Article by Jean Andrews
Our older generations have been getting some negative press due to their alleged bad behaviour while on holiday abroad – earning them the unfortunate nickname ‘Saga Louts’. The same seniors don’t behave badly and earn themselves an ASBO at home. So what’s going on?
Fun and reckless behaviour is not exclusive to the young. It seems the people we used to look upon as role models are often the ones misbehaving these days. Apparently, the number of mature drinkers is rising while the number of teenage drinkers has dropped. Young people are worrying about their carbon footprints, growing their own vegetables, and spurning drink and drugs. Role reversal? It seems so.
Many older folks are ignoring their health problems and throwing old-fashioned caution to the wind. They are jetting off abroad, often without getting a health check from their GP – or taking out travel insurance! The Foreign Office has expressed concern about this new generation of retirees who are putting themselves at unnecessary risk.
Are these ageing rebels breaking the mold? What happened to our dear old grannies who spent their days baking cakes, knitting mysterious garments for us and trying their luck in the bingo halls? Where is the quiet grandpa who spent his days hiding in the potting shed with the newspaper and racing form? Perhaps they revert to a more staid persona at home, but once they have a taste for foreign travel and adventure there’s no stopping this new silver jet set!
Drinking, or rather binge drinking, is reported to be the cause of most of the problems. Their benders often result in these oldies-but-baddies ending up in jail, hospital or even the mortuary! Why shouldn’t they let their hair down (what’s left of it) or have a knees up (so what if they’re plastic). Many are wealthier than they used to be and feel they deserve to make up for all the years of sacrifice.
The over 55’s are reported to be among the largest group of people participating in dodgy activities like bungee jumping, skydiving, and paragliding! These ‘denture venturers’ as they have been labelled, often outshine younger dare-devils. The young are becoming the new fuddy-duddies, tut-tut-ing the antics of their irresponsible elders!
There’s no question that obtaining affordable travel insurance can be difficult for the older traveller. Cover varies from company to company, so it’s best to shop around for the right policy. Many companies set age restrictions in the mid 60’s for annual multi-trip policies and travel to the USA and Canada – due to the high cost of medical care. The over 70’s may have difficulty finding an affordable policy, especially if they have a medical history which includes conditions like heart disease, stroke or diabetes. Fifty used to be old, but 50 is the new 40 as they say, 60 the new 50, and so on. After working hard all their lives and paying taxes, the over 50s may feel they have earned it. Many won’t get their state pension at 60 as they planned, but will have to work until they are 65, 70 or beyond because the government changed the rules. The retirement carrot is being dangled further down the road now. Who wouldn’t get an attitude! No wonder they’re buying Harley Davidson hogs and hitting the highways while they can!
Maybe older folks feel time is running out and it’s foolhardy to stock up the freezer. Perhaps they don’t care whether they make the return trip from their holiday. In a way you can’t blame them, but one major downside to their rash behaviour is the impact it can have on the holiday plans of others. Older travellers who don’t see their GP for a check-up may not be medically fit to fly. There are reports that in-flight medical emergencies are on the increase, causing distress and chaos and sometimes requiring the pilot to make an unscheduled landing.
So, are they wrong to enjoy their silver or golden years and kick up their heels as they burn up the inheritance money? We probably shouldn’t pass judgment. However, the family may not be amused if grandma has no travel insurance and breaks her neck jet skiing in Spain! Emergency medical treatment abroad can cost a small fortune and emergency repatriation (dead or alive) can be extremely expensive. The house and nest-egg they intended to leave to the kids could vanish as fast as a nice glass of bubbly if there’s no travel insurance to help cover the costs.
Should we reprimand our seniors and send them clucking back to the bingo halls? Whatever your views may be, it’s probably too late anyway. Like free-range hens, they’ve broken free of the coop, scratched some dirt, and had a taste of sunshine and freedom. Why not let them flap those bingo wings and fly while they can!
About the Author
Jean Andrews is a freelance writer living in the UK. She regularly contributes articles for TIA Ltd who offer travel insurance at great prices online.