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I have written for information and advice before. We were going to move into an apt. that our daughter and son-in-law would build over their garage. We were advised against that and our daughter took your advice. Our daughter and her husband purchased a home with a legal Accessory Dwelling Unit in the back yard. It is perfect for us. Being in LA will give us a much quicker access to medical assistance and many other family services. Being closer to our daughter, son-in-law and grandchild is going to be wonderful.
My question is how to prepare for the flight to LA from Co. We will be flying to LA sometime in January. We have flown many times before but we have stopped driving to LA because it is a 3 day trip. We have not flown for the past 2 years. We have always loved the drive but I am not sure my wife would be up for that anymore.
I would like to know how to make the flight easier and more comfortable for my wife. It would be a 6 or 7 hour very busy day (noisy, crowded, confusing) as opposed to three long days on the road. My daughter or our sons wife have offered to fly with us to help my wife with the facilities in the airport and/or on the plane (the last time we flew my wife went to the bathroom in DIA and I waited at the door and heard her calling my name, Ed, over and over. I asked a woman if she could go and get my wife and she said she would but then my wife came out helped by another woman. They were great people, very compassionate and understanding.
I would get plane tickets for the early morning, preferably on the least busiest day (if there even is such a thing). My wife gets very tired by the late afternoon and shows more signs of sundowners syndrome, anxiety and confusion.
Should I even think of some sort of pre-flight anxiety medication that I could probably get from our doctor. What about wearing something like Depends, Tena Intimates or the like. She does not need anything like that at present but might it make the flight easier for her and for me. I have thought about noise cancelling earphones or an iPad and ear plugs with some of her favorite (Maury, Steve Wilcos, etc.)TV shows or especially DVD's of music concerts (the Eagles, Elton John, John Lennons 75th birthday celebration, etc.). She does love the music of our lives (the 50's, 60's, 70's). Movies don't work because she can no longer follow a plot line or understand what the movie is all about.
My wife has been diagnosed with AD for 5 years but we knew that she had a problem for several years before that diagnosis (we thought it was senioritis but expected worse eventually). I have been looking at several sites that give the 7 stages of AD. I don't find them very helpful because while I would say she is in stage 5/6, she exhibits signs from all 7 stages.
This will be our last move (I am 81 and my wife is 76) and last trip and I am hoping to make it as smooth and as comfortable for my wife as possible. I know that many others have experienced this before and I am sure that I will receive many well thought out responses. I expect that I have not even thought of some of the cares and considerations that should be addressed. Any advice or suggestions that you can give will be greatly appreciated.
As my father used to say during the last 2 years of his terminal illness "growing old is not for sissies". I agree.
Thank you for any help and advice you my give me.
Sincerely,
Ed

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phaT1paTch, I greatly admire your loving devotion to your wife, your curiosity, flexibility and humility! So happy to hear of your upcoming living arrangements near your family. My mom (90) lives next door to me, and my 3 sons grew up running next door to Nonna's house for treats, tv, boardgames and hugs. Now her great grandson does the same. And now my boys are young adults and will help her with special tasks when she needs it. She will still make pancakes for them if they're visiting. Two of my sons are taking her down to FL during next spring break to surf fish, and visit her older sisters (97 and 100) and various other relatives. May you two have many years of joy and good health in your new digs together!
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Reply to Geaton777
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You have received lots of good advice. Wishing you and your wife the very best. I am glad that you will have someone to help you during your traveling.

Enjoy your grandkids in Colorado! The Rockies are spectacular.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Ed, could you possibly fly into Burbank or another smaller airport in California?

LAX is a nightmare at best. I never flew in to that airport, unless I was headed to Hawaii and then I HAD too.

