Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Describing Pain to Your Chiropractor - How to Get the Most out of Your Appointment

Chiropractors can dramatically reduce pain!

Have you ever visited a chiropractor, or are you considering turning to one to help you cope with your pain?  I have used a chiropractor for 30 years, and have found that they have often been able to relieve my pain better than a trip to my medical doctor.  I started seeing one when I was a busy Realtor, driving clients around in my car many hours a day.  Going to my chiropractor provided me the relief I needed to sooth my neck, shoulders and hips after a busy week.  

When I retired, and took up walking as a serious hobby in order to stay in shape, I still needed to go the chiropractor as I sometimes overworked different muscles and joints in my body.  

The relief I have have gotten from my numerous chiropractic visits over the years has greatly improved my life.  That is why I was delighted when a guest author, Jennifer Bell, asked if she could write an article about "How to Talk to Your Chiropractor About Pain."  Jennifer's post is below:

How To Talk To Your Chiropractor About Pain

Many individuals seek chiropractic care to alleviate pain and improve their overall well-being. However, without clear and accurate communication, the chiropractor may not fully grasp the nature and extent of the patient's pain, leading to sub-optimal treatment outcomes. Effective communication about pain is a two-way process that involves both the patient and the chiropractor actively exchanging information, asking questions, and providing feedback. By mastering the art of effective communication, patients can play an active role in their own healing process, while chiropractors can tailor their treatment plans to address the unique needs of each individual.

Throughout this article, we will provide a few practical tips and strategies to help patients engage in meaningful conversations with their chiropractors. By understanding how to articulate their pain experience, provide specific details, maintain a pain journal, communicate expectations, ask questions, provide feedback, and follow instructions, patients can ensure that their chiropractor has a comprehensive understanding of their pain and can deliver personalized care.

By implementing the advice and techniques presented in this article, patients will be better equipped to talk to their chiropractors about their pain, leading to improved treatment outcomes, enhanced patient satisfaction, and a stronger therapeutic alliance between the patient and the chiropractor.

Understand Your Pain:

Before your chiropractic appointment, take some time to reflect on your pain. Consider the location, intensity, frequency, and any factors that may worsen or alleviate it. This self-reflection will help you articulate your pain experience more effectively when speaking with your chiropractor.

Be Specific and Descriptive:

When describing your pain, provide specific details that can help your chiropractor understand your condition better. Use descriptive language to explain the nature of the pain, such as sharp, dull, throbbing, or shooting. Additionally, mention any activities or movements that aggravate or relieve the pain.

Maintain a Pain Journal:

Keeping a pain journal can be immensely helpful in documenting your symptoms and tracking any patterns or changes. Note down the date, time, duration, and severity of your pain episodes, along with any activities or factors that may have influenced them. This journal can serve as a valuable reference during discussions with your chiropractor.

Communicate Your Expectations:

Clearly communicate your goals and expectations to your back and neck pain center chiropractor. Discuss what you hope to achieve through chiropractic care and any specific concerns you may have. This open dialogue will enable your chiropractor to tailor their treatment approach accordingly and manage your expectations realistically.

Ask Questions:

Do not hesitate to ask questions if you have doubts or need clarification. Understanding the treatment plan, techniques, and potential outcomes is crucial for your engagement in the process. Your chiropractor should be willing to address your concerns and provide you with the necessary information to make informed decisions.

Provide Feedback:

During and after the treatment sessions, provide feedback to your chiropractor. Share any changes or improvements you have noticed, as well as any new or persistent issues. This feedback will help your chiropractor assess the effectiveness of the treatment and make adjustments if needed.

Follow Instructions:

Follow your chiropractor's recommendations and instructions diligently. This includes adhering to the prescribed treatment plan, performing any exercises or stretches as advised, and following lifestyle modifications, if suggested. Consistency and compliance are key to achieving optimal results.

Jennifer Bell

Effective communication with your chiropractor is essential for successful pain management and overall well-being. By understanding your pain, being specific and descriptive, maintaining a pain journal, communicating your expectations, asking questions, providing feedback, and following instructions, you can establish a collaborative relationship with your chiropractor. Remember, clear communication lays the foundation for personalized care and better outcomes, empowering you to take an active role in your own healing process.

About the Author:

Jennifer Bell is a wellness coach, long-time chiropractic patient, and writer for chiropractors in the Clearwater area.

