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Mother fell and broke her hip last summer and had to move to assisted living. She has not regained her ability to walk mostly due lack of motivation which she calls fear. Additionally she has urinary incontinence and sometimes fecal incontinence when straining.
Her baby brother (79) passed away Saturday. I am struggling to try to get her to the funeral in Colorado Springs. She requires assistance with almost everything and we do not have family or additional support. I am her primary caregiver and I work full time. I am already burnt out. I don’t think I can manage it. Any suggestions?

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There comes a time when you must look at situations such as this from a "head Perspective and not a "heart" perspective. A funeral is something that is a ritual in our society but what matters most is the time with the person when they were living. The stress of flying a frail elder, with incontinent issues and traveling through our airport security, then getting her on an uncomfortable plane seat, for literally hours, where she won’t be able to move about and possibly get a DVT, will not make it to the bathroom quickly let alone be able to easily get into a bathroom on the plane ALONE because two can not fit in it is nonsense. And then what if the plane were delayed for hours? Or you sit on the tarmac for hours waiting to take off. Imagine the worst case scenario because in the world of flying it could and just might happen. NO..I would not take her. Simple as that. Somethings are just not possible. Her health precludes this trip.
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Reply to Harpcat
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No. Definitely no. She’s in no condition to fly across the country unless she can hire at least 2 personal attendants and even then, it’s going to be difficult for them and her. An airplane bathroom is not big enough for 2 adults so how will you clean her should she have an accident on the plane? A cross country trip means hours on a plane, you can’t have her sitting in poo for hours, stinking up the whole plane. Even if you hire a caregiver, have you flown out of a major airport recently? We just flew and on our return trip home, we had quite an experience! At our departing airport, our gate changed to a gate in another terminal right after we arrived. We had to get on a monorail type thing in order to get to new gate. This happened a total of 3 times within 90 minutes. Each time they changed the gate, it was in a different terminal so we had to keep catching the monorail. (We know better now. Next time we will park ourselves in one place until 30 minutes before take off, instead of moving every time the gate changes). And there are no seats on those things, you stand and hold a metal pole. We had a 1 hour layover in Phoenix and as soon as we landed there, we got an alert that our next flight was delayed by 4 hours! We also had to change gates once but the terminal didn’t change.
If you will need wheelchair assistance, keep in mind that there are more people who need help than there are staff to help them. So you may be left waiting a long time before someone comes to help you. When my mom flies down here & uses wheelchair assistance, it takes 20-30 minutes after everyone else has grabbed their bags, for the staff to bring her down to the baggage claim. On our way home this last trip, we were seated by the counter at the gate and as a plane was arriving, I heard the gate attendant complaining that she had 11 passengers with wheelchairs on that flight. She called over the loudspeaker for assistance and then I heard her telling someone that the last she needed help, no one came. Once the passengers were off, they brought an airport shuttle thing (like a golf cart but for people) to transport the people with wheelchairs and rollators and guess what? Some of the people weren’t cooperative and refused to get off their rollators and ride on the shuttle. They wanted to be pushed on their rollators by staff who also carried their baggage. All of them had carry on suitcases they needed/wanted staff to carry and all I can say is, they were held up there for over 30 minutes and they were still there when we had to get up and go to another terminal after our gate changed.

unless your 88 year old incontinement and mostly immobile mother can afford a private plane and 2-3 full time caregivers, my vote is a big NO.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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lealonnie1 Jul 23, 2019
After reading this, I need to run and chew up a bunch of Tums!!!! What a great case you make for never taking our elderly LOs on an airplane trip.
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My then 91-year-old FIL lost his brother about a year ago. We're in California, most of the family is in South Dakota. We "attended" the funeral via Skype.

