By Kate Horrell,


My smart aunt just reminded me that I should probably write a little post about her experience getting a installation access card to allow her to shop and perform certain business for my no-longer-completely capable grandfather.  Poppop is a retired Marine who chose his retirement home for its proximity to a military base, so that he could utilize the commissary, exchange, and pharmacy.  He’s no longer driving, and is easily exhausted by such tasks.  I’m not able to be around every day, so I recommended that they have my aunt appointed as his agent so perform these on-base tasks for him.

Obtaining an installation access card can allow caregivers to perform shopping and other tasks for someone who is unable.  Every installation may have a different process, but I’ll let you know what had to be done at this base.

Get The Right Form

I called the Pass and ID office, and explained that my grandfather’s caregiver needed access to base facilities to do his errands for him.  After being transferred a few times, I was told to come to the visitors center to get a form.  Everyone was very nice and helpful.  I was handy, so I went to the Pass and ID office/visitors center and obtained the form.  Everyone knew exactly what I needed.

Get Doctor’s Documentation

My grandfather’s doctor wrote a short note explaining that he was unable to consistently perform the shopping himself.

Submit The Form, Letter, and Supporting Documents

My aunt then took the form, the letter, her driver’s license, and my grandfather’s military ID to the office for review.  The office staff made copies of the identification and driver’s license, and informed her that she would receive a letter in about a week.  The only downside was that the letter had to be mailed to her home address, which was a little inconvenient because she is spending all her time at my grandfather’s house.

Getting The ID

In about a week, my aunt received a letter informing her that the request had been approved.  She took the letter to the Pass and ID office, where she was issued a special ID card.  It is hard plastic and looks sort of like a simplified Common Access Card.  Hers was approved for one year, which appears to be the standard amount of time.

From my understanding, every military installation offers installation access cards for caregivers of those who are unable to do things for themselves. You may have to ask a few questions or dig around, but you should be able to figure out your local process pretty quickly.

Life can be stressful when you’re caring for a loved one. Getting access to the pharmacy and base shopping can save a little money and also ease the stress of changing things during an already difficult time.

More on