Smart Ways for Your Senior Clients to Travel Safely
As a follow-up to our 4-part Safe At Home series, it makes sense to explore smart ways for seniors (or anyone, of any age) to be safe away from home — even if that’s just a trip to the grocery store or mall.
Whether a senior is traveling locally or to a distant locale, here are six tips for safer excursions:
- Hug your purse. Too often women will absentmindedly leave their pocketbook in the child seat of a grocery cart and wander down the aisle. A lot of times, the pocketbook isn’t even closed! That’s just too tempting for some people, so why help a thief give in to temptation? Keep your pocketbook zipped or snapped shut, and keep it with you when you walk around the store. If the tote is too heavy to carry around, it’s time to lighten your load, rather than have an unscrupulous person do it for you. One alternative: a fanny pak, which stays snugly around your waist and leaves your arms and hands free for shopping.
- Watch your wallet. Men aren’t exempt from clever pickpockets. If you carry your wallet in a hip pocket, be sure to keep that pocket buttoned. Better: carry your wallet in a side or front pocket. That way it won’t fall out without you knowing it, or be easily accessible to someone else. There was a recent news story of a puppy, trained to fetch, that retrieved a wallet from the lawn outside a couple’s home — except it didn’t belong to them. It had fallen from the sanitation engineer’s pocket earlier in the day when he got out of his truck to right a trashcan. Fortunately the story had a happy ending, as the couple immediately contacted the grateful worker — who hadn’t yet realized his wallet was missing!
- Lock your hotel room door. Employees, hotel guests, delivery people, maintenance crews…all manner of people come and go in public venues such as hotels, at all hours. So just as with your purse or wallet, even if you only plan to walk 30 feet from your door, lock it and take your key or door card. It’s just smart — and safe. By the same token: always know where the emergency exits are located.
- Leave your expensive (or sentimental) jewelry at home. Unless you’re going to lock your jewels in the safe at the hotel or on the cruise ship, it’s smarter to bring inexpensive watches, earrings, necklaces, etc. on a trip. Not only will you keep from drawing unnecessary attention to yourself, you won’t worry about losing something irreplaceable.
- Leave nothing of value in your car. There are “watchers” in parking lots such as at the gym or mall who wait to see if you open your trunk to put valuables inside, then break in once you’re out of sight. This has happened to me, as well as to a friend — even though in her case, the purse was tucked under her driver’s seat and not visible. It was gone when she came out of the gym. If you have something of value that needs to stay in the car, place it in the trunk before you go to your next destination. And it goes without saying: lock all car doors!
- Consider senior travel insurance. Even those with pre-existing conditions are often eligible, as long as you inform your insurance carrier. This way no minor mishap or mix-up (such as forgetting to pack a needed medication) need ruin an otherwise fabulous trip.
Now you’re prepared for a smart, safe summer vacation that your reverse mortgage helped make possible. Remember the sunscreen!