Making Travel Accessible When Traveling Abroad With a Service Animal

Service animals

Accessibility when travelling

Know Before You Go! Accessibilty Tips for Mature Travelers Traveling With a Service Animal.

Accessibility of service animals can be a consideration of mature travelers when choosing their mode of travel, accommodations and vacation spot. For cruise enthusiasts for example, it is something the traveler looks at in hotels when travelling to their cruise ship, the airline that gets them there and the cruise ship itself. These will be covered in a series of articles to follow but today we are going to talk about general planning necessary to get your service animal safely into the country you wish to visit. Accessibility of a service animal may not be an issue in your country, but could be abroad.

If you are a traveler travelling with a service dog, special arrangements have to be made and investigated before embarking on your travel. Sometimes this can take up to a year’s planning……. so start now.

Depending on where you are going, some countries have restrictions on animals travelling through, or arriving in, the destination country so always do your homework. The country’s embassy or consulate can let you know details of documentation required, health certificates of the service animal needed and any quarantine requirements. If it is a foreign country with a predominate language other than English, these documents should also be translated into the language of the country in which you are travelling and should be readily available at all border crossings or security areas.

Always check with your vet on how travel in a foreign country is going to affect your service dog. Temperatures, humidity, availability of familiar pet food, and safe water need to be taken into account. You also should consider health insurance for your service animal as it can be quite costly should you run into a problem overseas.

As a final recommendation, outfit your dog with recognizable gear with the words “SERVICE ANIMAL” or “GUIDE DOG” written on the harness in bold letters. In order for people to know he/she is a service animal this must also be translated in the language of the country you are visiting. Bring a letter from your veterinarian stating why you require the service animal and finally, know the requirements you must adhere to upon re-entry back into your country of origin. Certain exit countries will trigger a requirement to screen your dog for diseases native to the country you were visiting.

Happy Travels!

 

 

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Money Saving Travel Tips For The Senior Traveller

Money saving travel tips

Whether across the country or around the world, travel expands your horizons and is a fun way to fill your time. It doesn’t have to drain your bank account, either, if you implement several money saving travel tips.

Evaluate Transportation

Sure you could gas up your car or fly across the country for your vacation, but you’ll spend a small fortune. Consider riding the train or bus to cut costs and discover sights and conversations you would have otherwise missed.

Eat on a Budget

Familiar chain restaurants and fancy dinners are fun but expensive meal options. Ask the locals where they eat, and discover tasty, diverse, authentic and affordable meals. A picnic in the park or dining out at lunch instead of dinner are additional ways to eat on a budget.

Ask for Discounts

Many places, including museums, theaters and sightseeing tours, offer a senior discount. Ask before you make reservations or purchase tickets, and be prepared to show proof of your age.

Sleep Tight

When reserving sleeping accommodations, ask for the senior discount. Mention any travel, auto or senior club memberships, too. You can also sleep tight and save money when you pay in advance, stay longer than a week or book a room through a bid site.

Go Off Season

Visit Europe in the fall or Florida in the summer to save money and enjoy lighter crowds. Be prepared, though, for less than ideal weather conditions when you schedule affordable off-season vacations.

Book Early

Most travel companies offer discounts for early bookings. The sooner you make your travel plans, the more money you can save.

Go With a Group

Enjoy group discounts when you travel with family, friends or a community group. Call ahead to make reservations if necessary.

Travel does not have to be excessively expensive. If you travel smart, you can see the world, even while on a tighter budget.

Cruise ship

Carribean Cruise

Overlooking Cabos from the Royal Carribean

Overlooking Cabos from the Royal Carribean

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Happy Father’s Day

Father's Day Greetings

Father’s Day Greetings

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads! Thank you for your sacrifices and love…….

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Wave Watching in Tofino

If you love to watch the waves in Tofino check this out:  Wave watching in beautiful Tofino

 

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Tips on How to Save Money When Grocery Shopping

artic3There is no question about it: food today costs more than it ever has.  While the prices of our favorite foods continue to rise, fortunately there are some things that we can all do to keep our grocery bills low and affordable.  Below are just 8 of the ways which will help you stay on (or under!) budget while still eating healthy when shopping at the market:

1. Eat Before You Shop

Many of us make impulse buys at the supermarket because we are hungry or are craving a certain flavor or food item.  Make sure that you enjoy a good meal before you head to the shops so that those cravings won’t interfere with the items you have already written down on your grocery list.

