Senior Travels Without Travails

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​​​Not everyone loves to travel, but for those of us who do, the mere mention of a trip can make us feel younger, more vital and more hopeful.

The joys of summer vacation are something we never seem to outgrow, but they can be harder- won as we age. Instead of being able to just pack up a weekender bag – and maybe a trusty nine iron – and hit the road, older adults now have to think about ensuring they have the meds they need, making sure their trip doesn't include an unscheduled tour of the local hospital, and, if they are flying, navigating ever-changing TSA regulations.

Here are some tips to ease the way – whether you are an older adult yourself or plan to travel with one this summer.

Older travelers who are being treated for a chronic condition should speak with their physician before their trip. Some topics to discuss:       

  •  - What is the destination?
  •  - How is the senior traveling? (plane, boat, car, etc.)
  •  - Who else will be there?
  •  - Will there be much physical activity?
  •  - Are there any extreme environmental conditions (excessive heat, extreme altitude) to consider?
  •  - Will the senior have all the meds they need for the duration? Can they refill their prescriptions if they run out or if something gets lost or stolen?
  •  - Does the physician have a colleague near the destination that the senior can contact in case of emergency?

  • Cushion-soled shoes: we tend to walk more when we travel and the extra padding will help absorb shock and friction and make it easier for seniors to keep going.

  • Sun protection: an SPF of 30 or higher, a wide brimmed hat, UV sunglasses and long sleeves all go a long way in the fight against harmful rays. To be on the safe side, most health organizations recommend staying inside when the sun is at its hottest.

  • Layers: in the summer months, many places are blasted with air conditioning. Bringing along lots of light layers can help seniors avoid the freeze.

  • First-Aid kit: in addition to their prescription medications, older travelers shouldn't leave home without emergency rations of anti-bacterial cream or spray, bandages, aloe vera (for sunburns), decongestant, antacid and any other over-the-counter remedies that they might need.

Special Considerations for Air Travel

  •  - When booking the ticket, inform the agent (or make a note online) that the passenger is over 65 and let them know about any special needs, such as a wheelchair at the gate or a special meal.
  •  - Older passengers should familiarize themselves with current security procedures every time they travel. While the TSA has relaxed the rules a little bit for passengers over 75, knowing what to expect can help seniors avoid travel delays and complications.
  •  - Try to nab an aisle seat, if possible, since it is more convenient to get in and out of and moving around can help prevent deep vein thrombosis.

For more information about helping older Americans maintain a rich and healthy quality of life, please contact Home Instead Senior Care of Central Oregon at 541-330-6400.​​


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