Living 50 Plus

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Travel tips for older adults with medical conditions

The opportunity to travel is one of the best perks of retirement. Even men and women who are only semi-retired have more freedom to travel than those who are still working full-time.

But while men and women over 50 may have more time to travel, they also must take more precautions when traveling, thanks in large part to medical conditions. Many men and women over 50 have medical conditions that may require they take medication and/or visit their physicians somewhat regularly. But those who want to travel need not let their health prevent them from seeing the world. The following are a few travel tips for men and women with medical conditions.

• Speak with your healthcare provider before any trips. Whether you are about to embark on an overseas adventure or just spend a couple of weeks visiting your grandchildren, speak to your healthcare provider in advance of your trip. Healthcare providers may recommend certain vaccinations to men and women traveling abroad, and providers also can explain coverage and what to do in case of a medical emergency while away from home.

• Refill your prescriptions. Men and women who must take medication should refill their prescriptions before traveling away from home. Doing so ensures you will have enough medication to last your trip. When filling a prescription, explain to your pharmacist and/or physician that you are about to travel and tell them where you will be going. They may recommend you avoid certain foods native to your destination, or they may give you the greenlight to indulge in the local cuisine.

• Carry a list of your medications and medical conditions with you when traveling. Before traveling, make a detailed list of the medications you take and why you take them. The list should include dosage and the names, both generic and brand name, of the medications you take. Include any past medical conditions, such as a heart attack, you have had as well. Carry this list with you when traveling. In case of emergency, the list will alert responding medical professionals to any current or past medical conditions you have so they can better treat you.

• Keep medications in their original containers. Some men and women find it easier to remember to take their medications if they transfer pills from their original containers into pill organizers. Such devices can be very convenient at home, but they make create problems when traveling through customs or even on domestic flights. Pills can always be transferred to organizers upon your arrival at your destination; just make sure they are placed back into their original containers before you return home.

• Drink plenty of water on flights. Airplane cabins can be very dry, which can exacerbate dry mouth that results from taking medication. When boarding a flight, speak to the flight attendant and explain that you need some extra water so you can stay hydrated and avoid irritating dry mouth that may result from your medication. If you must take medication while on your flight, don't be afraid to ask the flight attendant for a fresh glass of water and even a light snack if you need to eat something with your medicine.

Men and women over 50 have more freedom to travel than many of their adult counterparts. But such travelers must exercise extra caution if they have medical conditions.