Now is the best time!
The over 50s age group loves to travel. They book 35% of all package tours and 80% of all cruises. What's more, they travel more often, stay longer and spend more money than younger folk. While they will happily choose a domestic holiday destination, they also love cultural tours overseas. Health tourism in particular is enjoying a boom (Source: German Ministry of Economics and Technology/German language). Many tour operators even send medics along on the trip too to look after those guests with special needs. If you keep any eye on a couple of extra things, you will stay fit and healthy on holiday – no matter what age.
Discuss your travel plans with your doctor. He will help you choose your destination and the means of transport to get there. He also knows what vaccinations are necessary and where you can find medical help in the country you're visiting. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice on what medicines you should have in your first-aid kit.
Having a problem getting about is no reason to stay at home. Many airlines such as British Airways have a care and support service. You merely have to inform the airline in good time and reserve an easily accessible seat when you make the booking. Ask your GP for a medical care form.
Even if you are fit on your feet, you should arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes before departure to give yourself plenty of time to check in and reach the gate with time to spare.
Pack your documents
If you have a chronic illness, you should also take with you documents about your illness in addition to your passport.
The Senioren-Ratgeber/German language in the “Apotheken Umschau”, a guide issued by German pharmacies, recommends taking a medical report or the results of tests and examinations (ECG, X-rays, blood count), so a doctor at your destination has all the information quickly at hand in an emergency.
Depending on where your destination is, you should have the documents translated into that language or at least into English to avoid language problems.
Remember the vaccinations
The risk of becoming infected with diseases such as typhoid, hepatitis, yellow fever or malaria is highest in countries with a tropical climate. Vaccinations and preventive medicines offer the best protection.
Find out about the health risks at your destination before you leave. The Techniker Krankenkasse/German language has pointed out that the body’s production of protective antibodies may decrease or slow down with advancing age. So plan a longer run-in time for necessary and recommended vaccinations. Before you set off on your travels, also think about the vaccinations against influenza and pneumonia that are also recommended in Germany.
Your GP will best be able to advise you what to have in your travel first-aid kit. He will also be able to tell you whether you are allowed to take as much medicine with you as you’ll need for the whole time you're in the foreign country. You can also ask the respective country's embassy about this.
Sometimes an attestation is needed before you can import a drug into a foreign country. If you are travelling to a country in a different time zone, ask your doctor beforehand when you have to take your medicine – adjusted to local time. (Source: Senioren-Ratgeber/German language)
Arrive feeling on top of the world
To eliminate the risk of traveller's thrombosis, buy medi's travel socks from your medical retailer. With their controlled pressure gradient decreasing up towards the thigh, they activate the muscle pump and thus the blood circulation.
On long-haul flights, you should also drink twice as much as on the ground. Water, fruit juice mixed with mineral water or herbal teas are the best in this case. Avoid "diuretic" drinks such as coffee, tea or alcohol.
Wear loose-fitting clothing and comfortable footwear. Give your blood circulation a boost with exercises such as rocking your feet between the ball of the foot and the heel and rotating your feet in a circular motion. Take every opportunity to stretch your legs. Each time you flex your muscles, it promotes the return flow of blood to the heart.
Rule of thumb: go on holiday relaxed and don't take on or plan too much in advance. Give yourself time to become familiar with your destination. You will find out soon enough, whether it will be the Alps, a cruise or Asia. The world is your oyster. Even – and in particular – if you're no longer the youngest.