Consider Medical Needs When Traveling

While those of all ages can enjoy traveling, the itinerary should take into account a senior’s physical and cognitive abilities, and other special needs.

  • Those with Alzheimer’s or memory loss – even in the early stages – can become easily disoriented when removed from familiar surroundings and routines. You may want to design a vacation using the senior’s residence as home base. Day outings can provide the adventure.
  • While most US destinations are equipped to manage and accommodate seniors with physical limitations, foreign destinations may not be as accessible. Check with your agent or hotel reservationists to ensure that the room and grounds will be able to accommodate your needs.
  • Plan for the unexpected. While no one wants to think about the “what if’s”, it is prudent to plan ahead and have a contingency plan. Call your medical insurer to clarify your coverage while traveling.
  • Ask your doctor about medicines that can treat the symptoms of “traveler’s diarrhea” and other common travel illnesses.
  • Take an extra supply of medication in case you are delayed beyond your anticipated return date.
  • Ask your doctor for duplicate prescriptions – in case your medicines are lost or stolen.
  • Pack your medication in your carry on luggage.
  • Keep an emergency medical form with your travel documents. Include a list of medications, medical conditions, physician’s name and number, insurance information and an emergency contact (other than traveling companion).
  • Consider purchasing travel Insurance. This provides a refund or allows re-booking if a medical or family crisis occurs that would alter your traveling plans.
  • If you require oxygen, talk with the airline carrier at the same time you are booking your ticket, as many carriers have very specific oxygen rules and limited number of seats they can sell to oxygen dependent travelers.
  • Talk with your telephone representative to determine the easiest way for you to keep in touch with home. Consider a phone card. Ask for detailed instructions for dialing from the Country you are traveling to.
  • Complete an Advanced Health Care Directive and make sure it is applicable to the State you are traveling to.

Make sure that family and friends have a current itinerary if they need to contact you.