Senior healthcare decisions are a major consideration as we age.
Taking great care of yourself must always be a priority. The bottom line is, there are just so many ways to go about taking care of yourself and your loved ones. The amount of information on senior healthcare could be intimidating. While this guide does not provide every single detail to manage your senior healthcare decisions, we try to touch on some major issues you may face.
Communication with your healthcare team is critical in your decision to take great care. Speaking with caregivers and your loved ones is important, as well. That's why the professionals at EASY Wireless are in business. They work with you to ensure you have access to quality cellphone and internet service, regardless of your income. We'll talk more about how EASY Wireless can help you as you manage senior healthcare decisions later on in this guide.
Laughter is the best medicine and will help you navigate senior healthcare. Take a deep breath and smile. This easy to follow guide is designed to help you stay in the know and on the go.
Here's to your great health seniors - you deserve the very best!
Getting Around In Style - Mobility Challenges
If your mobility challenge is based on your health, being clear with your healthcare team about how to optimize the mobility you still possess is key. Always strive to do your very best and to get better, if possible. Speak with your doctor about physical and/or occupational therapy to help you get moving again.
As we age, getting around can become more difficult. You may find you're in need of a wheelchair or a walking stick. The fact is that mobility can become a challenge. This may be due to a variety of reasons, illness is not the only problem. What's important to understand is that you can still get around to:
- Take care of errands
- Enjoy a night out
- Visit relatives or friends
and most importantly...
Take Care of Your Health
Mobility challenges must be faced with your health and the health of others on the road in mind. The eldercare locator has a wealth of information. You will find a link to the “Clearinghouse for Older Road User Safety”. There's also information on how to access alternative means to get to your doctor if you no longer drive yourself.
Different Options For Transportation
Daily Caring has information about some alternative modes of transportation when you decide to give up your car keys.
- Veyo (especially for those times you need to get to medical or dental appointments). They have special accommodations, as well).
- iTNAmerica (a national network of ride companies just for seniors)
In addition to those listed above, your county has transportation resources for you! Simply go to the eldercare locator link and type in your zip code. Your local Agency for the Aging information will pop up. Give them a call to find out about transportation options for your particular needs. Many of these services are free, with the exception of (Uber and Lyft).
Protecting the Precious Gift of Sight
There's no getting around it - as we age our eyesight diminishes. However, there is good news! You are in control of the attention paid to your precious gift of eyesight. Senior healthcare includes senior eyecare! That's right, you can make sure you have proper treatment if you catch certain eye diseases early which may actually prevent the complete loss of sight. The following are the most common age-related visual ailments according to The Cleveland Clinic:
- Presbyopia – slowly we lose the ability to see objects up close or very small print. People start noticing a change after age 35 or 40. If there are no other problems present, you may be able to treat this problem by wearing reading glasses or multifocal lenses.
- Floaters – these are those tiny specs that float across the field of vision. The fluid that fills your eyes has tiny strands that get stuck together and create "shadows" on your retina. These "shadows" are what we call floaters. Floaters become worrisome when you also see light flashes or lose your peripheral or side vision. See your doctor immediately if your floaters are accompanied by light flashes or loss of peripheral vision. Otherwise, they are a common result of aging.
- Dry eyes – this condition occurs when the tear glands cannot produce enough tears or produce tears that are of low quality. Seeing your eye doctor is key because it may just be a matter of adding a humidifier to your home or using special eyedrops. Surgery may be needed, as well.
- Excessive tearing – keep an eye, - no pun intended on having too many tears. This may come from being sensitive to light, wind or temperature changes. The medical term is Epiphora. Excessive tearing can sometimes be corrected as easily as shielding your eyes or wearing sunglasses.
- Cataracts - these cloudy areas that form on the lens of your eyes may cause blurry vision. If they become a problem, they can usually be removed by having eye surgery.
- Glaucoma – unfortunately a lot is not known about the exact cause of glaucoma but it is related to an increase in eye pressure, which has an effect on the optic nerve. Glaucoma is very serious and is checked at your annual eye exam. Treatment includes: prescription eyedrops, laser treatment, surgery and/or oral medication.
- Retinal disorders include: age-related macular degeneration, diabetes-related retinopathy, and retinal detachment. All of these disorders involve the retina, which is a thin lining on the back of the eye. The retina picks up visual images that we see and passes the information to the brain. These disorders affect that process and must be treated by an eye doctor immediately. The treatments vary from surgery to nutritional supplement use, or the injection of medication.
- Temporal Arteritis – is usually diagnosed in older women and involves the arteries of the temple and other areas of the body, as well. These arteries become inflamed and may be obstructed. This is a very serious eye disease that must be treated immediately. If you notice hip pain, scalp tenderness, chronic fever followed by a sudden loss of vision, see your doctor immediately.
There are many visual aids available if you have low vision or are suffering from gradual vision loss.
- Telescopic glasses
- Light filtering lenses
- Magnifying glasses
- Electronic devices that can help you enlarge fonts for easier reading
The Cleveland Clinic notes that seeing your eye doctor regularly for thorough exams and taking special precautions if you have illnesses like diabetes or a family history of eye disease will go a long way in preserving your eyesight. What can you do? If treatment is prescribed, follow your doctor's guidelines.
