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Travel Companion Makes Family Reunion Possible
It was a beautiful spring day in April when Evelyn and her paid Travel Companion CareGiver boarded the airport shuttle going from Burbank CA to John Day OR. This would be a trip to remember. Evelyn 95 was on her way to reunite with her brother Howard 93 in Oregon.
Evelyn and Howard are the only two remaining of five brothers and sisters who grew up on a small farm in Missouri and then migrated to California and Oregon in the 1940s. It had been several years since the two had spent any time together.
The flight to Boise ID went smoothly as the Travel Companion had booked an easy connection and had arranged for a wheel chair and priority boarding for each flight segment. Her Travel Companion Pam easily handled the checked baggage and arranged for transportation from Boise airport to John Day OR, about a 3 hour ride. Once checked into a hotel in John Day, Pam and Evelyn went to the ranch to reunite with Howard.
Gary, Brian, Ron, and Donna had also come to join in the reunion. Howard and Evelyn were so excited to see each other they lost no time in catching up. Ron and Donna prepared dinner “Missouri” style setting the stage for hours of conversation about the old days.
For the next three days, Evelyn and Howard talked for hours, never seeming to run out of stories. They talked, fished in the pond (Evelyn caught the most fish for dinner), looked through scrap books, enjoyed Howard’s birthday party and just relished the time together.
Pam, Evelyn’s Travel Companion not only assisted all along the way making the trip possible, but continually made the extra effort insuring that Evelyn was well attended and cared for. Aside from the travel, Pam helped with meals, baited hooks for fishing, helped organize scrapbooks and took pictures. Pam also stayed with Evelyn in the hotel to be sure she was well taken care of and safe.
When it was time for the flight home, Evelyn and her travel companion boarded Southwest flight 405 to Oakland CA to connect to Burbank CA. The usual wheel chair and priority boarding were arranged and the boarding went well.
After about 30 minutes in the air, the pilot announced that there was a warning light in the cockpit and we were going to return to Boise to have it fixed. When it was discovered that the delay would be lengthly, the airline had everyone get off and wait for another plane. Evelyn was assisted off the plane and the situation explained to her. The Travel Companion again handled everything; explaining the situation to Evelyn, rebooking the connecting flight for Oakland, assuring priority boarding again, and handling snacks and drinks. Thankfully the flights home were uneventful and went smoothly.
We are reminded constantly how precious friends and family are to our well being. Seniors frequently let life close in on them because maintaining contact with loved ones who live far away becomes too difficult. Unfortunately, travel is one of the first things that can drop out of the life of our seniors. Travel Companions are a way for seniors to keep the lifestyle they love and maintain contact with friends and family.
Evelyn and Howard had a few wonderful days together and now have more memories to last a life time. At the last dinner in Oregon, plans were already started to have the next family reunion.