare. Business or first class would cost more.
To locate a travel companion service in your area, search online for "senior travel companion" or "senior travel escort," followed by the appropriate city or state. Another option is to use an experienced national service, like Flying Companions (FlyingCompanions.com) or FirstLight Home Care (FirstLightHomeCare.com), which operates a national network of franchises that provide in-home care for seniors and offers travel companion programs in about one-third of its 130 franchises.
If a medical travel companion is needed, you can search online for "traveling nurse companion" or "medical travel companion," or checkout Travel Care & Logistics (YourFlightNurse.com), which provides registered nurses who provide travel assistance.
If, however, the individual does not require a lot of assistance, or cannot afford a travel companion, consider asking a trusted family member or friend who has air travel experience to accompany the individual on his or her trip.
Questions to Ask
If you're interested in hiring a travel companion service, there are a number of things you need to check into to ensure you get the right travel companion.
First, if personal or medical care is required while traveling, find out if the travel companion is trained to manage healthcare needs. Ask what type of medical certifications he or she has (e.g., nursing credentials, C.P.R. training, etc.).
Next, you will want to find out how many trips the companion has taken with clients. Has he or she completed trips with similar clients/travelers? How long has the travel service company been in business? What is the company's safety record? What type of insurance does it carry and what/who does it cover?
Also, ask for a quote that breaks down exactly what you'll be required to pay, in addition to the companion's fees. Lastly, request a list of two or three clients/references who have used the service and call them to find out if they would recommend the service.
Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.