Tips to ensure safe holiday travel for seniors

A holiday can quickly turn into a nightmare if you run out of your medications, or they are lost when you head to Hong Kong, but your luggage goes elsewhere.

Pharmacist Gerard Stevens AM has some great tips to ensure peace of mind when you head out the door, whether you are driving interstate or catching a flight overseas.

“Safe medications make safe holidays,” Mr Stevens said.

“A few simple preparations will ensure you are prepared for happy and healthy holidays.”

Carry your medication profile with you

If you’re on medications, especially life-saving ones – as many of us are – it can be a big worry if you run short a long way from home. It may be critical that you don’t miss a dose. Being able to explain exactly what you take and what dose can be an issue.

“Around one-in-five people aged 70 or older are on four or more medications, which they truly need. It can be difficult to remember all of the names and correct dosages,” said Mr Stevens, who is also founder and managing director of Webstercare.

“One solution is the PocketProfileTM. It contains a person's entire medication profile, including images of medications, and folds down to the size of a credit card, so it’s easy to keep in your purse or wallet.

“In an age where things are increasingly digital, users don’t need the latest gadgets, apps and electronic devices – it won’t run out of charge and it won’t shut down.”

The pocket card also lists the person's pharmacy and phone number, enabling a pharmacist at a holiday destination to simply ring the home pharmacy to confirm the medications that were prescribed before issuing emergency replacement medications to last the remainder of the holiday.

Have medications pre-packed for the duration of your trip

It is a good idea to have your local pharmacist prepare a pack to ensure you have enough medication for the duration of your trip and to ensure you also remember that you've taken your recommended doses.

The most widely used pack in Australia is the Webster-pak®. Your pharmacist will dispense your medications into a blister pack, containing the tablets and capsules needed at each time of day, for each day of the week. This makes it easy to manage your medication, and to ensure you have sufficient supplies.

Another option if you’re only travelling for a short time is a disposable pack that provides medication for four days. Initially designed for hospital discharge patients to allow for the continuous supply of medication, it can be used in any situation when a short supply of medication is required.

If going overseas, check your medication is legal

Some medications that are legal in Australia may be prohibited overseas. You can check with the Australian embassy in the countries you intend visiting. Make sure you take enough regular medication with you to last the entire trip as some drugs may not be available overseas.

“If you are travelling with prescribed medicine, ensure that it stays in the box with your name and pharmacy sticker on it to prove they are yours,” Mr Stevens said.

“If you are taking a large amount of medication with you, it’s wise to obtain a letter from your doctor stating why this is necessary.”

If in doubt, speak to your pharmacist

“Your local pharmacist is a wealth of knowledge and information. They can provide trusted advice to ensure you’re prepared to enjoy a wonderful – and safe – holiday.”

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