How to Travel With A Guide Dog

How to Travel With A Guide Dog

For those who need to travel with a guide dog, getting through the airport and boarding a plane can seem a daunting task. However, there are animal airport disability assistance services available that can help you through the experience, as well as personnel at the airport who are trained to support those with a guide dog.

In the modern world, the need to travel with a guide dog should not keep people from taking a trip they need or want to take. Keep the following steps in mind to ensure that your trip goes well.

Plan Ahead

Organizations such as the Guide Dog Foundation, Inc. will provide demonstrations and practices of what to expect at airport security, so you and your guide dog are fully prepared and confident during the real thing. If you contact TSA Cares 72 hours before a flight, they will also provide you with information on what to expect. TSA Cares can also coordinate a passenger support specialist to help you through the airport.

Picking a Good Day

Early morning flights are often best because they experience the fewest delays. Traveling on Friday can present more challenges as that is most often the busiest day at an airport. Saturdays are usually the lightest day for travel.

Packing for Your Trip

Remember to put your travel-sized liquids in a quart-sized bag, and make sure any electronics larger than a cell phone are easily accessible so you can remove them during screening. Liquids over 3.4 ounces are not allowed through airport security, unless said liquid is medically necessary, though you will have to declare this to the TSA agents at the screening for inspection.

Pack For Your Guide Dog

Make sure to pack a small emergency-size kit for your guide dog. This should include items such as medicine for an upset stomach, hand wipes and paper towels.

Mapping Out the Airports

When you travel with a guide dog, look up the airports you are going to be in to find the pet-friendly, animal airport areas where you can sit and wait in case there is a flight delay. The website Pet-Friendly Travels provides such a list. Also look for the location of bathrooms, places where you can water or other items, etc.

Packing Dog Meals

Make sure to pack pre-measured meals for your guide dog. They are not prohibited and can be put into resealable plastic bags in your luggage. Make sure to bring a small amount of food and whatever treats are appropriate for your dog in the case of lengthy delays at the airport or on the plane. 

Reserve a Seat

Contact the airline at least one day before departure – the earlier, the better – to secure the seat you need for you and your guide dog. Some prefer to sit against the bulkhead. Airlines that do not allow you to purchase a seat location in advance will allow you to pre-board before the other passengers. Dogs can sit anywhere, as long as no part of their body is in the aisle. In some cases, you may have to ask a fellow traveler to share some of their foot space with your dog – an airline representative can help you in this situation.

Going Through Screening

There is no point during screening at which you will be separated from your guide dog or required to remove your dog’s harness and leash, though your dog may have to go through additional screening if you leave these items on. You will have to remove your jacket, belt, and shoes (unless you have TSA Pre-Check). If you are unable to do so, you will go through additional screening. You may also have to walk through a metal detector or receive a pat-down.

Pat-Down Checks

The pat-down will always be conducted by an officer of the same gender as your present, and they will walk you through the process beforehand. They will ask for permission before touching your guide dog, and you can always request a private screening with a companion of your choice or ask that the officer use a new pair of gloves.

Advocate and Ask for Help

Do not hesitate to ask airport workers, airplane personnel and even fellow passengers for assistance, if needed. Under federal law, airports and airlines must provide accommodations for those with disabilities. And fellow passengers are often far more helpful than you might expect! Also, ask to speak with an airline representative who is designated to work with those who have disabilities if you run into any difficulties anywhere along the process. These are some tips to review before you travel with a guide dog. With the help of those at the airport and your own preparation, it’s a process that can and should go smoothly as the world gets better at supporting those who are differently abled.

Navigating the Challenges of Senior Care: Tips for Adult Children

Navigating the Challenges of Senior Care: Tips for Adult Children

Senior care

We live in the age of the “silver tsunami.” In the United States and many other developed countries around the world, the population is rapidly aging, a development that will impact everything from workplaces to healthcare services. It also means more adult children than ever face managing senior care for their aging parents.

The term “senior care” can mean different things to different people. As they age, seniors face a host of issues that can make their golden years more difficult. They include chronic health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and dementia. Many also experience reduced mobility and coordination that can impact them in a variety of ways, including placing limits on what they can do with daily activities as well as traveling (including the travel needed to relocate to another home).

Adult children can get as stressed as the seniors themselves in trying to solve these issues. But taking advantage of certain services and putting some smart tips into action can help resolve many senior care issues.

Ways Adult Children Can Meet the Challenges of Senior Care

The following provides an overview of some of the ways adult children can manage the challenges of senior care for their aging parents. Adult children who find themselves in this situation are certainly not alone. Data from the federal government shows that Americans 65 years old and up represented 16% of the population in 2019, but will make up 21.6% of the population by 2040.

Know Their Needs

The first step in meeting the challenges of providing senior care involves assessing the needs of the people involved. Seniors can experience a wide variety of health-related issues, but also may have financial issues or even experience loneliness. Whatever the case, an open and honest conversation about their needs and expectations is a good place to start. Adult children should have a detailed understanding of any issues their parents face, as well as medications they take and health services they require. This requires the parents’ input and feedback.

Make a Plan

A care plan should cover all the areas where seniors may need help. This can include many activities, ranging from regular medical care (such as sessions with a physical therapist) and help with household chores to having a travel companion during any trip they take or assistance in relocating to a new home that better suits their needs. Adult children should not leave out issues such as social engagement and daily activities that help seniors maintain their health (both mental and physical).

Delegating Responsibilities

Many tasks might fall to family members, such as helping with household chores or making runs to the grocery store. It’s important to delegate these responsibilities as evenly as possible among family to avoid creating caregiver stress. Over long periods of time, caregiver stress can lead to worse problems for the adult child who act as caregivers, including burnout and even depression.

Bring in Professionals

Having a good primary care physician is important, but professionals can provide invaluable assistance in many other areas of senior care. This includes services such as cleaning, grocery delivery, and flight nursing for trips or medical services. RN flight coordinators can also help with trip booking and special accommodations. Additionally, the Aging Life Care Association (ALCA) offers Aging Life Care Managers who are trained to assess seniors’ needs, create personalized care plans, coordinate services, and advocate for their well-being. ALCA professionals can be a valuable resource for adult children navigating the complexities of senior care and feeling overwhelmed.

Having a good primary care physician is, of course, a central part of a care plan. But professionals can provide the best levels of senior care in many other areas. This includes almost every facet of senior care. For example, a cleaning service can help families better manage their aging parents’ home. Grocery delivery can cut down on how much the seniors have to drive. And flight nurses can accompany seniors on trips to family get-togethers, vacations or for medical services in other areas. RN flight coordinators can also book trips and arrange any special accommodations for seniors in advance. 

Find Community Resources

In addition to professional services, adult children should also search for community services that can help them better manage senior care. This includes senior centers, meal delivery services if necessary, and free transportation services (such as transport to doctor’s appointments). These free community services solve two issues at once: they provide better services to seniors while also taking some of the burden off family caregivers.

Practice Self-Care

Meeting the challenges of senior care for aging parents can become both physically and emotionally draining. Adult children can help both themselves and their aging parents by practicing self-care. That can include taking breaks, finding time each day to spend on something the caregiver enjoys, getting support from other family members, and joining an online or in-person caregiver support group.

These are just some of the tips that can help adult children better meet the challenges of senior care for their aging parents. By planning and taking some smart steps, adult children can help their parents better enjoy their golden years.



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