Program unveiled at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport to aid passengers with dementia

Sep 22, 2021, 4:25 AM | Updated: 10:11 pm
(City of Phoenix Photo)...
(City of Phoenix Photo)
(City of Phoenix Photo)

PHOENIX — A new program was unveiled Tuesday at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport aimed at assisting passengers with dementia.

The initiative, called the Compassion Cacti Lanyard Program, gives individuals with dementia and their traveling companions a neon green lanyard to wear around their neck to alert airport staff that extra assistance could be needed.

Airport staff have been trained to assist passengers who are seen with the lanyard with dementia care.

“We are looking at the way we do things and trying to provide additional resources for those customers who may need some additional help,” Misty Cisneros-Contreras, customer service manager at Sky Harbor, said.

The lanyard gives passengers access to new quiet areas in Terminal 4 that offer minimal distractions, an important tool to help avoid agitation and confusion for those experiencing dementia away from home.

It can be kept and used repeatedly at Sky Harbor but will only be recognized at the Phoenix airport.

Those interested in receiving lanyards can submit a request with the airport within three months of a scheduled trip.

The initiative is part of Phoenix’s push to make it a dementia friendly city.

Mesa, Glendale, Scottsdale, Surprise and Tempe are also part of the Dementia Friendly America Program.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Peter Samore contributed to this report.

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Program unveiled at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport to aid passengers with dementia