By Dr. Marion Somers, Ph. D., Ask Dr. Marion

QUESTION: My mother passed on two years ago. In the last year or so, my dad has caught the travel bug, but he has run out of travel partners. He's on a limited budget, and that makes it a bit difficult. Where can he go to find older people to travel with? Edna in Alaska, 39

ANSWER: I'm so glad to hear about your dad's travel interest. The "Golden Years" can be the best time to experience the rest of the world. The good news is that there are organizations that cater to an elder population for travel experiences. One the most well-known groups is Elder Hostel. Realize that this is not usually 4-Star travel. Rather, it is geared for an older population that may be on a more limited or fixed budget. Travelers stay in down-to-earth locations like college campuses, and the "Ys". Elder Hostel also allows for specific needs of the elderly such as more bathroom breaks, rest stops, coffee breaks, and slower-paced adventures. They are more realistic about and experienced with the endurance and interests of the elderly. It's also fun for your dad to meet other retirees and/or semi-retirees who have like interests. They could travel together or experience an educational get-away and/or cultural events in the local area. Finally, most elderly are not inclined to do the "ten cities in ten days" trip, so Elder Hostel's adventures usually run from a week to not more than three weeks. You can find them at www.elderhostel.com.

Additionally, senior centers and religious organizations will often have day and weekend trips. All of these options need to be explored until your father finds the ones that meet his needs. Each experience usually varies according to time, interests, endurance level, and budget. Happy travels!

©2006 Elder Health Resources of America, Inc.