How to Safely Travel After Retirement

Written by Nathan Grant

Whether you’ve lived a well-traveled life or not, once you are retired, you most likely have much more personal freedom, free time, and financial security to make your travel dreams come true. While many seniors enjoy traveling by cruise ship, which can have a variety of amenities and accommodations to make traveling for a senior safe and comfortable, more and more retirees are checking off their travel bucket lists by planning trips all around the globe, which studies show has many health and wellness benefits. With more agency being in the hands of the person planning a trip, here are some ways to ensure that as a traveling senior, you can have a safe trip as well as an enjoyable one.

Preparing for a Safe Trip

When planning your destination, only book through trusted agencies, local or online, and if booking your trip online, make sure to look at the URL of the websites you are using to make sure they are secure websites by checking for a lock symbol next to the web address, and a “https” instead of just “http” in the URL. It’s a good practice to check while on any website where you will be sharing personal or financial information, but especially so when you are planning to travel away from home. Scammers can try to offer great and often unrealistic deals and packages, so if something seems too good to be true, there’s a good chance it is.

Another preparatory step you can take is to make sure that you get travel insurance if you don’t already have it with your current insurance provider. There are homeowners policies that cover baggage loss, and some health insurance policies will cover medical emergencies overseas, but not all, so it’s important to look into what insurance provider options you have overseas, in the form of medical, trip cancellation insurance etc. Consider a travel credit card that can offer some of the same benefits as well.

Before you go, also be careful not to post on social media about being gone for an amount of time, or post pictures while you are still on the vacation itself, as you can open your home up to thieves who specifically target seniors and those traveling. If you have close family or friends who live nearby your home, have them check in while you are away just for that added assurance.

Lastly, when planning your trip, consider travel outside of peak times of the years in different seasons to avoid overly heavy crowds. Also, planning weekday trips, as opposed to weekends, can help with the amount of people you may have to deal with, and the good thing about traveling off-peak and during the week is there is often a lot of financial savings in doing so as well.

What to Pack and Navigating the Airport

Making sure you bring the right items to keep you safe and ensure a comfortable trip is important as well. For the airplane, bring a neck pillow and blanket for your seat, and make sure

not to pack or wear too much expensive jewelry as that can make you a target before and during your trip. Pack comfortable, weather-appropriate outfits and supportive shoes so you can fully enjoy your trip without being hampered by discomfort that you could have avoided on your own.

Ultimately, the most important thing you have to pack might be your medications. Before you leave, ask your physicians to provide a letter stating why your medications are necessary. Be sure that the name on your medication bottle matches the name on the letter and on your airline ticket. It’s a good idea to research overseas medical regulations as well so you don’t encounter a problem once you are away from home. According to the TSA (Transportation Security Administration), medications must be packed in their own carry-on bag and be clearly identified, which means bringing the original packaging with medical information can save you a lot of time and hassle. It is not suggested to pack medications in checked bags, as not to expose them to X-rays. Also, let the TSA agent know right away that you have necessary medications to make your boarding process smoother. Also, larger amounts of medications can always be shipped to your destination as well.

Each airline has its own policy for on-board and in-flight oxygen usage. Contact your airline ahead of time to find out its oxygen policies. Also, if you require a wheelchair or walker, find out ahead of time if the airport you are using has their own accessibility options for seniors, or possibly use an airline credit card that has similar benefits like lounge access, or priority boarding for those with a wheelchair or similar need.

A Safe and Secure Destination

Fraud and identity theft are unfortunately rampant and often targeted to seniors specifically. Be aware that there common scams when traveling such as fake taxi services, tour guides, and even imitation police that can be a danger when you are a tourist. Research taxi and ride-share services beforehand, or find out information at the airport itself as most airports and major travel hubs have taxi stands and information desks so you can be aware of legit services before you even step foot out of the airport. And you can always rent a car to get around so you are 100% in control of your itinerary.

There are a few other tips that can make your trip safe and stress free as a senior. Choosing a centralized hotel can be a saving grace, as while it is obviously important to find a hotel that is accommodating and affordable, choosing a hotel that can act as a sort of home base during your stops on your trip is great, allows you to recuperate and then you can consider not carrying certain medications that you don’t need on your person. Also, spreading out the stops on a trip, and not packing too much bucket list crossing in one day so you don’t overdo it is advised. It can be tiring for a spry young couple on their first trip having a busy itinerary, so pace your trip and stay safe and happy the whole time.

Also, there is no rule that you have to travel alone! Bringing the kids and grandkids along for a family trip will no doubt make you feel younger, create lasting memories with your family, and

make for a safer experience away from home, so buck the trend, check off that bucket list, and show that it is never too late to make those travel dreams come true.

Experience the Joy of Patience in Retirement

As a survivor of a Bay Area based career it is not always easy to slow things down despite my enviable retired status. Old habits die hard and decades of hustling to the next event or jetting down the freeway toward another oh-so-important meeting impacted the person I was and influenced the lifestyle I lived. Everything was so fast. While in the midst of my career I honestly felt guilty taking a moment to escape the busy day. There was always something I could be doing, something I should be doing.

Now that I am retired I am beginning to understand not everything need proceed at turbo speed. It is okay to pursue the day at a sane pace. And it is much easier to appreciate and tune into the world around if moments are not flashing by at the speed of light.

