The benefits of traveling for seniors has been a well researched topic for the past decade, because of the positive impact traveling has in the cognitive, physical and spiritual aspect of senior citizens. The new opportunities for seniors who travel are numerous, specially now that we are living a longer and more active life. If you`re a Baby Boomer, about 80% of those in your generation consider travel on top of their bucket list.
Travel Improves Mental Health:
Stepping out of your routine to visit new places can improve mental health, which helps slow down decline in memory, and by way of learning about new places and languages, improves the brain`s neuroplasticity. Travel does provide a path to a healthier aging process as it also makes the traveler more stable on the emotional front, developing more social skills through the interaction of people from different places and cultures.
Cognitive Health Benefits:
The interaction of traveling is a positive challenge that stimulates the brain, engaging the traveler to keep the mind alert and creating new neural pathways that exercise the brain to prevent cognitive decline. Learning new words and customs in other languages, breathing the new air, trying new foods and smells – all play a role in the well being of the senior, making the person more open minded to the world and the surroundings. The combination of mental and physical exercise is the best combination to keep the brain sharp and alert as we age.
Physical Health Improvement:
Meeting new people and enjoying new leisure activities also reduce stress, which helps prevent heart disease and many other stress-related diseases. In a nine-year study, men who did not take an annual vacation were shown to have a 20 percent higher risk of death and about a 30 percent greater risk of death from heart disease (Global Coalition on Aging, 2018).
Taking tours keep seniors mobile and active when visiting places, and most traveling to Caribbean destinations will practice more swimming, walking, and sightseeing activity. A case to mention is that of a 95-year old woman with mobility limitations that had 10 years without going into a swimming pool. On her first ever trip to the Caribbean island of Dominican Republic she managed to get into the pool several times with the help of staff (The Assisted Villas).
If you are among the retired citizens that want to enjoy the freedom of travel but need to have specialized care or mobility-related access in the resort, it is good to know which destinations will meet your needs. The hospitality industry still has limitations on what they can do, and it is more expensive to get accommodations in a luxury villa with full staff. Traveling in groups usually is more cost effective, as the rates are far lower when booking with more than one person. There are great places to visit, so pick up the phone and start calling some friends to plan ahead.