By Samuetta Hill Drew
For many seniors this summer will be their first vacation travel by car, plane or cruise ship since the onset of COVID. Even though many have received the COVID booster shots where many did not, there are some summer travel safety tips seniors should consider practicing regardless of the COVID booster category they fall in. I believe it is reasonable to assume COVID has been diminished some allowing many seniors to venture out and resume their travel plans, but it in no way has gone away.
It is important to assess your risk factors prior to traveling. You do not want a road trip, plane ride or cruise trip to result in illness. One’s age can make the symptoms and complications of COVID more critical, so assessing your health and general health of those traveling with you is crucial. It is important to consider the overall health of the people you may be visiting as well. If there are any signs of illness, it may be best to reconsider your travel plans.
A definite safety recommendation for seniors is to wear sturdy comfortable shoes. Slips and falls are always a possibility – therefore, steer clear of cute loosely fitted sandals. You want to stay steady on your feet whether you are sightseeing or rushing to your gate to catch a flight. Supportive footwear will provide you with the needed balance and bounce.
Social distancing continues to be a good safe practice not only for COVID, but other diseases also. Continue to practice the six feet away from older family members and friends during your travels. It is understood this may be difficult, especially if you are seeing people that you have not seen in months or since COVID, but error on the side of safety for everyone. Those brief encounters of affection can result in an infection. Continue to use the air hugs, elbow bumps and other creative safe ways to display your love.
If the weather permits, you may want to get together around the dining table outdoors at a restaurant, a deck or patio. This may be the best method for seeing individuals you have not seen in quite a while. Try to make those first time visits memorable, yet safe.
Try to keep your visits to small groups as much as possible. The more people you interact with (especially in higher-risk settings like in the airport, a store, or in someone’s home), the higher your chances of exposure to the coronavirus. Ten or fewer people may be best.
Lastly, you may want to consider a medical alert device. If you have a medical condition that puts you at risk for a fall, fainting, or any condition that could leave you unable to call for help, a medical alert pendant can be a lifesaver, especially if you are far from home.
If you already have a medical alert device, speak with your provider before you leave to make sure it will work while you are traveling. Keeping an Eye on Safety is always important for seniors, but practicing safe summer traveling can just make the trip even more enjoyable while away and upon your return home.