Senior Citizen Health Issues in Travel Planning

Jul 27th, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

A list of issues to address if you travel with health problems may be helpful for seniors planning worldwide travel.  Trips can become more complicated as we age, but it doesn’t mean we have to stop traveling.  We just have to plan more carefully.

This list is as comprehensive as we can generate; however, if you had items to add, please leave your comments so others can benefit from your experience:

  1. Schedule a visit with your primary care physician and any other providers you see regularly to be sure their expert advice and information is included in travel planning.  If he/she/they say you aren’t healthy enough to travel, take their advice and stay home.
  2. If they say, “Go for it!”, create a document that includes your entire health profile, paying particular attention to detail regarding your current health issues:
    1. All your diagnoses
    2. Allergies to food/medication/environment/etc
    3. Complete list of all your medications and over the counter supplements you take (be sure this list includes generic and brand names, dosages, frequency the med is taken and number of doses in the container)
    4. List of healthcare providers you currently see, their telephone numbers, email addresses, fax numbers, addresses
    5. List of emergency contact people, usually family members and/or close friends
    6. Copies of your insurance card, Medicare card, and your passport.
    7. Request a document from your physician on her/his letterhead that describes your medical conditions, medications and supplements you currently take and detail regarding medication dosage and instruments required (if any) for administering the meds.  Keep this letter with your medications in a clear plastic bag in your carry-on bags that meets the requirements of airport security.  Keep all your meds in their original containers with the prescription information on the package, and be sure you have more than enough for your entire trip.
    8. Check with all the airlines you plan to use regarding their requirements for any medical equipment you will bring with you (wheel chairs, oxygen, walkers, service dog, etc).
    9. Most Internet sites that have lists for seniors traveling with medical conditions remind us of the following:
      1. Medicare does not cover you outside the United States
      2. Your supplemental policy may cover you; you need to check with them to see if and what they cover outside the US boundaries
      3. Short-term health insurance may be purchased on the Internet for travel outside the US
      4. Do an Internet search for the areas you will be visiting to identify medical clinics and services you may need.  The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers is a good resource.   

Please leave comments if you have items to add to this list!



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