Self – Responsibility: How to Reduce Healthcare Costs for the Elderly

This is a guest blog from Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of nurse practitioner schools . Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address:

One of the things I “preach” about often is the need for self-responsibility. Part of the reason we have a health care crisis is because we do not take care of ourselves. We are ranked 37th on the World Health Organization and the latest study on obesity in this country is pointing in the wrong direction. So Adrienne’s advice is sound. Take a read.

It‰Ûªs not even official yet, but the proposed health care reforms have already managed to get people up in arms against it, especially for the way it ‰ÛÏtreats‰Û senior citizens. While the news about ‰ÛÏdeath panels‰Û is grossly exaggerated, there are issues that need to be discussed in terms of end-of-life decisions. However, this is a process that starts not when you‰Ûªre 60 or above, but right from the time you hit 30 and before you make the downhill slide on the other side of 40. Now most people do not consider 40 to be an age that can be called ‰ÛÏold‰Û by any means, but it is the time when both men and women realize that they are not as youthful as they were and go through a sort of midlife crisis.

If you take care of yourself by eating sensibly and exercising regularly (you‰Ûªre your mind and your body) when you‰Ûªre young, you can go a long way in keeping illness at bay as you become older and more prone to the infirmities that affect the elderly. And once you‰Ûªre there among the senior citizens, here‰Ûªs what you can do to protect your sanity and your health and keep your health care costs to a minimum:

åá Remain active: It‰Ûªs a fact that people who are active remain healthy for a longer period of time. When you stop working or doing even simple tasks around the house, your muscles atrophy and become useless. So assume responsibility at least for your own needs ‰ÛÒ cook, do some laundry, clean your room, take a walk or raise a pet. In short, have something active to do each day when you wake up.

åá Socialize: When you meet people on a regular basis and stay in touch with the outside world, you don‰Ûªt fall prey to mental illnesses like dementia and Alzheimer‰Ûªs disease. So go out, enjoy a drink or a game of cards with friends, visit your grandkids, or join a club.

åá Monitor your health: Be responsible for your own health. If you have a medical condition, take your medicines correctly and regularly and follow your doctor‰Ûªs instructions to the letter. Keep your medical appointments as scheduled so that your doctor can see for themselves how you‰Ûªre doing and change your medication accordingly. When you are aware of your limitations and live within them, there‰Ûªs no reason why old age has to be lonely or expensive.

Editors Note:

I would add that there are certainly older people who independently can not proactively undertake some of the suggestions above without help. There is a duty I believe that we all have to assist our elderly who can not take care of themselves. Through us we can help them find purpose, get their health on track and lead productive lives whether they are 65 or 105! Thanks Adrienne.