Snowbirds: Make sure your health doesn't head south
Planning Ahead Thousands of Canadian seniors flock to the Florida sun each year to escape the unforgiving Canadian winter.
The Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA) advises snowbirds to visit their doctor at least 90 days before travelling for a general health check. As well as advising seniors to get an annual flu shot whether they travel or not, the CSA also suggests that snowbirds “speak with your doctor about any other vaccinations that you may require, including tetanus, hepatitis A-B or even a pneumonia shot.”
Travel medical insurance is an important part of any trip away. The CSA advises that snowbirds purchase insurance before they leave their home province because provincial health plans usually provide minimal coverage when leaving the country.
“Notify your travel insurance provider of your travel dates when your plans are finalized, and ensure your policy is paid in full before you leave,” says the CSA.
If it’s your first snowbird experience it’s important to work out what kind of experience you want before making any arrangements.
Protecting your home
The CSA suggests that you ask a friend or relative to inspect the interior of your house because, during winter months, “many insurance companies require that you have someone check your home at least once a week to ensure that pipes have not frozen or ruptured.”
Store valuables in a safety deposit box and, in addition to installing a lock pin on windows and sliding doors, don’t forget to properly secure all pet doors: “They are a favourite point of entry for burglars, and can be used by small animals and birds,” the CSA advises.
If it’s your first snowbird experience it’s important to work out what kind of experience you want before making any arrangements. Do you want to be around a lot of other people, or do you want more privacy? Are you a golf nut or do you prefer lounging by the pool with a book?
These simple considerations will go a long way to determining the success of your trip away. It’s your experience so be proactive in your planning to make sure that when you return to Canada in the spring you’ve had the best possible time.
The most important tip: have fun!
Prepare and enjoy your travels
Sandals and sunscreen packed for your travels south this winter? Packing isn’t complete until you include these important items.
☻ Passport and visas: Check requirements of destination countries.
☻ Travel documents: Tickets, booking information, travel insurance policy and international contact numbers for medical emergencies.
☻ Health information: Health insurance card and list of your medications, health conditions and allergies.
☻ Emergency contact information: Next-of-kin who can be reached while you are away.