2. Follow the Sale

Don’t forget to check those weekly grocery store fliers!  You can find amazing deals on a number of preservatives and cleaning products, detergents and more if you purchase things when they are on sale.  If at all possible, purchase the maximum limit of that item and freeze it or store it away for later.

3. Invest in a Small Deep Freeze

Many have found it worthwhile to invest in a large chest freezer or deep freezer.  In fact, there are several which can be found on bargain websites for half price or even free. Craigslist, Kijiji, UsedEverywhere.com are great websites to find bargains.

4. Don’t Forget the Coupons

The weekly fliers that we receive may contain coupons.  But manufacturers and even the stores we shop at may have additional coupons available online.

Now is the time to become Internet savvy.  Visiting shop websites, manufacturer websites and especially well-known couponing websites online can shave several dollars off of each trip to the market.  Simply search for “couponing websites” on any search engine, include the country you live in, and browse for some fantastic deals.

5. Buy Freezer Bags

Family packs are the ideal way to shop when the items you need today are not at a discount price.  There may be only one of you, but if you purchase a family pack of chicken drum sticks, for example, you can use what you need for a meal or two and store the rest away in single-serving sized freezer bags for future meals.  This also applies to fruit and vegetables when they are in season (such as berries or tropical fruits like mangoes and peaches), as well as other meats.

6. Keep Track of Your Points

Most mainstream supermarkets offer some sort of point system where purchasing certain items each week will give you points which can be used to save money on future purchases, take trips, obtain other goods, and so on.  These point systems can be extremely lucrative, so be sure to take these into account when meal planning each week.

7. Go for No-Name Brands

Store brands often come from the same producers or manufacturers as name brand goods, and yet can be as much as half the cost as the leading name brand product.  Some of the best no-name brand products include:

Canned fruits, vegetables and meats
Pantry staples such as ketchup, mustard and vinegar
Over the counter medications
Produce

8. Visit the Dollar Store

The dollar stores of today are teeming with fantastic finds that can have you saving 70% or more off of regular shelf prices.  Cleaning products, housewares, and even toothbrushes are far less expensive here, and yet often boast the same name brands that one could find in  other stores. Many also have canned food products that you can take advantage of.

9. Take a Trip to a  Farmer’s Market

One of the healthiest and most cost-effective shopping decisions one can make is to visit their local farmer’s market.  As a growing number of seniors are seeking to obtain food from natural and healthy sources, the farmer’s market has become the best way to obtain healthy and organic goods at rock bottom prices.  See if any are taking place in your area.  Most include seasonable goods, but during the late spring, summer and early fall months, one can buy, store, and freeze all of the vegetables, fruits and sometimes meats they may need for the next several months.

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How Technology Will Help Us Stay Young and Healthy

artic2Technology is more than simply making smaller mobile phones or increasing internet accessibility.  Innovative companies have already provided insights as to where technology will likely take us within the next decade or so.  For seniors, there are a variety of thrilling opportunities that we will (or already can) take advantage of, and it all starts with the most important item of all: our health.

Easier Access to Medical Help

It has only been within the past couple of years in which individuals could easily access professional medial personnel through their smartphone.  Today anyone of any age can receive medical advice for non-life threatening health issues by initiating a video call with a doctor.  While this technology is still in its early stages, Skyping with a doctor is only expected to increase in popularity and necessity as time goes on.

One obvious challenge which doctors who provide Internet-based medical advice to patients face is that they do not have access to their medical records.  With this growing demand for video calls with doctors, it is expected that soon anyone’s medical records will be available online.

What also may go hand in hand with this is remote patient monitoring.  Many apps already allow for patients to monitor their weight, their glucose levels, document their symptoms and then send these results to their doctors.  If this is tied in with online medical records, doctors who assist patients from afar will have the information they need to know to provide the best medical advice and treatment possible.

Robots as Caregivers

Japanese engineer Toshiharu Mukai has developed a “Robot-Teddy Bear”, a warm and fuzzy assistant who is able to help older or disabled individuals sit, stand, and move into a wheelchair.  This is one invention that would be warmly welcomed by health care workers who perform lifting tasks such as these 40 times a work day, if not more.

Increased Independence

The primary reason why an individual or their family member may choose to place someone into an assisted living facility is because they fear that they are no longer able to perform tasks safely which are necessary for having a happy and healthy life.  In less than ten years it is expected that technologies will exist which will help seniors maintain their independence for as long as possible.