In the Bay Area, heavy traffic is a fact of life. If you are on the road you expect to proceed at slower than posted speed limits in all but the rarest of times. As congestion increases everywhere, there is no longer any non-rush hour time to journey out. I never got used to the traffic. I would prefer to drive twice the distance so long as my car kept moving. Waiting, burning gas, watching the minutes tick by – it wound me up like a watch.

Where my wife and I retired there is no real rush hour traffic or at least nothing like what we were accustomed. There are a few stretches of highway that back up at various times of the day. But as I learn to be patient in retirement I am able to better deal with these delays. Perhaps it is because I am no longer pressured to be somewhere at a specific time. I sit back and remember how things are just 70 miles away and smile broadly. “This is rush hour traffic I can handle just fine!!”

Being patient is not always easy. If you are an active retiree there is nothing worse than sustaining an injury that sidelines from your normal pursuits. Exercise keeps us limber, engaged and out there living. I know that if I miss more than a few days I start to get a bit testy. My wife notes this as well and thank God for her patience!

As the aging game plays forward it doesn’t take something big to knock you out of circulation. A minor tweak of the knee and you end up unable to take your daily walk. A few months ago I tried a new yoga pose to relieve a little back/hip pain. Unfortunately I did it incorrectly and now two months later my elbow is a painful reminder to do it right or don’t do it at all. I haven’t returned to my normal workout routine and it drives me crazy. But I know how important patience is when it comes to recovering from injury, even more so entering my sixth decade. I am letting time mend me, doing what I can around the injury to stay active, optimistic I will be back before too long. And when I am, look out!

Throughout life we will run into situations that test our patience. We all have our hot buttons, triggers that quickly set us into orbit. Where traffic is my personal bane others may feel challenged when forced to engage in mindless small talk or tolerate barking dogs at night or enduring those ever so slow grocery clerks.

When I feel my tension level rise I try to consciously slow down. I take a few slow, deep breaths to help bring my heart rate back to normal. I put a smile on my face to help put things in perspective. Most importantly I remind myself where I am in life – retired from the rat race, free to spend my days as I choose to, able to proceed at a reasonable pace, no longer burdened by must-have-an-answer-now decisions. Feeling in control of my days is a blessing.

Sure I get a little impatient on occasion. But I am learning what matters and what does not. I try to overlook the annoying little things, to focus my time and energy on what matters and what I enjoy. Living in that state there is no cause to hurry. I savor my freedom and appreciate the moments I am fortunate enough to live.

LoveBeingRetired.com

Preparing Your House to Accommodate Seniors with Limited Mobility

Written by Becky Wilcox

Mobility challenges are quite common among the elderly. If you are the primary caregiver for a senior family member who is experiencing this difficulty, it is critical that you do your best to help them cope with these limitations. One way is to make your home “elderly-friendly” for a safer and more accessible environment for aging adults.

Making upgrades/additions to your home to make it safe and secure for older folks can be as simple as installing handrails near the staircase. This senior home preparation guide focuses on simple investments for creating a haven. That said, it also recommends more substantial installations that can be worthwhile if your loved one ends up having long-term mobility issues.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Create a Comfortable Sitting Environment 

Sitting in a comfortable position can prove to be a challenge for mobility impaired seniors. The standard chairs present in most homes can take a toll on their back. On top of that, older folks may struggle to get back into a standing position without assistance. Fortunately, modern lift recliners and other similar options are allowing caregivers and homeowners to set up comfortable seating areas in their accommodations. Furniture pieces like these include all the latest features (dual motors, massage, heating, etc.) that allow for versatility in how users maneuver them. For example, they can achieve a fully reclined position as well as be positioned straight. Moreover, some of them are capable of helping seniors stand on their feet by giving them the boost they need to get comfortably up on their feet.

  1. Add Safety Features to Your Bathroom

Your bathroom is especially important to secure since water increases the risk of slip and fall injuries. Roll-in pathways, curtain equipped shower stalls, and seating are some viable options for the seniors in your home don’t use a wheelchair. Investments like these remove the need to step over a tub or ledge, significantly reducing the risk of falling. Another washroom safety measure is to replace one of your existing bathtubs with a walk-in model. That’ll give your mobility impaired loved one the safety and confidence they need to bathe on their own. Additionally, you can put pads and non-slip pads at the bottom to offer better traction inside. As for the bath sink, countertop versions are the most secure option for access and support. The can be adjusted in the same manner as the kitchen. For homeowners with a free-standing sink, it’s a good idea to install an “L” bracket in the wall stud to remove the risks associated with leaning on it.

  1. Reorganize the Kitchen

Incorporate at least one accessible workplace in the kitchen that seniors can access, be it a fold-down table or a small dining set. Just make sure it can bear a considerable amount of weight. The workspace should also be able to accommodate frequently used items. Ensure these are accessible throughout the kitchen, as reaching for things in high cabinets could lead to injuries. Also, controls should be present in front of the stove to prevent seniors needing to reach across burners. Additionally, appliances and cookware with sensory alerts – like kitchen appliances with both lights and sounds and whistling ovens – are must-haves for homes with older adults.

Make sure the elders with mobility issues always feel safe and welcome by taking note of the arrangements they need. Start by making these upgrades to make seniors appreciate your home as well as life in general.