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In addition to this retirement blog, I also have an Etsy store where I list gifts for retirees and almost everyone else on your shopping list. You can find jewelry, t-shirts, coffee mugs, wall art and more there.  Check out the items available at:

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If you are interested in learning more about financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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Saturday, May 13, 2023

Delete Your Internet History for a Safer Future

 By now, millions of Baby Boomers and other Americans have been on the internet for close to 25 years.  If you are like most of them, you almost certainly have signed up for countless online accounts from stores and other businesses. You may have had several email accounts, including those with former employers.  You may have been on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Tumblr and others for years.

Can you even remember every site you have been on, or what you posted, the comments you made, and the posts you "liked?"  Probably not.

Recently, I began closing old accounts which I had not used for years, such as my Reddit, Tumblr and Linked-in accounts.  Much to my surprise, I even discovered I had two Linked-in accounts!  I closed them both down.  I'm not looking for a job, and there is no reason for me to use Linked-in.  

However, I also realize that there is more we need to do to make sure our internet history is as tight as possible.  As a result, I was pleased to read an article in the November, 2021 issue of Reader's Digest which provided a number of tips for reducing the size of my internet footprint.  While I did not follow all their advice, anything we can do to eliminate past accounts and secure our current accounts will help keep us safer online.  Below are some helpful tips to get you started.

Delete any old accounts you no longer use.  Do not forget to close and delete old email accounts and online businesses you no longer use.  Can't remember them all?  If a company sends you a promotional email, you should try to delete your account with that company first and, afterwards, unsubscribe from their email list.  Google has the instructions for closing a wide variety of different email accounts.  Every business should have a link where you can delete the account you have with them.

Do not save payment details on every site where you make purchases.  If you regularly use a particular shopping site, such as Walmart or Amazon, then you may want to store your credit card information on the site to make shopping more convenient.  However, for that single sale you make once a year, it is much safer to enter your credit card information each time you make a purchase. Otherwise, it is possible a criminal could access that information and start making purchases.

Delete your old e-mails, even in accounts you currently use.  Do you really need to keep thousands of old emails?  Did you know that emails stored on a web server, such as Gmail, can legally be considered abandoned after 180 days and the government can access them with a search warrant?  Unless there is a reason to keep an old email, delete them all after a few months.  Set your "deleted emails" or "trash" folders to automatically delete old emails after a specific period of time. 

Update your passwords.  By now, it is very possible that you have used the same password for more than one account.  Stop it!  Give all the accounts you currently use a fresh, new password. In this way, if a hacker discovers an old account of yours that you forgot to delete, they cannot try using that old password with your current accounts. Use strong, unique passwords for each account you have.  With so many different passwords, it is a good idea to store them on your computer AND use a little notebook or address book to jot down your log-in information and passwords for every site you use.  Keep the notebook in a safe place, but tell at least one other person you trust where it is.  It could be very helpful if something happens to you and your family needs to close out your accounts to prevent the information from being stolen.

Try using a password manager.  I confess that I have not tried using a password manager, but you could try using a service such as 1Password (about $3 a month per person or $5 a month for a family).  The article in Reader's Digest also recommended a free service called Bitwarden. They did warn that not all free password managers are reliable, and some could be hacked, which would leave you even more vulnerable, so use your own judgement about using a password manager. 

Tighten your social media privacy.  What information do you want to reveal on the public pages of Facebook?  Think carefully before you reveal the year and place you were born, the place where you currently live, and similar information.  For older Americans, it is possible for a hacker to narrow down your possible Social Security numbers if they know your place of birth and the year you were born.  Social Security numbers were once based on this information, so there are just a few other digits they would have to guess.

Control who sees your Facebook posts.  If you have hundreds of Facebook "friends," it probably means you are revealing private information to hundreds of people you barely know.  I have made it a rule to limit the number of Facebook friends I have to family, relatives, close friends and people I actually know in "real life."  In addition, I have different groups who can see my posts.  All of my friends can see when I post a photo I took of a sunrise or the ocean.  A smaller group can see family photos or vacation photos.  Only a select, small group can see political posts and other topics which could be controversial.  There are a lot of advantages to setting up different groups and carefully selecting which group is going to see each post.  It may take you a few tries to refine who is in each group, but it will be worth your time if it helps you protect your privacy and avoid online arguments.

Delete old social media posts.  Facebook also has a Manage Activity tool which will allow you to delete or archive posts which are older than a certain date.  Instagram will allow you to delete or archive specific posts.  You can use a third-party tool called Tweet Delete to delete old Tweets, either automatically or according to your specific criteria. This could be helpful, for example, if you do not want old political posts used against you.  However, the site charges $4 to $6 a month for you to delete old Tweets. That is something to think about before you post a bunch of Tweets or re-Tweet things which you might have to explain during a job interview or political campaign!