Driving and Navigation: It’s no secret that Google is working hard at developing the world’s first “self-driving” vehicle.  So far these prototypes are able to not only drive and park, but they can help those who choose to drive easily navigate hazardous road conditions or even recognize an inattentive driver (at which point the car takes over all driving).  “Talking” street signs through a Bluetooth device are also expected to be introduced so those who have difficulties seeing at night (an issue which often plagues those in their golden years) can hear street signs and continue to drive comfortable after the sun has set.

Advanced Safety Monitoring: Forget nanny-cams.  It is expected that in a few short years sophisticated monitoring systems will be available which allow friends and loved ones of older or disabled individuals to be informed of a change in behaviour, and if something should be done.  Some of these monitors may advise you of when and where a loved one has fallen and if they have gotten up.  Other systems will be able tell you if or when an older loved one has taken his or her medication, or if they haven’t gotten out of bed.

“Aging” Homes: There are already stair lifts, walk-in tubs and waist-high power outlets being added to homes of seniors.  But the 21st century senior home will go beyond these accommodations.  Homes will soon be able to be outfitted with sensors that will inform third parties if a stove burner has been left on after a pot has been removed, or if a garage door has been left open.  Many will tell you if the front door is unlocked.  It is expected that these tools will become so sophisticated that your appliances will even be able to communicate with one another to relay messages (i.e. your refrigerator will be able to tell your mother’s television that it’s door has been left open.  The television will be able to relay that information to your mother the moment she turns it on.).

Lights Are Everywhere

Nowadays having a flashlight attached to a set of keys or included with a mobile phone is commonplace.  Some of the trendiest bags and purses available already offer lights on the inside.  We should continue to expect to see lighting become available in some of the least expected for most clever of places, such as on restaurant menus or have street signs light up at night.

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Discovering Your Hobbies and Passions

artic1Investigate Your Interests and Passions

The benefits of having a hobby are vast, from improving your immune function and memory to reducing stress and enjoying better quality sleep.  For those who are newly retired and are not used to such a large amount of free time, discovering that passion you have not had the time to chase all of these years can be difficult.  What are you interested in?  What should you do?  What can you do?  These are all fair questions that one should ask, and they often find the answers by taking these steps below:

Go For A Walk

It sounds simple, but it’s true.  Whether by foot, with assistance, or on a scooter, start taking regular trips around the neighborhood at the same time each day.  Not only is this a physically healthy activity, but it will quickly become a social activity.  Soon before you know it, you’ll be striking up conversations with others and finding out what activities are available to you in your area as well as finding out what others enjoy doing.  One or many of their hobbies may perk your interest, and these new friends will be an excellent resource to help get you started.

Do Something You Love, Something You Hate, And Something Unknown

At this point in our lives, we know what we love and what we don’t.  Some of us may love gardening, a very rewarding hobby to explore once retired.  Others may love painting, or crafting or uncovering the roots of their family genealogy.  For others, any of these options may be snooze-inducing laborious tasks that they would never take pleasure in.  Others still may have never considered these options.

One should always follow their heart and do what they love.  This should be your primary hobby.  But as you work on this primary hobby, don’t reject the opportunity to explore other ideas and activities. Something which you may have thought you’d absolutely hate (such as seniors watercise or Sudoku puzzles) can turn into a fun social event once you realize it is not so much about how well one can exercise in water or solve a math equation than it is to simply challenge oneself while chatting and laughing with others.

Embrace Technology

We all get into patterns in how we do things and perform certain tasks.  In some instances, taking the time to learn certain technologies may not only make some things easier, but it can open up brand new possibilities.  Many grandparents are thrilled to learn about video chat through Skype and are now able to communicate with their grandchildren who live across the country or even on other continents at any time of the day. Many read bedtime stories to their grandchildren via Skype at night and that becomes a hobby. Anything you love, enjoy or are passionate about can become a hobby!

Another huge benefit to getting online is checking out new hobby ideas.  Social media sites like Pinterest are teeming with fantastic craft and gardening ideas, while other websites provide hobby information, gaming opportunities, and social interaction.

Stay Open

Now unlike ever before you have the time to indulge in new activities.  When something may sound ridiculous, don’t immediately dismiss it.  Consider it and how it can benefit or detract from your life. Now is the time to take chances and explore what it is you really enjoy.  What you discover after all of these years may surprise you.

