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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tips for Traveling with Disease or Disability

Being diagnosed with an illness or having a disability does not have to mean travel is out of the question. With a few tips and a little research, your travel experience can be with less worry and more enjoyment.
Here's a few tips:
  • Carry your contact information for your physician, case manager, primary contact person and/or caregivers (even if your caregiver is travelling with you). For those with memory impairment, it's imperative to have identifying  information with the person in case of any unforeseen separation.
  • Your medications: Have a list of all medications with their scheduled routine and what they are for. Arrange medications in a travel pill box organizer for the duration of the trip. If you are going to be away from your residence for longer than 30 days, you may be able to have your medications waiting for you at your final destination. This works well for national pharmacies that have locations throughout the U.S. 
  • If travelling by air: Carry all medications in carry-on luggage, including liquids or gels. If you have any liquids or gels, the most simple way to get through security without delay is to only take the amount allowed by TSA. Since 3oz doesn't go very far, you are able to take along your liquid and/or gel medication but it might delay your transit through security. Best advice: Put all liquid/gel medication together in a plastic zip-closure bag. Ideally, the original bottles or containers will be used with the labels clearly visible. Have your doctor write a note stating medical necessity and provide this at the time you are declaring your liquids to security.
  • Medical equipment can often be rented from an equipment company or borrowed from a loan closet at your destination. Some calling ahead to the local state agency on aging or medical equipment store will help guide you to availability and costs. If taking your equipment along, such as wheelchairs or walkers, make sure to label each item with your contact information in case they get misplaced.
  • Oxygen can be arranged ahead of time to be waiting for you at your final destination. This takes some coordination but allows the person to travel with only a portable device. Remember to call the airline you are travelling with to find out which devices are approved for airline travel. This must be done several weeks in advance.
  • Do a little research if you are traveling with Parkinson's or Alzheimer's. There are a lot of tips out there from caregivers who have found ways to be creative and get the most out of their trip. For example, having portable puck-style lights can be helpful for nighttime use and bathroom safety: Use them to guide the path to the bathroom. Stick to routines and take frequent breaks.
Travel may be just what is needed for a break from the ordinary!

Eagleview West helps caregivers and patients who are relocating or traveling. Door-to-door service is provided through coordination & collaboration. www.EagleviewWest.com

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