Visit your My Google Account page to turn off any activity you do not want them to save.  Just go to Manage Your Google Account and in the left navigation panel click Data & Privacy.  Under History Settings, click My Activity and then decide which activities you want to turn off, such as your location history.  Is there really any reason why Google needs to know where you go?  Only if you are using Google maps.

Take more extreme measures if you are really concerned about your privacy.  If you really, really do not want anyone to know what you are doing online, you might switch from using Google and try DuckDuckGo, instead.  If you are worried about protecting your business secrets or hiding from a stalker, you can also go to the extreme of using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and/or using end-to-end encryption.  However, the majority of regular internet users do not need this level of privacy.  If you do decide to try these things, you may want to get expert assistance in setting everything up in the safest way possible.

See more at: DeborahDianGifts.etsy.com
You can find a variety of gifts for friends or family members at my Etsy shop.  There you will find jewelry, tote bags, framed nature photos, coffee mugs, t-shirts and much more. Check it all out at:


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If you are interested in learning more about financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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Photo credits: author's photo and Etsy graphic

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Life Expectancy Differences Between Democrats and Republicans

Readers of Baby-Boomer-Retirement have repeatedly shown interest in understanding what they can do in order to live a longer, healthier and less stressful life.  Since most Baby Boomers are now in their 60s and 70s, this interest is quite understandable.  No one wants to see their lives, or the lives of their loved ones, cut shorter than necessary.

As a result, it was with great interest that I learned that among the causes of a shorter lifespan, one factor which is often overlooked is your political party, as well as the prevailing political leanings in the state and community where you live.  In fact, as you can see in the map shown in the healthcare section of this post, there is an almost 20 year difference in average lifespan between people living in heavily Republican areas and heavily Democratic leaning areas.  

Of course, all of us know a favorite Republican aunt who lived to the ripe old age of 102, or that Democratic cousin who died at 45. However, despite these outliers, on average a Democrat living in a Democratic county in a Democratic state is likely to live to be significantly older and healthier than a Republican living in a Republican county in a Republican state.

On Average, Republicans Have Shorter Lifespans Than Democrats

The United States has been divided into two major political parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, for decades. These parties often have contrasting views on various political issues including gun violence, healthcare, environmental factors, education, and more, and it may surprise you to know that those issues can contribute to the differences in longevity. Below are some of the reasons why this may be true.

Gun Violence

Gun violence is a significant problem in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that firearms are the second leading cause of injury-related deaths in the country, with an average of 40,000 deaths annually. It is the leading cause of death for children and teens. 

Republicans generally have a more lenient attitude towards gun control than Democrats, which plays a part in the shorter lifespans in areas where they are in control. Studies have shown that states with more permissive gun laws have higher rates of firearm-related deaths, including a study by the American Public Health Association which found that states with more permissive gun laws had a higher rate of firearm homicide than states with stricter gun laws.

Data compiled by: https://ghdx.healthdata.org/


Access to healthcare is a fundamental factor in determining an individual's health outcomes. Republicans generally oppose policies which would increase access to healthcare, such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In contrast, Democrats support policies which aim to improve healthcare access. 

Research has shown that lack of healthcare access is associated with higher mortality rates. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that individuals who gained access to Medicaid through the ACA had a 6% lower mortality rate than those who remained uninsured. Many people also benefited by the Medicaid expansion during the Covid pandemic.  When the Medicaid expansion expires post-Covid, especially in the Southern states, people without healthcare are more likely to die at a younger age.

Another problem is that in some parts of the U.S., local hospitals, particularly maternity hospitals, have closed, which increases the risk of death in pregnant women and their babies.

In addition, differences in attitudes towards vaccines, science, and access to healthcare also contributed to a higher death rate during the pandemic in Republican communities, compared to Democratic leaning communities.  

All this adds up to a terrifying reality. The map above shows that people in the darkest blue counties have an average age at death of 86.8 years, while those who live in the darkest red communities have an average age at death of 66.8 years, which is a 20 year difference in the average age at death, all based on the political values of the county where you live. 

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors can also impact an individual's lifespan. Republicans have generally been skeptical of environmental policies which aim to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment. In contrast, Democrats support these policies, especially in the states where they live. 

