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Traveling in the Senior Years and Medical Tips for the Elderly

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Traveling in the Senior YearsAge is sometimes seen as a limitation for undertaking many of the activities that one had desired for most of their life. However, a senior who is healthy and willing should not let the 70s or even the 80s stop them from enjoying life and having new adventures. Traveling is one of those activities that many seniors undertake – with time on their hands after retirement and the end of the major financial responsibilities like raising a family and paying a mortgage. However, the elderly who often have some physical limitations and health constraints should take a few precautions in order to prevent unnecessary mishaps.

Medical Clearance

Apart from the vaccinations required for traveling to certain regions, the elderly should also consider a full medical examination before setting off on their destination, whether local or abroad. Age does bring an increased risk of certain diseases, and this is further compounded by a person’s pre-existing ailments. Ascertaning the current status of one’s health is therefore necessary to possibly detect upcoming medical events which one would ideally avoid while being away from their home town and out of the reach of their family doctor.

Certain conditions may be associated with an increased risks for traveling, particularly long  journeys with minimal seating and walking space like flights. Probably the best known of these conditions is deep venous thrombosis (DVT), which is not uncommon in the elderly. It can lead to a host of local complications in the lower limb itself but can be more serious, the clot can dislodge and eventually block the circulation to the lungs. This is known as a pulmonary embolism and is potentially fatal.

It is therefore important for a senior to seek the advice of their family doctor and disclose the exact travel details like duration and mode of transport. The doctor should also be aware of the type of activities that will be undertaken while on holiday particularly when it comes to sports, hiking and fasting if on pilgrimage. Travel arrangements should only be finalized once the doctor gives the go ahead to do so.

Travel Medication

Chronic medication is the lifeline for many elderly travels and the consequences may be dire within just a short period if it is discontinued. It is therefore essential to carry extra chronic medication when traveling abroad and separate the medication among different bags. In the event of lost or stolen luggage, there will still be a sufficient supply to maintain one through the duration of the stay away from home.

Attempting to source medication while in a foreign country can at times be a tricky endeavor even in the most developed of countries. Apart from differences in language, the brand names may vary in different regions and therefore a doctor’s prescription should always be carried as an additional safety measure. This may in fact be a necessity when entering certain countries and proving that the medication in one’s possession is legitimate.

Medical Insurance

Health care at foreign destinations can be unaffordable even if the exchange rate is in one’s favor when traveling abroad. A comprehensive travel insurance with adequate medical cover is therefore necessary. The elderly being more likely to face medical emergencies need access to the best health care even if the trip is not intended to be filled with risky activities. A simple case of traveler’s diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration which may require hospitalization. In the elderly with pre-existing ailments, specialist health care for complications may also be needed thereby further driving up the costs.

Two additional factors that are important in terms of travel insurance with medical cover is that insurance companies keep a record of the insured parties medical history and family doctor’s details. Doctors and nurses in the insurance call center can therefore provide the medical professionals at the travel destination with this essential information at the time of an emergency ensuring that the correct details are relayed for a speedy medical solution.

Other Tips when Traveling

Additional safety trips are not specific for the elderly. This includes having a passport with a suitable period of validity to ensure adequate time to travel and cater for any delays. It is always better to travel with a group or an able bodied caregiver who can assist with one’s needs should any problems arise. While some foreign destinations may be cheaper and seem more exciting, it is best to travel to areas where one has to bear little inconvenience. Rather select destinations that are similar to the surroundings that one is accustomed to and with suitable amenities to limit any hardship.

Traveling should be an enjoyable and enlightening experience. A few safety tips and careful planning can avoid mishaps which may not only spoil the holiday itself but endanger one’s life, particularly in the elderly who tend to have greater medical needs.


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