BY CAROL ABAYA
THE SANDWICH GNERATION
Question: I am 76 and in excellent health. I want to visit my home town in Italy. I left there 50 years ago. I’ve been writing to cousins for years and now want to see them all. My son, in particular, is overprotective and doesn’t want me to go alone. He says, “you’re too old.” Need support.
Answer: “Old” age is a matter of attitude, especially if you’re physically healthy, rather than chronological age. So, go for it!
One random survey of 200 people of all ages shows that attitude is a key determining factor in whether a person is “old.” “People are old when they think they are,” was one person’s comment. Those surveyed also said that how a person walks and moves around is also an indicator of “age.”
As you’re visiting relatives, your son shouldn’t worry. They will make sure you stay in safe hotels and are steered to taking reliable tours. Also they will be there just in case you do get sick.
It is advisable to take out a special medical insurance policy - just in case. Make sure it includes not only hospital and doctors bills but also “medivac” benefits (plane transportation).A friend of mine years ago maxed out two credit cards when he got very sick in China. The travel insurance reimbursed him for all the expenses, including air fare.
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Question: My mother, 77, wants to take a Mediterranean cruise this spring, so she can visit her homeland. She wants me to go with her. I am wary. First, because of her age. Second, because I’ve never traveled overseas. Should I discourage her?
Answer: Encourage her! A well-planned trip, regardless of one’s age, can be a marvelous experience. Visiting her homeland and possibly seeing relatives can provide a great emotional high. Certainly for you, it would open-up new life experience doors.
A few TIPS:
• Choose a trip that fits her physical capabilities. Some very large ships must anchor offshore in small ports. A smaller boat is needed to reach shore, and the transfer can be tricky. So choose the right kind of ship.
• Make sure you take current medical records, a list of all medications taken and dosages, extra medicine, and duplicate prescriptions in case medicine is lost. Never pack medicine in your suitcase. Carry them with you.
• On the plane, put a pillow behind you just above your waist and get up and walk around once an hour. Also, drink a lot of liquids. Plane air is much dryer than outside air.
Your mother is still young. A 99-year-old woman I know, who still plays duplicate bridge and drives, has already planned an European river cruise for the spring. Either her granddaughter or one of her daughters accompanies her.
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