Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist October 2015 Contents Grey nomads using generics also need to be
aware that different towns may have different
dispensing companies, so their usual generic may
not be available.
There also needs to be an understanding that the
lack of knowledge and education about the variety
of climates and environments they will be travelling
in can all add to higher travelling risks.
Travelling across the north of Australia,
grey nomads can expect to travel long distances on
bumpy and corrugated roads.
Karalyn says grey nomads first need to assess if they
are fit enough for the travel.
‘Are they up to changing tyres continually and
dealing with breakdowns? Are they comfortable
with miles and miles of corrugation?’
A clear understanding of personal limitations in the
care of vehicles is essential. They need to decide
if they are physically, mentally and experienced
enough to be able to manage such a task.
First time grey nomads may also find that travelling
with their spouse can be mentally challenging.
Some travellers may not have taken into
consideration the amount of time that they will
be spending with their other half, in such a small
environment. Preparing for the journey by taking
day and weekend trips together can help reduce
the stress and anxiety.
‘Living in a camper trailer for six months can be very
claustrophobic,’ Karalyn says.
‘I have seen several grey nomads pack up and go
home long before the planned end of their journey
due to the inability to live in a small space with
someone who they spent a lot of years only seeing
on weekends and after work.
‘ We strongly recommend they complete some small
excursions before the big trip to get a feel of life on
‘Many first-timers over pack, so it is a good idea
to have a few dry runs to trim down to what they
Physical and mental preparation is just as important
as knowing about the environment they will be
travelling in. Travelling for months at a time across
the north can result in several different climate
changes that must be prepared for. Planning for
these different climates, and the potential risks
that may occur can reduce a lot of anxiety when
travellers come face to face with these situations.
Identifying the resources available, including
identifying the locations of ATMs, grocery stores,
petrol stations (and being conscious of higher
petrol prices in rural areas) and health professionals
is an important part of planning. Ensuring the
caravan or motor home is well stocked with
essentials will reducing the risk of running out of
stock in the middle of nowhere.
The little nasties
During grey nomad travels, the likelihood of the
travellers being bitten by bugs, eating and drinking
bad food and water increases. The chances of sunburn
and cuts also increase, so it is important to keep a
well-stocked, good quality first aid kit on hand, and
replenish depleted stock at the earliest opportunity.
Travelling is physically and mentally exhausting,
so Karalyn recommends that all travellers should
take copies of the following documents with
them as well as a full list of their medications,
medical conditions and their specialists’ details:
• Medicare card
• Private health insurance
• Drivers licence
• Medication list
• GP contact details
• Current medical history, including blood group
• Current vaccination record
• High quality first aid kit
• Records of implants i.e. pacemaker
• Optical prescription
• Food and medication allergies
• Arm bands noting special issues i.e diabetes
• Next of kin’s details.
While preventive measures can be implemented
to reduce the risk of injury, in the case of an
emergency, it is vital to know where the closest
hospital is located.
If the worst happens, grey nomads can expect to
be in the hands of ambulance services, the Flying
Doctor Service and various base hospital
emergency departments. It is also important to
know approximately how long it will take them
Australian Pharmacist October 2015 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
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