Travel is a common pastime for retirees, and with good reason. Visiting the tropics, touring the country or seeing the sights of the world are all enjoyable and enriching means of passing extra time, and traveling unencumbered by children or the responsibilities of professional life can lead to a much more relaxing trip.
Birds of a feather
For those suffering from limited mobility or dependent on services such as diabetes care, however, straying far from home poses problems. Travel can take a heavy physical and mental toll, and a medical emergency in a foreign environment can be frightening and difficult to quickly remedy. One way to tame the anxiety of traveling to a new, unfamiliar location is to plan a trip with a group of friends.
"Groups are a very efficient and cost-effective way to travel," noted Tim Davis, president of a Bloomington, Illinois travel agency, according to The State Journal-Register. "They also provide an immediate set of friends, and typically people who share the same interests."
Not everyone has a group of friends willing or able to book a trip together, but like-minded globetrotters can connect at community senior care centers and through online forums. This type of travel, Davis notes, also provides the opportunity for group outings while enjoying the quiet of a private room.
Bear in mind
Medical facilities in foreign countries may not offer the same level of care as in the United States, and procuring medical supplies away from home may involve time-consuming and frustrating communication between the patient, local professionals and doctors at home. The U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs recommends packing plenty of prescription medication and procuring a doctor's note for customs officials and foreign pharmacists. Always keep medications in the original bottle to avoid confusion at the border.
Any traveler heavily dependent on companion care aid or frequent medical procedures will want to prepare by investigating the hospitals and services of the destination community. Underdeveloped countries and locations that will likely lead to language barriers may not be the best choice for individuals with chronic illnesses or significant mobility barriers.
Medicare coverage often isn't available in foreign countries, so for those with existing supplemental insurance or private policies, an additional travel policy may provide all that is needed while abroad. Seniors fully dependent on Medicare may want to explore a separate, short-term policy during any travel outside of the United States.