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THEMARICOPAMOD.COM / TRANSPORT

What is a dementia friendly airport? Phoenix Sky Harbor to host workshop for caregivers

These airports have specific features and services to cater to needs of passengers with dementia.
PUBLISHED 7 DAYS AGO
At PSH, airport staff, including security, check-in, and customer service personnel, receive specialized training. (Photo: Phoenix Sky Harbor)
At PSH, airport staff, including security, check-in, and customer service personnel, receive specialized training. (Photo: Phoenix Sky Harbor)

Phoenix, Arizona: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, a dementia friendly airport, has started a workshop designed to help minimize the stress of airports for people living with dementia and their care partners, allowing everyone to successfully travel longer and safer. The free workshop is intended for caregivers or persons living with dementia who want to maintain air travel with their loved ones.

The workshop will be held at the City of Phoenix Aviation Department, 2485 E Buckeye Road, Phoenix, AZ, 85034. To register or request a reasonable accommodation. please email: SkyHarbor@Phoenix.gov.

PSH uses physical design elements that reduce confusion and enhance orientation. (Photo: Phoenix Sky Harbor)
PSH uses physical design elements that reduce confusion and enhance orientation. (Photo: Phoenix Sky Harbor)

What is a dementia friendly airport? 

These airports implement specific features, services, and practices to cater to the unique needs of passengers with dementia. Key characteristics of a dementia-friendly airport include:

Clear Signage: Use of simple, clear, and highly visible signs with recognizable symbols to help passengers navigate the airport easily.

Trained Staff: Airport staff, including security, check-in, and customer service personnel, receive specialized training to understand dementia, recognize signs of confusion or distress, and provide appropriate assistance.

Quiet Areas: Designated quiet zones where passengers with dementia can rest away from the hustle and bustle of busy airport environments, helping to reduce anxiety and sensory overload.

Assistance Programs: Availability of specialized assistance programs, such as escort services or meet-and-greet services, to guide passengers through the airport and assist with check-in, security screening, and boarding.

Accessible Information: Provision of information in various formats (visual, auditory, and written) to ensure that all passengers can understand important instructions and announcements.

Dementia-Friendly Design: Physical design elements that reduce confusion and enhance orientation, such as color-coded pathways, consistent layout, and well-marked restrooms and exits.

Phoenix Sky Harbor has facilities and services that support the needs of caregivers.
Phoenix Sky Harbor has facilities and services that support the needs of caregivers.

Supportive Technology: Use of technology like mobile apps or devices that provide step-by-step navigation and reminders for tasks such as taking medication or finding the gate.

Family and Caregiver Support: Facilities and services that support the needs of caregivers, such as seating areas near restrooms, easy access to water, and caregiver-specific information.

Flexible Policies: Implementation of flexible policies that allow for adjustments in procedures to accommodate the needs of passengers with dementia, such as allowing extra time for boarding or providing special seating arrangements.

Community Partnerships: Collaboration with dementia advocacy groups and healthcare providers to continually improve services and ensure the airport remains responsive to the needs of passengers with dementia.

Here are some of the other dementia friendly airports in the US

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL): Known for its comprehensive training programs for staff to recognize and assist passengers with dementia and other disabilities. They also provide clear signage and designated quiet areas.

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW): Offers programs such as the DFW Airport Guide Assistance Program, which provides personalized assistance for passengers with dementia. They also have trained staff and accessible information throughout the airport.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO): SFO has implemented various dementia-friendly initiatives, including specialized training for employees and the availability of supportive technology to help guide passengers.

Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP): MSP has a Travel Confidently program that includes training for employees on how to assist passengers with dementia. They also have designated quiet areas and provide clear signage for easy navigation.

Miami International Airport (MIA): MIA offers specialized assistance programs and has trained staff to help passengers with dementia. They also focus on providing accessible information and maintaining a dementia-friendly design throughout the airport.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA): SEA has implemented various initiatives to support passengers with dementia, including staff training and providing easy-to-navigate spaces with clear signage.

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