WASHINGTON, DC — Vacationers are out in droves in summer.
“That’s why many seniors opt to hold off on taking their vacations until the fall,” says Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC]. “July and August, when school is out, are peak months for family travel. Planes, trains and highways are packed with travelers heading to holiday destinations at home and abroad.
So getting around can be frustrating, not to mention the fact that it is the priciest time of the year for air fares and lodging.”
There’s evidence that travel can be a healthy activity for older Americans, especially for those at risk of becoming socially isolated. According to the National Institute on Aging “research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death.”
Weber suggests that travel and taking vacations are activities that promote social engagement without really trying.
As Rick Steves, a well-known authority on travel, put it: “I’ve long noticed that older travelers seem younger than average in their appearance, attitudes, and energy levels. Travel is an excellent way to stay young in spirit.”
To ensure a safe, worry-free and enjoyable trip, wherever and whenever you decide to vacation, it is important to make preparations, according to AMAC. The senior advocacy organization provides tips for older travelers:
• Top of the list of things to do before you embark on your travels, especially seniors with medical conditions, is to visit your doctor to discuss your trip and any concerns you might have.
• Be sure to make a list of the medications you take and keep it handy.
• Make two copies of your med list as well as your passport and airline tickets and give one set of copies to a trusted relative or neighbor; take the other set with you in case you lose or misplace an original.
• Be aware that Medicare generally does not cover the cost of medical care outside of the U.S. so check to see if your supplemental insurance may cover health care costs abroad. If not, it is recommended that you purchase coverage for your destination or destinations.
• Check to make sure your passport is in order if you are traveling outside the U.S.
• Leave expensive jewelry at home and invest in a money belt for the valuables you will be taking with you such as your passport, travelers checks and cash.
• Finally, if you are taking a long flight, it is a good idea to take an occasional walk up and down the aisle to fend off the possibility of Deep Vein Thrombosis.