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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

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Santa Fe is known for its art, architecture -- and clean air. Photo from Tourism Santa Fe

Santa Fe is known for its art, architecture — and clean air. Photo from Tourism Santa Fe

Until I heard from Erin Lowry, a blogger for 1stClassMedical.com, I didn’t realize that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third largest cause of illness-related death in the United States after heart disease and cancer

As Erin points out, “COPD is a broad term for a group of diseases affecting the airways and lungs,” with chronic bronchitis and emphysema being the two most common types.

While the main cause is long-term exposure to cigarette smoke, Erin says “it’s also possible to get COPD from air pollution, chemicals and even dust. Outside toxins can worsen the effects of COPD, making it hard for COPD patients to go outside without having a flare up.”

And she adds that while there is no current cure for COPD, since damage to the airways… Continue reading

When I first saw this infographic from the UK company Computer Planet about the health benefits of playing video games, I thought, “Hmm, interesting, but how much relevance does it have to baby boomers?”

After all, the prototypical image of gamers is of young men — who, as the infographic itself suggests, are seen as “anti-social hermits who shut themselves in their bedrooms day and night.”

And along with that image goes empty pizza boxes, bottles of soda or beer, maybe a haze of cigarette smoke…you get the picture.

Then I did a little research and was surprised to read that nearly a quarter of all gamers in the U.S. are age 50-plus, outdistancing those aged 36-49 and not too far behind the under 18 and 18-35 age ranges.

There’s more: according to surveys by Pew Research, in 2017 55 percent of Americans aged 50 and up played video… Continue reading

Today’s guest post is by Helen Nichols, whose website Well-BeingSecrets.com focuses on health issues. This post is adapted from  a longer article on her site about the health benefits of travel. It’s a well-researched piece complete with links to a variety of insightful scientific studies, reports and other documentation.

By Helen Nichols

Traveling has the potential to make us healthier, both physically and psychologically.

We may not be actively aware of it, but traveling can bring about substantive positive changes, which can take effect both during the course of travel and over the longer term.

Boosts Your Immunity

Travel helps strengthen your immune responses to bacteria, viruses, and other foreign bodies.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should be careless about hygiene and sanitation while traveling or put yourself at direct risk of getting ill.

However, when you visit new places, you naturally give your body… Continue reading

Before you fly, check out these tips to make things go more smoothly

Before you fly, check out these tips to make things go more smoothly

Leading-edge baby boomers — those born in the late 1940s — are now edging into their 70s, and with that inevitably come new challenges when we travel, no matter how healthy we are.

Much as we may hate to admit it (and I’m a prime offender in this regard), we may walk a bit slower, require assistance from time to time, and need to take care of ourselves a bit more.

Flying and airports can be especially vexing, and so I was struck by this piece by Bay Area freelance journalist Scott Morris from the excellent website caring.com that’s filled with tips on how to make the flying and airport experience a bit smoother.

Here’s Scott on a topic of interest to anyone who flies, but especially to older travelers:

By Scott Morris

Flying can be difficult… Continue reading

Before you fly, make sure your medical condition won't hold you back

Before you fly, make sure your medical condition won’t hold you back

Note: This is the fourth in a series of guest posts on traveling with a medical condition by British writer Laura Miller. In this post, Laura provides advice on flying with a medical condition and obtaining the right vaccinations and visas for your trip.

By Laura Miller

Flying with a medical condition

While traveling with many medical conditions is generally safe, airlines do have the right to deny passengers who could suffer complications in the air.

For those travelling by plane, the most common in-flight problems are:

• Neurologic events
• Cardiac events
• Respiratory events
• Gastrointestinal events
• Vasovagal syncope (fainting)

If you’re worried about the risk of being denied passage, it’s worth speaking to your doctor to ask for medical clearance. Consider if any of the following apply:

• You could compromise the safety of… Continue reading

South America is not out of reach for travelers with disabilities. Photo from riodejaneiro.com.