Research has shown that exposure to air pollution and other environmental factors can lead to a wide variety of health problems, including respiratory diseases and cancer. A study by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that exposure to air pollution was associated with a higher risk of lung cancer. 

Of course, some highly polluted cities, such as Los Angeles and New York, are in Democratic leaning areas, while many Republicans live in rural, Midwestern areas which may seem to have less air pollution from industry and cars. On the other hand, people in rural areas are more likely to be subjected to exposure to farm pollution, such as chemicals dropped from crop dusters, which can also be deadly.  Despite the higher air pollution in certain Democratic cities, the states of California and New York still have the second and third highest life expectancies in the U.S.  (Hawaii has the highest).  Any health damage caused by pollution may be offset by the other health advantages available to the residents of Democratic states.


Education is an important factor in an individual's socioeconomic status and overall health outcomes. Democrats generally support policies which attempt to increase access to education, such as affordable college tuition and student loan forgiveness. In contrast, Republicans are more skeptical of policies designed to increase equal educational opportunities for all. 

The problem with lower educational opportunities in some states is that research shows that higher levels of education are associated with lower mortality rates. A study by the American Journal of Public Health found that individuals with a college degree had a 28% lower mortality rate than those without a high school degree. Improving educational opportunities, and making higher education more affordable, is one way to improve the lifespan of the citizens of a state.

Income Inequality

Income inequality is another factor which can impact an individual's lifespan. Republicans generally support policies which favor the wealthy, such as tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation of the financial sector. In contrast, Democrats support policies which aim to reduce income inequality, such as progressive taxation, increasing the minimum wage and supporting programs such as Social Security and financial safety nets for the poorest Americans.

Researchers have found that income inequality is associated with higher mortality rates, including a study by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health which discovered that income inequality was associated with a shorter lifespan. Many Republican leaning Southern states in the U.S., including Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, West Virginia and Arkansas, are among the poorest states and also tend to be places where people do not live as long. Essentially, poverty kills.


Stress is another factor which can impact an individual's lifespan and this is something which can affect both Republicans and Democrats, although they often have different sources of stress. Republicans who live in areas where there is a lot of poverty may experience more stress due to economic insecurity, while certain groups of Democrats may experience more stress due to discrimination and social inequality. 

Studies have shown that chronic stress can lead to a variety of health problems, including cardiovascular disease and depression. A study by the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that job stress was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.  It is hard to assess how different types of stress can affect lifespan, but regardless of where you live, your life expectancy will probably be longer if you feel less stressed.   


In conclusion, where you live and your political affiliation may affect how long you will live. This is due to a wide variety of factors, including gun violence, healthcare access, environmental factors in your community, access to higher education in your state, the income inequality or discrimination you experience, and your overall stress.  Of course, where you live is not the ONLY factor which will determine how long you will live.  Your longevity will also be determined by your genes, how well you take care of yourself, whether you smoke, get exercise, eat right, and other issues.  However, just knowing that there is a 20 year longevity difference in the United States between the most strongly Republican and Democratic counties is certainly something to consider when thinking about where you want to live and raise a family.

Since this topic may be controversial to some readers, you can find a full list of the citations for this research at the end of this article, and explore the research which interests you the most.  By reading the background material, you may even find ways to reduce the impact of these issues on your personal life.  

Learn more at: DeborahDianGifts.etsy.com 

One way that many Americans are reducing their financial stress is by having a side gig, such as an Etsy store or other business.  
You can even choose a business which is designed to help other people, such as tutoring or selling products which help others.  

In my Etsy store, I often sell items which are designed to help people in 12 Step recovery programs like AA, NA, Alanon and similar groups.  Many of these people are seeking Serenity, and this elegant, fully lined shoulder bag with an original Laguna Beach photo is an example of the types of gifts they seek.

You can find this and hundreds of other items at: 

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If you are interested in learning more about financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

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Photo credits: Yahoo Images and the author's Etsy store.


“America Under Fire: An Analysis of Gun Violence in the United States and the Link to Weak Gun Laws.” Center for American Progress, 2016.

“2021 Gun Law State Scorecard.” Giffords Law Center, 2021.


Kaufman, Elinore J., et al. “Rural–Urban Differences in Firearm Ownership and Storage Practices Among Adult Owners in Alaska.” Journal of Rural Health, vol. 35, no. 2, 2019, pp. 213–21.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports. Available from: https://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/leadcaus10_us.html

Kalesan B, Mobily ME, Keiser O, Fagan JA, Galea S. Firearm legislation and firearm mortality in the USA: a cross-sectional, state-level study. The Lancet. 2016; 387(10030):1847-55.