Everyone involved was fine with the arrangement; we even got to catch up a bit with some of the family.
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faeriefiles Jul 23, 2019
That is a wonderful solution.
(6)
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Honestly? A lot of people with this level of disability don't attend funerals in the next town let alone across the country, and nobody faults them for it. Sometimes we just have to accept things as they are instead of trying to make them into what we wish they were.
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anonymous828521 Jul 25, 2019
Bravo Cwillie:)
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I recently lost my brother in law, and took my 93 y/o father to the local memorial in Los Angeles, about 40 miles away. That drive took 2.5 hours (yes traffic totally stinks here) and even that was a stress because he refuses to pee in his diapers (at least intentionally) and we had to stop in South Central LA to pee....not a good situation! Once at the location, everything was about him...needing to pee again, wanting food, more drinks. I didn't get to participate in the memorial services because I was focused on his needs. And during the presentation, he could not hear a thing anyway and kept saying "what did they say?" He would have gotten more from the ceremony if it was on Skype or on DVD where you can raise the volume up! So, I agree with that suggestion. When his brother passed away last year, it was not given to him as an option to go, and he was perfectly ok with it. Just brought back pictures and videos. Just remember, what is felt in the heart is often the most important. Sometimes, going to a funeral for the guests is about closure....seeing their loved one in the casket. Bring back pictures to help with the closure if they cannot go. So sorry for the loss of your uncle. Best wishes.
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DollyMe Jul 23, 2019
I noticed when I took my father to funerals after he was 80, he couldn't handle it, it was too depressing for him, everytime he had a set back, health wise, it flared up his diabetes. He was losing his family and friends, it crushed him. So, we (he & I) decided not to do that anymore, he still mourned but it was much better for him. My father died at 84, of small cell lung cancer, he had never been in the hospital until the week before he died. And, only with very slight dementia, hardly noticeable.
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Many funeral homes stream services
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No, when I last flew my 88 year old mother across country she was crying when I picked her up - last out of the gate because there weren't enough wheelchairs for people demanding them. While I waited for her I noticed that MOST of the people in the wheelchairs seemed to not need them as they leapt up energetically at the exit to walk outside. It was a disgusting site to see those lazy people, while my mother was left behind for over an hour. (I couldn't get through security as I didn't have a ticket). Just like the healthy young people leaping out of jeeps or tall SUVs in handicapped parking spots.... Don't do it to your mother.
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cwillie Jul 25, 2019
Navigating through an airport can be very taxing for people with health conditions that don't require them to need a wheelchair in every day situations, my BIL recently arranged for one because he was recovering from heart problems and could have never manage without it. Some disabilities are in your face and easy to spot, many others are not.
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I think it would be lunacy to attempt a cross country flight with your mother in her condition! Flying is stressful enough under "normal" conditions, never mind putting your mother and anyone else involved through this! Increased stress can cause a number of medical issues and make matters worse. Also long flights and being immobile in a cramped space can increase the chances of your mother developing a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) with fatal results!
I would involve your mother as much as possible with picking out and sending flowers to the service and a card (Mass card if she is religious) to the family. There have been other wonderful suggestions as far as pictures and contact with other family members but I would NOT attempt to put her on a cross country flight.
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Reply to This2shallpass
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No no a thousand times no! Perhaps someone can video the funeral service so your mom can feel like she was there without the nightmare of actually GETTING there! Not to mention the ALTITUDE in Colo Springs is horrendous for a senior WITHOUT health issues! My sister whos 55 gets as sick as a dog with altitude sickness every time she comes for a visit. My condolences on your loss of your Uncle.
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DollyMe Jul 24, 2019
You have made a good point about Colorado, my uncle lived there and when I was there visiting I had a problem breathing, the high altitude bothered me.
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Don't do it. On top of all the reasons previously stated, air travel has been fraught with many delays this summer due to the grounding of the new Boeing jet, weather, and maintenance issues. My son spent 3 hours on the tarmac while they attempted to repair a wing flap only to disembark and stay an extra night. A couple sitting next to him on the tarmac has already experienced that the day before....two unexpected, time-consuming delays! Make a list of the family she might have seen if she attended and set up skype or phone visits with them.....maybe one each weekend.
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