Safe holiday travel for seniors

Many older Australians will be hitting the roads, skies and seas this holiday season, and many will need to take essential medicines with them. But what happens if you run out of your medication or lose it while you’re away? Pharmacist Gerard Stevens shares his top tips to ensure you don’t and for how to cope if you do.

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“Safe medications make safe holidays,” says Mr Stevens. “There are a few simple things people can do to ensure they 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 of great concern 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,” warned Mr Stevens, managing director and founder of medication systems company Webstercare.

“One solution is Webstercare’s PocketProfile™ Card. 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,” says Mr Stevens.

PocketProfile™ won’t run out of charge and won’t shut down, and it contains your home pharmacy and phone number, enabling a pharmacist at your destination to contact your home pharmacy to confirm the medications you require before issuing emergency replacements.

“It is particularly helpful in emergency situations; medical staff can immediately see a patient’s medications and any other medical concerns. It also contains ‘in case of emergency’ contact details,” said Mr Stevens.

Get a pack made up with medications for the duration of your trip
It is a good idea to get a pack made up by your local pharmacist to ensure you have enough medication required for the duration of the trip and to ensure you remember your daily doses.

The most widely used pack in Australia is the Webster-pak®. It sets out all the tablets and capsules that need to be taken at each particular time of the day, for each day of the week. This makes it easy to manage medication. The pharmacist takes the doctor’s prescriptions and dispenses the medication into a blister pack.

It is also possible to get a smaller version called the Webster-pak® Interim, which is a disposable medication pack that can accommodate medication for a period of four days.

If going overseas, check your medication is legal
Some medications that are legal in Australia may be prohibited overseas and could land you in serious trouble if you try to get them through foreign customs without the appropriate documentation or packaging.

If in doubt, speak to your pharmacist
“Your local pharmacist is a wealth of knowledge and information. If in doubt, they can provide trusted advice to ensure that you’re prepared to go on a safe and wonderful holiday,” finished Mr Stevens.

Do you have to travel with medicines? Do you have any tips for safe travel with medication for our members?

Related articles:
Travelling with medicines
Nine medications you must pack
How to avoid medicine mistakes

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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