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Senior Agencies / Resources by state (United States)

resources-usaAlabama – Department of Senior Services

Alaska – Division of Senior and Disabilities Services

Arizona – Aging and Adult Administration

Arkansas – Division of Aging and Adult Services

California – Department of Aging

Colorado – Division of Aging and Adult Services

Connecticut – Aging Services Division

Delaware – Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities

District of Columbia – Office on Aging

Florida – Department of Elder Affairs

Georgia – Division of Aging Services

Hawaii – Executive Office on Aging

Idaho – Commission on Aging

Illinois – Department on Aging

Indiana – Division of Aging

Iowa – Department of Elder Affairs

Kansas – Department for Aging and Disability Services

Kentucky – Department For Aging & Independent Living

Louisiana – Governor’s Office of Elderly Affairs

Maine – Office of Elder Services

Maryland – Department of Aging

Massachusetts – Executive Office of Elder Affairs

Michigan – Office of Services to the Aging

Minnesota – Board on Aging

Mississippi – Council on Aging

Missouri – Division of Health and Senior Services

Montana – Office on Aging

Nebraska – Health and Human Services – State Unit on Aging

Nevada – Division for Aging Services

New Hampshire – Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services

New Jersey – Division of Aging Services

New Mexico – Aging and Long-Term Services Department

New York – Office for the Aging

North Carolina – Division of Aging and Adult Services

North Dakota – Aging Services Division

Ohio – Department of Aging

Oklahoma – Department of Human Services

Pennsylvania – Department of Aging

Rhode Island – Department of Elderly Affairs

South Carolina – Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging

South Dakota – Office of Adult Services & Aging

Tennessee – Commission on Aging and Disability

Texas – Department of Aging and Disability Services

Utah – Division of Aging & Adult Services

Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living

Virginia – Department for the Aging

Washington – Aging and Long-Term Support Division

West Virginia – Bureau of Senior Services

Wisconsin – Bureau of Aging and Disability Resources

Wyoming – Aging Division

 

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Senior Agencies / Resources by state (Canada)

resources-canadaBritish Columbia

Alberta

Saskatchewan

Manitoba

Ontario

Quebec

New Brunswick

Nova Scotia

Prince Edward Island

Newfoundland & Labrador

Yukon

Northwest Territories

Nunavut

Federal 1

Federal 2

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Travelling as a single senior over 50. What are the options?

GolferIn the past, being a senior over 50 years of age typically brought about visions of puttering around the garden or enjoying a sunny afternoon from the front porch rocker. However, as the price of traveling has continued to fall, more and more seniors are beginning to trade in their rockers for a passport.

For some, traveling solo may be new and uncharted territory. However, there are many great over 50 friendly travel destinations that offer enough relaxing, fun and excitement to make you forget your hesitation to travel alone and have the time of your life.

 

So, what are the best travel options for single seniors over 50?
Rest & Relax

Take a relaxing trip to a resort destination, such as Hawaii, where you can kick back and enjoy the pampering of your life. Travelling during the off-peak season (spring or fall) will allow you to avoid the crowds and fuss of the younger generations and the heat, yet still be able to enjoy the sandy beaches and lavish accommodations.

Volunteer & Vacation

See the world and give back to it at the same time by going on a ‘volunteer vacation’. You can combine your desire to improve the world with your love of traveling solo. For example, you could spend some time teaching English to schoolchildren in another country. Organizations such as Global Volunteers and Cross-Cultural Solutions offer ‘volunteer vacations,’ or you can search for an offer that is specially designed for your interests.

Regardless of age, being a well-prepared traveler is always the best choice. However, as a single traveler over 50 years of age, there may be a few additional things on your checklist.

Travel Insurance – While seniors may have to pay more, they are also more likely to need it. Find out what your medical insurance covers and where, and pay particular attention to evacuation insurance that gets you the emergency medical treatment you may need.
Health & Medication – Keep all medications in their original containers and be sure to bring a full supply with you. If you need special assistance, such as a power-wheelchair or walker, research your destination and book any accommodations ahead that you may need to make your trip more enjoyable.

There are many great options for senior friendly travel around the world. Traveling solo can be just as fun and invigorating as it was when you were a young adventurer. Being over 50 years of age really only means one thing when it comes to traveling – you have more time to do what you want.

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