Age Strong, Live Long

May 24, 2010
Senior Citizens Dance at Conference in Munich

About the Author: Michelle Bernier-Toth serves as the Director of American Citizens Services in the Bureau of Consular Affairs.

May is Older Americans Month. The Bureau of Consular Affairs at the U.S. Department of State invites you to join us, and other communities nationwide, in celebrating this month by registering for the Age Strong! Live Long! Walk hosted by the Administration on Aging on May 27 in Washington, DC.

The walk's opening ceremony will be in the Hubert H. Humphrey Building at 200 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC. Please stop by our booth in the Humphrey Building before or after the walk to say hello or ask a question, pick up U.S. passport applications, and help yourself to copies of our information about traveling or retiring abroad for older Americans.

This year's Older Americans Month theme -- "Age Strong! Live Long!" -- recognizes the diversity and vitality of today's older Americans. Older Americans are living longer and are more active than ever before. From our vantage point at the Department of State, we see that the number of older Americans who travel, work, and retire abroad reflects the active nature of America's senior population.

As we celebrate Older Americans Month, we continue to encourage folks to be prepared before going on trips or retiring overseas. Here are a few tips for you, or for someone you love, who may be planning a trip or retiring abroad:

- Take note of the closest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate in the country of destination and register your trip online. This contact information is stored securely and would enable us to contact you, or pass a message to your family on your behalf, in the event of an emergency.

- Reach out to U.S. citizen civic, business, or political groups abroad if you are considering retiring overseas. Ask questions about daily life challenges and opportunities that may not be apparent during a brief vacation. U.S. Embassy websites often provide lists of such organizations.

- Americans who travel in retirement are often concerned about health issues. Keep all prescription medications in their original, labeled containers to avoid delays at Customs checkpoints in other countries. Carry a note from your doctor (translated if necessary) that explains what the medication is for and includes the generic or chemical name of your medication (which doctors overseas may recognize more easily).

- Check with your health insurance provider to see if you are covered abroad. Many U.S. medical insurance plans do not cover health care outside the United States. Medical costs overseas can be expensive, and medical evacuations can cost upwards of $100,000. Many companies offer short-term health and emergency assistance policies to cover health care costs abroad, including medical evacuations.

To view our complete travel guidance for older Americans, see our information sheet online. We encourage you to make informed decisions about your travel and/or retirement abroad.

As the baby boomer generation ages, the Administration on Aging predicts that by 2030 America's senior population will number 71.5 million. The Bureau of Consular Affairs wishes this large segment of the population, as well as all those who love and support them, a happy Older Americans Month, and happy trails in your travels.



United States
May 25, 2010

O.C. in USA writes:

The USA needs to prepare for specialized care for our aging population. Protecting seniors from economic exploitation and having comprehensive, wraparound care for seniors is vital. We are facing a healthcare tsunami for this generation of retiring seniors. Who will care for them when they can longer care for themselves? This will be a looming crisis if plans aren't implemented soon. We already have massive scores of mentally ill homeless living worse than sewer rats on the streets. Will this be the same for our seniors?

Tennessee, USA
May 25, 2010

Joe in Tennessee writes:

You know, misery must love company and hypocrisy. As you age in America, people say: "You too old for this, too old for that..." and yet want know we need to be fit. Medical care will be beyond capacity within a decade in almost all nations. Walk, well something is better than nothing…but if you lift weights at 60 or do anything youth oriented your stigmatized. Fitness is such an oxymoron in cultural social development anything said now is hindsight. I still want to be on the Cover of Rolling Stone...but say that to others in any peer group and: LOL! --ok, you still need talent…but you get the drift. Why stop at walking. Why can’t guys over 60 with experience go to war and let the kids stay home-because no one wants to pay out the insurance money or get sued…legal issues. Walk…don’t run right?

Paul P.
California, USA
July 1, 2010

Paul P. in California writes:

Just a note of caution:
There seems to be mounting evidence that older senior citizens should be on the alert for a possible foodborne illiness, Listeriosis, which can develop from the consumption of food containing the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. It is among the deadliest of the foodborne diseases, especially for the elderly. There have been several food recalls in two months and at least two deaths reported in Texas due to this bacteria.


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