Webster DW, Vernick JS, Zeoli AM, Manganello JA. Association between youth-focused firearm laws and youth suicides. JAMA. 2004; 292(5):594-601.

Sommers BD, Epstein AM. The Affordable Care Act and mortality in US adults. New England Journal of Medicine. 2017; 376(10):1-9.

Gruber J, Sommers BD. The Affordable Care Act’s effects on Americans’ health. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. 2018; 2018(1):1-84.

Brauer M, Hoek G, van Vliet P, et al. Air pollution from particulate matter emissions in the European Union decreases life expectancy by almost a year. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2019; 116(52):26211-6.

Lipsett MJ. Air pollution and cardiovascular disease. Environmental Health Perspectives. 1997; 105(Suppl 1):23-8.

Elo IT. Social class differentials in health and mortality: patterns and explanations in comparative perspective. Annual Review of Sociology. 2009; 35(1):553-72.

Hayward MD, Gorman BK. The long arm of childhood: the influence of early-life social conditions on men's mortality. Demography. 2004; 41(1):87-107.

Wilkinson RG, Pickett KE. Income inequality and population health: a review and explanation of the evidence. Social Science & Medicine. 2006; 62(7):1768-84.

Marmot MG, Wilkinson RG. Social determinants of health. Oxford University Press; 2005.

Epel ES, McEwen B, Seeman T, et al. Stress and body shape: stress-induced cortisol secretion is consistently greater among women with central fat. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2000; 62(5):623-32.

McEwen BS. Protective and damaging effects of stress mediators. New England Journal of Medicine. 1998; 338(3):171-9.

Landsbergis PA, Dobson M, Koutsouras G, Schnall P. Job strain and ambulatory blood pressure: a meta-analysis and systematic review. American Journal of Public Health. 2013; 103(3):e61-e71.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Sick on a Cruise Ship? What You Need to Know Before You Go

A few years ago, a couple we know were on their dream cruise to Peru. Unfortunately, when they neared Panama, the husband had a massive heart attack and he and his wife were put ashore in Panama, where they had to stay for nearly a month until he was well enough to travel back to California.  He survived his heart attack, but they never made it to Peru.

Recently, I read an article by a woman who was fully vaccinated and boosted, but still got Covid on a cruise to Alaska in August, 2022, when most people were talking about Covid in the past tense.  She spent most of her cruise in a lonely room, away from her family, in the quarantine section of the ship, and then had to spend another five days in a hotel in Seattle before she was well enough to travel back to her home in the United States.

In both of these situations, the people learned important lessons which everyone needs to know before taking a cruise, so they can avoid having a cruise turn into a medical and financial disaster.  Here are some of the tips they passed along:

Buy Travel Insurance

Dealing with a travel insurance claim can be time-consuming and irritating, from what friends have told me.  However, it certainly is better than having to take a big financial hit without it.  Our friend who had the heart attack and ended up in Panama instead of Peru was certainly glad that they had the foresight to purchase insurance which covered many, but not all, of their expenses.  

Make sure your travel insurance also has a CFAR (which means "cancel for any reason") provision.  Things happen, often at the last minute, and you want to have the flexibility to cancel or postpone a trip if you or someone in your family is not feeling well.

Ask Your Credit Card Company About Their Travel Protections

One of your current credit cards may offer some type of travel insurance, at least to cover things like travel delays and cancellations.  Make sure you have their written policy information with you on your trip. 

Check Your Airline's Travel Cancellation Policy

Whenever possible, book your flights on an airline which will allow you to cancel or reschedule your flights without a flight change fee.  It may not solve all your problems if you get stuck in a foreign country where that airline does not fly, but in some cases it could save you money if you just need to change your return flight.

Check Your Cruise Line's Onboard Medical Resources

Most cruise ships will have some medical facilities and personnel onboard.  It would be wise to check out what they offer before you leave, especially if you have a chronic illness which may need to be treated in an emergency.  Of course, you will be charged for their services.

The types of equipment you should expect to have onboard your ship include defibrillators, ventilators, cardiac monitors, oxygen tanks, x-ray machines and lab equipment. (Most cruise ships also have a small morgue onboard.)

