Posted by: Dee | 2009/02/24

flight travel elderly mother

My 82 year old mother was successfully operated on for a benign brain tumour 18 years ago. The surgeon said there was a good chance it would regrow but she is too old to undergo further surgery. She also has high blood pressure which is well controlled by medication. Despite all she is physically well and suffers only from memory loss. She would like to visit her family in Johannesburg but is concerned about what effect the higher altitude would have on her, and she experiences severe disorientation when changing her location which can last for a week or longer. Is it wise for her to attempt a 2 hour flight from the E Cape? Are there any precautions we can take to minimise any adverse reactions?

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Our expert says:
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Dear Dee
I would not let her travel alone. The higher altitude may cause shortness of breath, especially if their red blood cell count is low, and it would be important to see that she takes enough fluids during the trip to prevent electrolyte disturbances. If she gets disorientated by changing location, it may be wiser to ask the family to come down to the Eastern Cape and visit her, otherwise she is not going to benefit by the visit at all.
Dr Bets

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