Over 50% of all seniors in Canada take five or more daily medications that include both OTC and prescription drugs. Taking multiple medications and adhering to complex medication schedules can make traveling seem daunting for many seniors and their caregivers. However, it doesn’t have to be as long as you adhere to proper medication management!
Retirement offers the perfect opportunity to travel and explore the world, but managing medications can become challenging with changing time zones, foreign food, and other travel responsibilities.
Thus, to make traveling more manageable for seniors, we have compiled a list of the top 10 tips for traveling with medications. These tips can be highly beneficial for maintaining even the most complex medication schedules and dealing with the many nuances of traveling.
10 Tips For Travelling With Medication For Seniors
Keeping up with complicated medical schedules can be difficult enough when at home, let alone when traveling. Delays, baggage issues, itinerary changes, and unplanned adventures and experiences are part and parcel of traveling. Thus, being prepared for the unexpected is vital to effective medication management.
Below are ten tips that will prepare seniors and caregivers for all the challenges they are likely to face with medical care while travelling.
1- Carry A List Of All Your Medications & Their Dosage
Whether travelling to a different city or a different country, it is always recommended to carry a list that contains all the names of the medications you are currently taking. This list should also mention how many times a day you take each medicine, at what times, and their correct dosage amounts.
It is also a good practice to keep a copy of all your prescriptions that you can show to customs or airport security if needed. You should also carry a doctor’s note for any paraphernalia that involves needles when travelling by air.
2- Travel With An Automatic Medication Dispenser
One of the best ways to ensure your medication schedule isn’t compromised in the chaos of travel is by carrying an electronic pill dispenser or automatic medication dispenser.
These programmable medication dispensing systems are designed to dispense the correct medication, in the correct doses, and at the appropriate times to ensure timeliness and eliminate medication errors.
These units are easy to carry, easy to program, and have tamper-proof compartments that eliminate the risk of unscheduled doses. Such devices can help make medication management easy, both at home and while travelling and are great for seniors that have complex medication regimens.
3- Keep Track Of Time Zone Changes
When travelling within Canada or overseas it is always vital to keep track of changing time zones and adjust your clocks, watches, and medical alarms accordingly.
It is also best to consult with your healthcare professional as to whether you should continue to take medications according to your home’s time zone or the time zone of the place you are travelling to.
4- Pack Your Medication Carefully
Ensure your medication is packed safely, and stored in its original containers with clear labeling. Also, make sure that the medication is stored in a storage box or container to avoid any damage.
This will help in passing through customs quickly and also make it easy for you to find the medications you need when you need them.
5- Ensure Necessary Medication Is Always Accessible
As a rule of thumb, all your medications should be kept in an easy-to-reach pocket in your hand-carry, fanny pack, carry-on bag, or laptop bag. The last thing you want to be doing is rummaging around your luggage looking for the medication you need.
Never pack your medication in a suitcase as you likely won’t have access to your luggage in case of any travel delays. Also lost luggage is a common issue when flying by air so it is always best to have all your medication on you at all times.
6- Make Sure You Are Up To Date With Your Vaccinations
After the global pandemic, vaccinations have become more important than ever. Depending on the country you plan on visiting you may need to take certain vaccinations at least six weeks before your departure.
7- Research What Food & Beverages Would Compliment Your Diet
Maintaining your ideal diet at home is easy. However, when travelling you could be faced with a wide array of foreign food and beverage choices that could negatively interact with your medication.
This is why it is best to research what food and drink options are available in the destination country that you are travelling to that most closely complements your current diet plan. Also, it is best to consult with your healthcare professional as to what you can and simply cannot eat before travelling.
8- Be Aware Of Any Foreign Medication Restrictions
Countries have different restrictions on the types of prescribed medications you can and cannot bring. Some countries go as far as restricting Over-The-Counter (OTC) drugs such as Tylenol and Aspirin, as well as certain supplements. Always check on any potential restrictions when travelling abroad.
9- Consult With Your Health Care Provider Before Travelling
There are many reasons why it is essential to consult with your doctor or healthcare professional before travelling locally or internationally. Depending on your medical condition, your healthcare expert can help prepare a travel health kit with all the medical supplies and prescription medicine you will need on your travels.
They can also advise on what to eat and drink while travelling and explain any changes to the current medication schedule that may have to be implemented. They can also prepare a doctor’s note and prescriptions for all medications to help you be better prepared when passing through airport security and customs.
10- Purchase Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is essential for seniors when flying to an overseas destination. Having travel insurance can give seniors further peace of mind as if anything were to happen to them, their insurance policy would cover any emergency services, hospitalization, and travel delays they may encounter.
Contact Northwood Intouch For All Your Senior Care Needs!
Northwood Intouch is a Nova Scotian-owned and operated not-for-profit that specializes in senior care services. With over 60 years of experience,a wide product range and variety of services, we are the trusted name in senior health care. Give us a call today at +1 (902) 454-8311 to learn more!