Far Away on Father’s Day: Tips to Lessen the Trials of Travel for Old and Not-so-Old

Traveling many miles comfortably is hard work, especially for aging parents. That said, adult children coming to visit makes most Dads happy and proud. Is there a better Father’s Day Gift?

DSCN0789Gone are the days of short walks to the boarding gate, and a feeling of relaxation and security when most adults stepped onto an airplane. It  was the norm in the 20th century.

As Father’s day approaches I’m thinking how much my Dad loved when I returned to my childhood home where he and Mom still lived. That was pre-9/11. I’m also thinking about Sr. Advisor R’s flying “alone” back to NY three years ago for our anniversary–at age 98–and about the enormous effort it must have been.

First–Re: Air Travel

Equipped with TSA PreCheck* to ease TSA’s screening, and my fit-into-the-overhead case and under-seat-size soft-sided case, I embarked on an 8-day trip to the NW with my husband and returned to NYC last night.

Shortly before leaving NYC a friend, hearing how happy I was to have TSA precheck and how unhappy I was about needing to navigate my carry-on through seemingly miles of airport corridors, suggested a wheelchair. “I use them sometimes, when I’ve got a lot of stuff and don’t want to wear myself out before even getting on the plane,” she (not yet a “senior”) said. If Dad wouldn’t consider using a wheel chair until he was in his 90’s. why would I at a much younger age?

Is it pride—or stupidity? I wondered to myself. IMG_4167 With so many elderly parents living far from theirIMG_4169 adult children, Father’s Day, as well as other holidays and milestone events, necessitates travel if families want to be together.

Not knowing the answer to the specific question above, and because this

will be too long, this coming Saturday’s post offers strategies to ease the situation: current TSA information to make air travel more user-friendly and suggestions to help aging parents and elders we care about. In short, order wheel chairs ahead of time and go online to sign up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. Details to follow.

*November 2015. 5 months and many cross-country flight later I–and friends–have found in some airports that the TSA PreCheck lines are as long as the regular lines and some terminals offering PreCheck still require the same inconvenient screening of non-PreCheck. That said, PreCheck is usually preferable, but don’t get stuck in a long PreCheck line if you can see a shorter one is available and you don’t mind the inconvenience of taking out your laptops, liquids, removing shoes etc.

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