Seniors On the Go: What to Bring, What to Leave at Home

seniors on the go

Seniors are once again emerging from a coronavirus case spike. You might be thinking about going out for the first time in weeks. Heading out requires a bit more forethought than Zooming loved ones from the couch! Continue reading to discover the 5 things you should bring with you and the 5 things to leave at home.

What To Bring With You

  1. Driver’s license or other identification card. If you drive, you definitely need to bring your driver's license. Keep it in an easy-to-reach place just in case you get pulled over. Even if you don’t drive, you still need an identification card. Places like the bank and the airport require you to show an identification card in order to perform basic tasks. You’ll sometimes need to show an identification card if you plan on using a credit card.
  2. Debit/Credit Card. Some establishments are card-only, which means you need an electronic way to pay. If you do not have a debit or credit card, look into the possibility of attaining one. Talk to trusted loved ones about which options work best for your financial situation[1]. It’s important to have access to some sort of electronic money. A debit or credit card is also easier to carry around than wads of cash. 
  3. Cash. While some places are card-only, others are cash-only. You can prepare for all potential payment situations by bringing some form of electronic money and cash. Try to keep only the amount you’ll need during that outing on your person. There’s no need to carry large amounts of cash around, and, in fact, that might make you a potential target for theft. 
  4. Health insurance card. You obviously need your health insurance card if you plan on going to any doctors’ appointments. But it’s also advisable to always have your health insurance card on hand just in case you need to use it in an emergency. Make sure to have a secure place, like a zippered wallet, to store your identification card, electronic money, cash, and health insurance cards. 
  5. Button alarm system. It might feel nerve-wracking to re-emerge into the world after years spent largely confined to home. Certain tools can make the transition easier. A medical alert system can give you a boost of confidence and peace of mind as you navigate unfamiliar spaces. The On-the-Go Wrist Watch Medical Alert + GPS + Pedometer looks just like a sport watch and will even track your steps and report the weather.

What to Leave at Home

  1. Passport. Unless you’re headed to the airport, your passport is safest when left at home. You can protect this important document by storing it in a secure spot when you are not using it. Day-to-day activities rarely require you to use your passport. In fact, you should only take out your passport when you travel out of the country. If you do not have a REAL ID, you might need your passport to travel domestically after May 2023[2]
  2. Birth certificate. Your birth certificate is one of the most important identifying documents you have. This document is necessary if you need to replace your driver’s license, social security card, or passport. You also need your birth certificate for mortgage and finance applications. As you figure out your retirement plan, it will be important to have your birth certificate handy for any big financial decisions you might want to make. You should keep your birth certificate as safe and secure as possible. 
  3. Social Security card. Your Social Security number is a vital connection to your Social Security benefits. Keep your Social Security card as private as your other important documents. If a scammer gets hold of your Social Security number, you could be at risk for identity theft and fraud. The Social Security Administration made it easy to obtain a replacement Social Security card just in case you misplace your original copy.
  4. List of passwords. At this point, you need a password for just about everything. It can be difficult to keep track of them all. You might have compiled a list of passwords in order to stay more organized. While that is a fantastic organizational tool, it also puts you at risk for identity theft and fraud. Keep that list of passwords in a safe, private, protected place at home. You might consider using a password management app for extra protection.
  5. Blank checks or a checkbook. Carrying around a blank check could be disastrous on the off chance that someone takes your bag while you’re out or you lose it. Theoretically, whoever possesses a blank check could fill it out and take money without permission. If you plan on writing a check, fill it out before you leave the house. Even still, your checks contain your account and routing numbers. That is valuable information for someone looking to grab your funds.

At-Home Preparation

Now that you know which documents should stay at home and which documents should come with you, you can start to make preparations:

  • Check that your driver’s license or other identification cards are up-to-date and make the necessary arrangements to renew them if they are not. Take cash out of your bank’s ATM to have at the ready. 
  • Store your other important documents at home. If you don’t have anywhere safe to hold them at home, then where should you keep them? You can store important documents, including tax returns, passports, birth certificates, and social security cards, in a safe deposit box[3]. A home safe should be fire-proof, flood-proof, and safe from prying eyes. Place each document in a plastic sleeve to protect them from rips, spills, wear, and tear. Shred documents you no longer need, like bank statements, utility payments, and other receipts. 
  • Choose a medical alert system. As you begin to re-enter public spaces, you want to prioritize your safety and comfort. An alert necklace or wristband for seniors allows you to navigate your day with confidence. This might be a new addition for you. Read on for a more in-depth guide to picking out the right personal emergency response system (PERS) for you.

A Medical Alert System Ensures Assistance is Always Standing By

Though you might feel excited to run errands and socialize outside of the house again, it can also bring up stressful feelings. One way you can gain some peace is by using a medical alert system or button alarm. That way, if you fall or encounter any type of emergency situation, you will immediately connect with a highly trained and certified agent at an Alert1 24/7 Command Center. This agent will stay on the line with you until appropriate assistance arrives. You will never face an emergency alone.

Some alert necklaces or pendants have built-in fall detection technology. This helpful feature can sense falls automatically and immediately trigger a call to the Command Center. Fall detection technology is a great option if you want to be extra secure.   

Alert1 medical alert systems are quite affordable, starting at under $20 per month. Plus, you’ll never pay for multiple button pushes or “false alarms.”

All you need is to decide which medical alert system will best suit your needs, budget, and lifestyle. If you plan on taking advantage of a dip in coronavirus numbers, you might want to grab an On-the-Go medical alert system, also available with Fall Detection. An In-Home medical alert system, or In-Home + Fall Detection, might be better if you still feel more comfortable at home. 

As you start to head out of the house more regularly again, this checklist will come naturally to you and you’ll easily remember what you should and shouldn’t bring on your way out. Stay safe!




[1] Stern, Linda. 2022, Jan. 14. New Credit Card Offers Are Back – Should You Sign Up? New Credit Card Offers Are Back – Should You Sign Up?

[2] Gordon, Fay. February 2019. REAL ID: What Do Older Adults Need to Know? National Center on Law & Elder Rights. REAL ID: What Do Older Adults Need to Know?

[3] Guy, Nick. 2022, Feb. 7. The Best Fireproof Document Safe. The New York Times. The Best Fireproof Document Safe.