Plan for Health Care as You Age Gracefully

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Guest Blog by June Duncan

You’ve got a lot to look forward to. There’s quality time to spend with your children while watching theirs grow up, graduate and get married. Oh, and don’t forget all the sunsets, sunrises and long walks on the beach. They’re all yours, and the only thing you need to do to enjoy them is keep your health up, which means putting emotion aside and looking at what care you need heading into your golden years.

Assess Your Needs

First off, you need to make an honest evaluation of how healthy you are now and what risks you face in the years to come. Are you able to cook meals, keep a clean house and get plenty of fresh air and exercise? If not, whether due to aches and pains or general fatigue, you may need a little help around the house, at the least. Talk to your personal physician about what ails you, and base your plans off of that. Don’t forget to mention your family history, as that may indicate a higher risk of certain conditions that are passed on genetically.

Research the Options

With a basic health evaluation in hand, it’s time to research the different types of care that are available and decide what’s right for you, whether for now or in the future. On the lower end of the scale are informal caregivers, who offer assistance with things like grocery shopping or cooking. Home health aides, meanwhile, provide basic medical care such as changing dressings. For anything more intensive, adult day care facilities or even a nursing home may be in order.

Reduce the Risks

You’ll need less care in the future if you look after yourself now, and this includes making modifications to your lifestyle as well as your residence. The first priority should be a diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein and fiber, say the experts at Aging.com. Also be sure to get plenty of exercise and keep your mind active. Meanwhile, a few simple upgrades to your home could ease everyday living and improve mobility. These include a step-free entrance as well as low counters for preparing food while sitting down.

With an idea of the care that you need, it’s time to look into your financial options and come up with a plan to bring it all to fruition.

Come Up With a Budget

This doesn’t have to be difficult. Start with your current health costs, including doctor visits, medication and therapy sessions. Next, add any expenses that you are anticipating for the coming year, including planned treatments or surgeries. You’ll also want to include an emergency fund for any unexpected accidents or illnesses.

Look Into Saving Options

It’s never too early to start putting money aside, and that’s even easier to do if you haven’t yet retired and you still have a healthy source of income. If not, there’s always your pension or even a part-time job. And an expert writing for Forbes has just the place to park those extra dollars and cents: a Medicare Medical Savings Account, which combines a high-deductible insurance plan with a savings account.

Untangle Your Coverage

It’s complicated. Have a close look at what Medicare offers. That includes inpatient hospital care, nursing facilities and hospices through Part A, as well as doctor visits and laboratory testing via Part B. This may not be enough depending on your condition, in which case you could opt for Medicare Advantage through a private insurance company. You may also consider long-term care insurance, which provides for a variety of home care services.

It’s not an easy process, but once you have measures in place, you’ll be able to enjoy your golden years in peace and comfort. It’ll be even better if the kids come to visit whenever possible, as love is the best medicine of all.

Author

June is the co-creator of Rise Up for Caregivers, which offers support for family members and friends who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their loved ones. She is author of the upcoming book, The Complete Guide to Caregiving: A Daily Companion for New Senior Caregivers.

Image via Pexels.