Cali, can you give a list of smaller airports?
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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worriedinCali Nov 13, 2019
John Wayne airport which is in Orange County, it’s nice and smaller than LAX but still busy. I would recommend the OP fly in to John Wayne over LAX. It will be less stressful considering the situation with his wife. We’ve had connecting flights out of LAX and everything went smoothly but I think it’s because we were taking small
planws to and from our regional airport.
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May God Bless You & Your Wife during your trip to your new home 🙏...My heart goes out to you...My 60 year old brother and I have been full-time caretakers for my elderly parents for the past 5 years...my Army Veteran Dad suffered and fought bladder cancer for 4 + years and sadly passed away three days before Christmas in 2018 and 9 days before my parents 62 wedding anniversary that would have been on December 31st. My Mom has been suffering with Dementia for almost 4 years now and I always try to distract her with pictures of her great grandchildren on my phone and we talk about her early years growing up in Germany...this seems to calm her .....maybe purchase a diaper like bag for extra incontinence products...baby wipes, small disposal bags for soiled items you can buy on Amazon...they are blue and I believe called Sassy disposable bags...I always carry a roll on lavender scent roll on to calm Mom and maybe a couple disposable zip-lock bags...My dear husband is now facing a dementia diagnosis with his widowed 90 year retired Air Force Dad....so we pray and do the very best for our loved ones. My youngest son moved to Colorado 4 years ago because of his deep love for the outdoors and mountains....🏔...you are blessed to have a wonderful son to help you with the sale of your home and daughter and son-in-law that have made accommodations for your new life in California...we also bought my Mom a transport wheel chair from the Golden Violin catalog..maybe worth purchasing your own wheelchair for the flight...God Bless You for your caretaking journey...Deb in Omaha 🙏
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Isthisrealyreal Nov 13, 2019
God bless you and your family Deb.
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You need to contact the airport about wheelchair assistance. In my experience, it’s NOT the airline that provides the wheelchair and assistance. The airline gets them off the plane and the wheelchair is brought over by the airport staff.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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Hello Everyone,
I knew I would get wonderful, helpful, caring and compassionate responses to my questions.
I will certainly get a wheelchair for her both at the DIA airport and at LAX . I am going to start calling some airlines today to get some information about wheelchairs, lines at security check in and how they would respond to my wife. My wife can get out of the wheelchair to walk through the inspection machine. We will not be carrying any luggage except for what my wife will need on the flight. I know that airlines are suspicious of people with one way tickets and no luggage.
Whatever we need in CA will be shipped to us or driven out to our new home by our son and/or son-in-law. Our son will be handling the sale of our home in CO (he only lives 3 miles from us). I can't imagine that it will be sold until sometime in the early spring (I hope). We live in the mountains and already have had 2 feet of snow. I used to love snow, skiing, sledding, shoveling, snow blowing, whatever, but no longer. We will be glad to live in So. California with a 12 month growing season.
So I thank everyone who has responded to my query. You are all wonderful people.
Sincerely,
Ed
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Reply to phaT1paTch
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Xanax, Depends and plenty of her favorite snacks in addition to the music you mentioned should make the trip go quickly and smoothly. It'll be a great adventure and if you present it that way to her, your excitement will become contagious!
You are a lovely husband to your wife and I wish you both the very best of luck in your new home.
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The only thing about wheelchairs and transportation within the airport is, there may not be able available right when you need them. You may find yourself waiting. Also some airlines will make you deboard the plane last. I’ve posted about our flying experience this summer and how there were 11 elders on a incoming plane and not enough staff to help them off. Then they brought a motorized cart thing to put some of the people on because there weren’t enough wheelchairs available and there was a long hold up leaving once they were all on. I think it may have been because an able bodied gentleman traveling with some of the elders didn’t want to carry any luggage or push a rolator and he wanted them loaded on the cart but there wasn’t room. All the elders needing assistance were the last to get off the plane and I observed them for at least 30 minutes while staff and transportation to the baggage claim was worked out. Some airports are better than others, the airports in California tend to be the worst, My mom will not fly in to see us anymore because the airport isn’t too accommodating of someone who needs assistance. And every time I picked her up, I sat in the baggage claim for about 30 minutes after the plane landed, watching everyone else take their bags....until finally she was wheeled down by an employee. If you can have a relative fly down with you, I highly recommend it. I think you will be flying in to LAX? It’s a huge very busy airport so the less you have to rely on airport staff, the better.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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Take the driving option but have someone fly out to meet you, and be the driver(s). Maybe two of them. Leave at night when your wife is asleep, drive all night. Breakfast, "we are going to breakfast!".
Rent a large SUV with bench seats for laying down. At some point, check into a motel and everyone freshen up, nap, then hit the road. A 3 day trip could become much shorter driving all night and most of the daytimes.

If it is reasonable, you can rent an RV, even a smaller Class B RV, such as a Pleasure Way or a Roadtrek. You will be bringing your own kitchen and toilet that way. Check the roads in January.
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lealonnie1 Nov 10, 2019
I would not be driving thru the mountains with an Alzheimer's patient in an unfamiliar RV for 3 days in the dead of winter.....no way!
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I hurt my foot not too long ago and had to be preboarded. I was told only one person could preboard with me. That’s all I needed but check on that point with your airline. Airlines are usually very accommodating if you give them a heads up.
Any senior would probably be wise to wear depends. We never know what to expect. If she hasn’t needed them before she probably won’t now either but why take the chance? I would try those prior to travel as well as the anxiety meds.
How does she do when you go out now? Does she get anxious? Repeat herself etc? I would expect a similar reaction. I think I might consider a time to travel that she normally is sleepy. You might not need the anxiety meds then. She might sleep the entire time.
Try not to take too much as a carry on. Be sure to keep yourself hydrated and relaxed. Patience is the main thing to pack. It will all work out.
Have fun on your trip.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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Wheelchairs should be complementry as soon as you arrive. She should be able to pre board early.
I plan on moving my mom 800 miles this winter for a 2 hour direct flight but not at a very busy airport like LA. I will book a first class flight because it includes food and drink. My mom is incontinant. She will be toileted 15 min before pre boarding. I generally always carry a travel bag to her doctors visits. It contains a spare diaper, a pair of slacks, vinyl gloves and a pad to put on her seat.
You will need to decide on a female traveller with her. Your daughter will be perfect. An extra person may be less stressful. You have a good plan to take her early in the day.
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Reply to MACinCT
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I would be sure and have food and drinks available for her, you can get a doctor's order to carry foods. Call the airline and airport to find out what they require. Bring items that you know she will eat and drink.

If she has a favorite sweater or blanket that gives her comfort bring it, it tends to be chilly on planes.

Get it pre arranged for wheelchairs at both ends and any stops.

Make sure you have all of her meds and give them on schedule. I would ask for something that calms her down and use it several times before you get on the plane, this will help you know how it works and how fast it works.

Make sure and have activities that you know distract her or engage her.

Wearing depends is a great idea, never know how stress is going to affect your tummy.

I would also be sure and get vitamin c and zinc in both of you starting a week before and at least a week after traveling, a good probiotic daily. The last thing you want is to get sick from the exposure to the airport.

I think having your daughter and SIL helping you is a great idea. Many hands make the task easier.

This is so exciting for you and her. Getting to be with your family is going to be such a blessing.

May God grant you easy travel and traveling mercies.

Your dad was right, growing old isn't for sissies, but it sure beats the alternative.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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I think you have planned for everything. The depends are a great idea. Your daughter helping is good too. Maybe a wheelchair to get her around.
I think you have covered it all.

So nice that u can move closer to family. I pray it all goes smooth for you.
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