I often hear that one of the luxuries of being a retired senior is having more time and freedom to travel. I’m not in that category yet, but I have had a few opportunities to attend professional conferences out of state, and most recently, vacation with my husband out of the country.
Of course, federal regulations required we wear masks on our flights and other forms of public transit; and we were committed to remaining vigilant about social distancing, washing our hands and using hand sanitizer to stay safe.
These public health protocols are unlikely to change anytime in the near future, especially considering the new COVID Delta variant that is rapidly spreading among younger men and women across America.
Aside from following the standard coronavirus safety protocols, HealthyAging.com lists specific ways seniors can stay safe while traveling, regardless of their destination.
- Keep vaccinations current. For seniors choosing to travel overseas to countries that are allowing American tourists to visit, make sure all required vaccinations are current. Some vaccines must be obtained up to six weeks before you are scheduled to visit a foreign nation.
- Consult with your primary care provider. Before traveling anywhere right now, seniors should have a dialogue with their doctor or PCP, to review any specific travel precautions that might be necessary. This may require an office visit, a physical examination and vaccines.
- Inquire about medications. If you will be changing time zones while traveling or eating foods atypical from your normal diet, ask your doctor or PCP if you should alter the times at which you take your meds, or if any foods may negatively interact with your prescriptions.
- Prevent deep-vein thrombosis (DVT). Seniors are at greater risk of developing DVT, which typically occurs when they must sit for long periods of time in a plane, train or automobile. Dangerous blood clots can form in the veins – primarily veins in the legs – which inhibits blood flow. To prevent DVT, seniors should take frequent breaks, walk around, or do some form of exercise to keep blood circulating properly.
- Keep lists of medical conditions, treatments, and medications. No matter where you are going, it is important to have your doctor or PCP create a list of your current medical conditions, treatments, prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, supplements, and their contact information in case of an emergency. Healthy Aging suggests you make two copies of these lists: one to carry with you, and one to keep in your suitcase.
- Travel with medications in their original containers. It can be considered unlawful to carry meds outside of their prescription bottles, and US Customs frowns upon it. To keep moving through customs and avoid potential legalities, always travel with your meds, OTCs, and supplements in their original containers.
- Carry meds with you when traveling by air. It happens. Luggage does get mishandled or lost when traveling by air, especially when there are connecting flights. It is wise to keep your important medications with you to avoid loss and missed doses.
- Protect from illnesses and dehydration. Dehydration is a serious issue among seniors anyway, but it is especially prevalent when traveling by plane. “The air inside planes is dry, so bring a large bottle of water with you and drink regularly even if you do not feel thirsty. Or ask for a bottle of water every time the flight attendant offers a drink instead of soda or coffee, which can dry you out even more,” suggests Healthy Aging. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a travel site that provides a country-by-country list of common illnesses you may contract from food and water while visiting. Continue to frequently wash your hands and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer especially after traveling by public transportation: planes, trains or buses.
- Familiarity helps when traveling with someone diagnosed with dementia. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can present unique challenges when traveling. Routines are changed and unfamiliar surroundings can be quite confusing. Bring a favorite blanket and pillow to keep some familiarity to new surroundings. “Keep things simple by not scheduling too many activities during your time away. Consider having your loved one wear an identification bracelet, in the event that he/she wanders off. The Alzheimer’s Association has many tips for enjoying a calm traveling experience,” Hurley Elder Care Law recommends.
No matter where you choose to travel this summer, please remember these helpful tips for a safe, enjoyable holiday!
If you are a senior living in the Clearwater area and you are unable to travel, Home Helpers® provides non-medical in-home care and assistance for seniors, and our compassionate caregivers are ready, willing and able to provide a variety of senior care and specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia services, 24/7/365. I gladly offer a FREE Consultation to assess needs and match the perfect caregiver to provide assistance.
We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021. We proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠ 727.942.2539
Hurley Elder Care Law