Would I Be a Good Air Travel Companion for Senior Travelers?
Many seniors have family in other countries that they want to visit, but would be more comfortable and feel less stress if there was someone to assist them. For some seniors, an air travel companion provides security and entertainment during a long trip. Note: An air travel companion does not provide skilled medical care, first aid, or toileting care.
If you have the following qualifications, you might be a good air travel companion for seniors needing minor assistance with TripCompanion:
- Enjoy helping people, especially seniors
- Travel for work or pleasure
- (Desired) Speak the same language/have the same cultural background as the traveler
As an air travel companion, you might be expected to do these types of tasks:
- Assist the traveler with remembering the trip details and telling them the order of activities before and during the flight. People with minor memory problems can benefit from knowing and hearing the schedule a few times.
- For example, the traveler might have some memory problems and forget where he put his passport. You might ask the traveler to show you his passport and then to put it in a safe place. You have to remember where he put it in case he cannot remember later. Do not take possession of the traveler’s papers or passport.
- Translate or simplify instructions for the traveler.
- If you notice that your companion is not drinking, remind him or her to drink enough water and to do exercises when sitting for long periods.
- Make small talk or help the traveler start an entertainment device.
- Escort the traveler to the bathroom and tell them how to lock the door or how to make the water in the sink drain.
- If your flight experiences turbulence, you can explain that this is normal and help the traveler safely put away anything that might spill or get lost.
- Help them stow a carry-on bag (only if you are able to do so, and you agreed with the traveler and family that you would help in this way).
- Make sure that the traveler left nothing behind on the plane. Check the seat pockets and under the seat in front of and behind them!
(Note: For other seniors who have health or mental impairments, a trained travel companion is important not only for companionship but for the safety and comfort of the traveler. If that is your interest, you should reach out to agencies that provide travel companions who have specialized skills in skilled nursing and behavior management.)
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