Last winter, after David John, 64, had knee replacement surgery, the emergency room physician from Stafford Springs, Conn., decided to recuperate in Florida. He invited his then 84-year-old mother to join him. John hobbled around the airport with a cane, while his mother was in a wheelchair. When they landed, he counted 16 wheelchairs lined up at the gate.
Aging isn’t stopping older adults from being on the move. But you do need to be health-smart when you hit the road to travel . What if you are abroad, or across the U.S., and have an accident? What if a chronic illness flares up?
Sometimes, the fear of those health “what ifs” keeps people home. But that doesn’t have to be the case. “The good news is that airlines, cruises and resorts are better equipped than ever to deal with older adults who need help,” says John Schall, chief executive officer of Caregiver Action Network , a nonprofit for family caregivers. Here’s what experts advise:
Get prepared. Before you go, talk to your physician or a travel medicine specialist about your itinerary. Many large hospitals have travel clinics, or locate a specialist using the International Society of Travel Medicine’s directory . Disease-specific organizations may also have recommendations to make travel easier.
“Think about what can go wrong and plan ahead,” says John, the emergency room physician. Where is the nearest hospital? How would you get there? The ISTM directory can help you locate clinics around the world. You can also access a global directory of English-speaking doctors through the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers (or 716-754-4883).
Review insurance. Medicare typically does not cover health care costs outside the U.S. and its territories. Some Medigap supplemental insurance plans do offer coverage for foreign emergency health care . Note that in the U.S., health care may be costlier when traveling out of a Medicare Advantage plan’s local service network.
Consider buying travel insurance with medical coverage, which may cover expenses if you cancel the trip, need to be treated while traveling or need to be evacuated for medical care. Make sure the policy will cover your preexisting medical conditions. Shop coverage and costs at InsureMyTrip.com and SquareMouth.com , which offer policies from major travel insurers.
Read the full Kiplinger article online here: https://www.nasdaq.com/article/traveling-in-retirement-take-care-of-health-on-the-road-cm1142664