South America is not out of reach for travelers with disabilities. Photo from riodejaneiro.com

Continuing our series on traveling with a medical condition — written by British freelance journalist Laura Miller — we’ll focus today on traveling with a disability.

If you missed Laura’s first post in  the series, you can read her top tips for traveling with a medical condition here.

Laura provides a wealth of tips and advice that I’m sure many baby boomer travelers — and their traveling partners — will find helpful and reassuring.

By Laura Miller

In today’s world, travel isn’t restrictive. Regardless of whether you’re fit and healthy, have a physical impairment, learning disability, or any other condition, there’s no reason to  avoid traveling.

You can visit even the most exotic of destinations: from South America to Southampton, a disability shouldn’t stop you from seeing the world.

Here’s how:

Planning… Continue reading

A Malaysian medical team at work; if you carry your medical ID, they'll know how to treat you

A Malaysian medical team at work; if you carry your medical ID, they’ll know how to treat you

With the oldest baby boomers now in their early seventies and the youngest in their early fifties, traveling with medical conditions has become a major issue for the baby boom generation.

British freelance writer Laura Miller has compiled a practical guide to coping with medical conditions while on the road (or in the air, on the water, etc.), so that all of us with medical issues can enjoy our travels to the utmost.

Her guide is long enough that I’ll be running it over the course of  several posts, so stay tuned for more. My thanks to Laura for providing us access to this important series.

By Laura Miller

Having a chronic or serious medical condition doesn’t mean you can’t travel safely — but you will need to take… Continue reading

Active travel like this European bike tour is loaded with health benefits for boomers

Active travel like this European bike tour is loaded with health benefits for boomers

Most of us probably don’t travel for our health — but generally speaking,  it’s a very good perk, especially for baby boomers.

Studies have shown that leisure travel can be good medicine.

There’s straight-up wellness travel, of course, such as visiting a health spa to lose weight.

But travel in and of itself can also do the job.

Here’s why:

  • Travel helps reduce stress and promote relaxation by taking a break from routine.
  • Travel usually results in greater physical activity, particularly walking. But you might also learn tai chi in China, practice yoga in India, or bicycle around Europe.
  • Travel promotes brain health by challenging us with new and different experiences and environments. It can potentially help ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  • Travel can also help ward off depression… Continue reading
Laos' Pak Ou Caves are a site for Mekong River-based meditation. Photo from Travel Laos.

Laos’ Pak Ou Caves are a site for Mekong River-based meditation. Photo from Travel Laos.

In recognition of Global Wellness Day — June 11 this year — I thought it would be apropos to mention a few of the more unusual ways to promote health while traveling. As a baby boomer, I’m prone to the usual stiff joints and other nagging ailments, and love the idea of medical tourism, even if it’s mostly an excuse to go somewhere exotic.

  • Water-based Meditation.

While I don’t practice meditation, I have a few good friends who do, and they always seem focused and calm. Does meditation have this effect, or are naturally calm and focused people drawn to meditation?

I don’t know, but I do know I could use a little more calmness and focus in my life, and I love being on water, so maybe I’ll try:

The Mekong Spa at Belmond… Continue reading

First step to traveling abroad: get a passport.

First step to traveling abroad: get a passport.

A recent British Airways survey of 2,000 randomly chosen U.S. baby boomers (aged 55-70) asked what their biggest regrets were in life.

About one out of five (women 22 percent, men 17 percent) responded that they wish they had traveled more.

The majority of those respondents cited responsibilities at work and home that ate up their time — and what they believed would be prohibitive expense — as to why they hadn’t pursued their travel dreams.

About half the men surveyed and more than 60 percent of the women had never gotten passports, mainly due to the perceived expense of international travel.

More than a fifth of all those surveyed now believed that not taking vacations had had a negative effect on their health. And of those who did take vacations, 10 percent said they had worked more than an… Continue reading

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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