Senior travel tips: Medical emergencies

Traveling is an activity many seniors enjoy. Taking precautions is important at any age, but a real necessity for seniors. Even the most healthy seniors are susceptible to medical problems, especially when away from home and daily routines. I would like to share some hints which will help seniors to cope with medical issues and emergencies while on the road.

1. Always carry identification, medical cards and emergency contact information. Wear medical alert necklaces or bracelets and carry information cards for implanted medical devices.

2. Doctor's phone numbers are vital. These should include your primary care physician and all specialists routinely seen.

3 If you do not have a living will in place, you might consider having this done before you travel.

4. All medication, including over-the-counter products, should be kept with you in a carry-on bag. In addition, carry a written list of daily medications, including the dosage, time of day taken, and the number of times taken per day.

5. Stay hydrated. Dehydration is one reason seniors are admitted to the hospital. Drink plenty of water and other fluids while traveling.

6. Schedule enough time for sleep and rest. Don't overdo the sightseeing, wining and dining.

7. Always inform your traveling companion or tour guide if you are feeling ill or experiencing symptoms of illness. Don't suffer in silence.

8. If you seek help from an emergency room or are admitted into the hospital while away from home, ask questions. Make sure you and your companion are kept informed on test and lab results.

9. If possible, secure your medical records before you are discharged. Call your doctor before you leave for home to schedule a follow-up appointment as soon as possible.

10. Have a safe, healthy and fun trip.

I would like to acknowledge the staff at Raleigh General Hospital in Beckley, W.Va., for their diligent pursuit of the cause of my husband's symptoms and for the excellent medical care he received. If you must be admitted to the hospital two days before Christmas many miles from home, Raleigh General Hospital is a good place to be.

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Volume 3, Issue 1, Posted 7:59 PM, 01.04.2011