With summer in full swing, many people are making plans to travel on vacation or to see family, and while these trips can be fun, traveling can present a unique set of challenges for seniors. There are always safety concerns involved with any trip, in part because you may have physical limitations that need to be addressed but also because seniors are often targeted by thieves.
You may even be traveling with another senior who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, which will require some extra planning, including packing all medications together and creating an itinerary that allows the individual to stay close to his usual schedule. Travel to brand-new places can lead to wandering, so do some research to make sure the destination’s accommodations will give you access to a door with a sturdy lock and make sure the individual has paperwork on him at all times documenting his health needs. Check out this article for more tips on dealing with the challenges of traveling with a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
One of the first things you’ll need to do–after you figure out where you’re traveling to, that is–is to get travel insurance. This will keep you covered in case there’s an accident or you fall ill while on your trip and will ensure that you can get the medical assistance you need no matter how far from home you are.
“Nothing is worse than to be in a foreign land and find yourself in a situation where you have fallen or run out of medication and not knowing what to do or if you’ll be covered,” says travel expert Liz Dahl.
It’s also a good idea to let your immediate family members know where you’re going, where you’ll be staying, how to get in touch with you during the trip, and how long you’ll be there. Talk to your neighbors and keep them in the loop, as well, so that someone can keep an eye on your house.
Here are a few more of the best travel safety tips for seniors.
Keep a low profile
No matter where you’re going, it’s a good idea not to advertise where you are through social media. If you use Facebook, don’t “check in” to restaurants or other establishments, as this is a flag to potential thieves or scammers that you are away from your hotel room or will possibly be using your credit card there. Also, don’t use the signs meant to hang on your hotel room door, as these can tell a thief that no one is around.
When booking your hotel room, ask for one near the elevator, where there will be more foot traffic, and stay away from first-floor rooms if possible, which would give a potential thief window access.
Choose what you eat carefully
You might be tempted to go a little wild while on vacation and eat all the local cuisine, but if you’re on a sodium-free diet or a special meal plan to control diabetes or other disease, it’s a good idea to stick as closely to that as possible. It’s okay to sample what your vacation destination has to offer, but don’t go too crazy. It’s also important to stay hydrated, so drink lots of water throughout the trip.
Don’t flash your cash
It’s never a good idea to flash your money around in an unfamiliar place, so keep the cash you carry to a minimum and consider carrying a small money clip that can be kept in your front pocket, or invest in a good cell phone holder that doubles as a hiding place for your paper money. Women should carry purses that can be worn cross-body style, preferably with a zipper closure instead of a button.
Stay on top of your medicine
If you have several medicines to keep track of, it’s a good idea to invest in a pill caddy that will allow you to sort each medicine by the day. It might be helpful to set an alarm on your phone to help you remember when to take each one, especially if you find yourself getting out of your normal routine while you’re away.
Remember that traveling can be overwhelming when you’re tired or hungry, so try to bring along healthy snacks and make sure you get enough rest to cut down on the stress and anxiety of taking a trip.
Author: Marie Villeza