The Elderly Traveller
Age is no longer an obstacle to travel. However, there are potential
risks and problems for the elderly which, if addressed, can minimise the
risk of ill-health.
Before the trip
- Plan your trip well in advance. Choose a more relaxed itinerary.
- Consult your doctor about : - Appropriate vaccination schedules :
Some vaccines require several weeks before giving effective protection;
- Anti-malarial measures : Ask about anti-mosquito measures and
the necessity of anti-malarial medication. Be aware of the side
effects of these medications;
- Participation in strenuous activities like health spas and trekking.
- Existing chronic illnesses : Have your doctor review your present
health status and see if there are any special measures that need
to be taken for the trip. Ensure that you have enough medication for
the trip. Keep your medication with you at all times, especially when
boarding the plane. Don' t keep your medication in your suitcase!
- Personal effects : Bring appropriate clothing for your destination.
For warm climates, pack loose-fitting cotton clothing, sun-glasses,
hat, insect repellents and sun-tan lotion. For cold climates, do not
forget warm water-resistant clothes, hat, gloves and lip balm. A travel
health kit containing items such as dressings, anti-diarrhoeal tablets
and water purification tablets is useful.
- Medial insurance : Advisable for those going on a long trip or to
faraway places and should include provisions for emergency evacuation.
- Exercise : A fit traveller will be more able to weather the effects
of travel and derive greater enjoyment from the trip. So start a gentle
exercise programme to prepare for the trip.
- Prevent blood clot in the legs : Blood clots in the legs are a well
recognised health risk especially during prolonged air flights. Try
to move around as much as possible and perform simple exercises whilst
in the aircraft. Elevation of the legs is beneficial.
- Acclimatisation : Elderly people need more time to adjust to the local
conditions of temperature, altitude, and culture. Wear appropriate clothes,
have plenty of rest and avoid strenuous activity. Take liberal amounts
of fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Constipation : This is often a problem because of the change of routine
and decreased fluid intake. Take plenty of fluids. The use of a mild
laxative may be occasionally necessary.
- Be vigilant on food and water hygiene : Whilst abroad, only drink
boiled or bottled water. Use water purification tablets if necessary.
Avoid ice-cubes or ice-cream of dubious source. Eat properly prepared
and well cooked food.
- Anti-mosquito measures : Avoid being bitten by mosquitoes! Wear long-sleeved
shirts and trousers. Use mosquito-repellents and netting. Most mosquitoes
bite during the dark, so it is best to stay indoors at night time.
- Rest : Adequate rest is important.
After the trip
- If you have any symptoms like fever, diarrhoea, vomiting or skin rash,
see your doctor as soon as possible and mention the places that you