You can get a general idea about what onboard medical care will cost on this website:


Some of the typical expenses are listed below:

Doctor consultation            $125.00

Nurse consultation                  75.00

Doctor medical evacuation escort   $1200.00

Defibrillation                        $500.00

You will find a much more in-depth and detailed list of costs at the website mentioned above.  

I have known of people who continued their dialysis on cruise ships, but have heard it is extremely expensive and NOT reimbursed by insurance.

In addition, call your cruise line to find out what they charge for common procedures, the number of medical personnel who will be on your cruise, and the facilities they have.  

They will probably NOT accept your insurance, including travel insurance.  You will have to file a claim with your medical or travel insurance company when you return home.  Meanwhile, you will be expected to pay your bill for any care you received onboard before you leave the cruise ship.  Make sure you travel with a credit card that gives you a large line of credit, just in case you need it. 

Check Your Cruise Line's Covid Compensation Policy

Some of the cruise lines still cover the cost of certain expenses if you are diagnosed with Covid on their ship.  For example, they may provide your quarantine stateroom with free Wi-Fi. They may also pay for a hotel stay for a few days at the end of the cruise.  However, with most countries declaring that the Covid pandemic is behind us, fewer and fewer cruise lines are likely to offer these services. 

If you develop other medical problems on a cruise, they may cover some extra expenses, and help you make the necessary arrangements to leave the ship if you have a heart attack or another serious health scare while traveling with them.  Make sure you inform them of any serious illness you develop during your cruise, and find out what they can do to help you.  

Try to Avoid Getting Sick

Of course, all of these financial considerations will be unnecessary if you are able to avoid getting sick in the first place.  While you cannot avoid every situation, taking a vacation does not mean that all normal health concerns are taking a vacation, too. You are still subject to the laws of nature.  Watch what you eat and drink, and don't overdo it.  Get enough sleep.  Avoid sunburns.  Make sure your vaccinations, including flu and Covid vaccines, are up-to-date before you travel.  Wear a face mask in crowded, indoor situations. Wash and/or sanitize your hands frequently. Continue to take your prescription medications at the proper times.  In other words, use good hygiene and common sense!

Prepare for an Extended Stay

Although we all like to travel as light as possible, if you are going to be gone on an extended cruise it could be wise to bring along extra clothing in different weights, in case you are stuck in a hotel far from home for an extended period of time.  You want to make sure you have comfortable clothing whether it is hot or chilly.  You can't prepare for everything, but bringing along an extra jacket, extra underwear, and a few practical items of additional clothing could make any delays easier to bear.

Prepare to Self-Treat Some Illnesses

Cruise lines may charge for a visit to their infirmary, which are often poorly stocked, so you want to bring along a few medical supplies of your own, and they shouldn't take up much space in your luggage.  Fill a zip-lock back with some Covid tests, a thermometer, a pulse oximeter (Ad) to measure your blood oxygen levels, cough medicine, cough drops, ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen, and a few basic First Aid supplies like band-aides and antibiotic cream for minor injuries.  The onboard medical facility is likely to charge you for these supplies and it will be far cheaper to bring them from home.

If you do test positive for Covid, or develop another serious illness, make sure you notify the cruise ship's infirmary, because they may be able to help you get to land or find you safer accommodations onboard the ship, so you do not expose other people.  They may also provide you with room service meals at no extra expense.

Also make sure you travel with an extra large supply of your prescription medications, in case you are delayed on your trip longer than expected.  A cruise ship will not have a fully stocked pharmacy if you forget your blood pressure medication, for example.  Bring along any medications you might need during an extended stay.

Prepare to be Bored

Whether it is because you are stuck in the quarantine section of a ship, alone in a hotel room far from home, or simply forced to deal with bad weather during your trip, you want to bring along a few, non-tech ways to entertain yourself.  Depending on what activities you enjoy, you might want to pack a deck of cards for playing solitaire, a paperback novel or two, and even a small puzzle.  Basically, you want to bring along anything that will keep you from going crazy if you are stuck in a hospital or quarantine room and cannot easily or affordably access the internet. 

Buy this at: etsy.com/shop/DeborahDianGifts
Photography is a popular hobby for travelers, and sometimes you can turn your photos into items you can sell or give as gifts, as I have done in my Etsy Store with photos I have taken over the years.

Here's a framed copy of one of my favorite vacation photos, a picture I took on a trip to see the Giant Redwood trees in Humboldt County, California.

This photo is an example of just one of the many gift items available on my Etsy store at: 


Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.  You will receive one weekly email containing the most current post. 

If you are interested in learning more about financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, common medical issues as you age, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

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