Don't imagine that your eyesight will get better on its own or somehow you'll be able to see as well as you did before. Ask your doctor about proper diet, exercise and lifestyle changes that may preserve your eyesight.
Senior Healthcare Costs
How you manage the cost of senior healthcare is based on a few factors:
- Your income
- The health coverage provided from your retirement plan
- Government programs that you may qualify for
According to medicare.gov, Medicare is simply federal health insurance for people aged 65 and older, individuals with end-stage kidney disease and some people who are younger who have disabilities.
Medicare is broken down into the following parts and essentially depends on:
- What you prefer
- What you can manage based on your own desires and health status
- What health insurance you already have in place
The ABC's of Medicare
You may think "Am I signing up for senior healthcare or putting together a toy for my grandkids?" With all of the different parts of Medicare it could be a little confusing. Remember that smile? Here we go:
Medicare Parts A & B are called Original Medicare:
- Part A - is hospital insurance for long- term inpatient hospital stays, hospice care, stays in skilled nursing facilities, and home health care
- Part B - is regular medical insurance for medical equipment, home health care, outpatient care, doctor visits and visits from other healthcare providers, and preventative services
- Part C - is also called Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage is simply the Medicare-approved private company plans that give you a different option for your drug coverage and health coverage. These plans also have extra benefits that are not included in Original Medicare, (Parts A & B). Some of these benefits include:
- Dental services
- Part D - is the drug coverage component of Medicare. This includes some vaccines, as well
Medigap is Medicare supplemental insurance. This insurance is purchased from a private company. These companies help you pay your share of the cost involved in original Medicare.
Medicaid Vs. Medicare
Are Medicaid and Medicare the same thing? NO. Medicaid is a government program that provides free healthcare if your income guidelines meet the mandates. Medicaid also offers benefits that Medicare does not, such as:
- personal care services
- nursing home care
- financial assistance to pay for Medicare premiums
Some people qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. This easy link provided on the Medicare.gov website has the link to get more information on whether you qualify for Medicaid based on your income.
Senior Healthcare Includes A Place To Grow Older Gracefully
The old saying goes, "You got to live somewhere". Deciding where to live as you grow older is generally based upon the status of your health. Ideally, most people would like to stay in the place or the same type of residential setting that you enjoyed as a younger adult. However, the reality is that it may not be possible. Daily Caring compiled a list of different options for you when it comes to choosing where you will live as you enjoy your golden years:
- Independent living – retirement communities, retirement home sky, senior housing
- Residential care home – adult family homes
- Continuing care retirement community (CCRC) – communities that have independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing facility in one place
- Assisted living community – small apartments in a care community
- Nursing home/skilled nursing facility
Living In A Facility Or Receiving Care In-Home?
You have a lot of great options, seniors! Making the decision to live in a facility or receiving care at home can be a personal decision based on the status of your health. Senior healthcare should always be managed by the senior, not a loved one or care team. Taking care of your health is key to maintaining control over your decisions. The Administration For Community Living has a wealth of resources to help you learn about how to age in your home.
For more information, take a look at our extensive guide entitled, "Plan for the Best: An Overview of Senior Living Options" by clicking the link...
Why Meal Service Plans Are A Delicious Alternative To Cooking
Hopefully, you're out enjoying life and you just don't feel like slaving over a hot stove any longer. There are a myriad of health care meal service plan alternatives that you can utilize. Many of these programs are free and you may already qualify for them based on your income. Moreover, many of the programs discussed in this guide you may already qualify for.
You may want to avoid shopping for food on occasion. In that case, you can enjoy many innovative programs that provide you with the exact measurements, seasoning and cooking directions for any meal you desire. Some of the meals are already prepared. They offer options like being customizable to fit choices or dietary constraints. Some of the programs are not expensive. Some of these subscription meal plans include:
- Hello Fresh
- Martha and Marley Spoon
- Blue Apron
As you can see, it goes a lot further than Meals on Wheels, but feel free to look into this national program. Knowing that you can receive a nutritional, well-balanced meal without having to pay for it or prepare it is great peace of mind.
How Prescription Discount Plans Can Save You Tons of Money
More than likely your senior healthcare insurance plan has a prescription discount portion. However, there are many prescription discount plans that can save you a lot of money in addition to your health insurance.
Here are some popular prescription discount plans that you should explore just to make sure that you can't receive more savings on your prescription drugs:
According to Paying for Seniorcare.com, the best prescription discount programs include:
- Single Care
- Good Rx
- Blink Health
- Rx Saver
- Costco's CMPP
- Well Rx
- Optum Perks
- Rx Savings Plan
Never leave anything on the table. Your savings can go toward other necessities.
Speaking of Other Necessities, There Is EASY Wireless
Seniors, you may be elgible for free cell phone service from us. It only takes a couple minutes, and you may be able to save hundreds of dollars a year if you qualify.
To learn more, click "Free Internet for Seniors".
Overall Ways To Achieve Healthy Aging
Healthy aging is very similar to healthy living. Of course, there are some special concerns that you face. However, taking good care of yourself is essentially the same at any age. Hopefully, you have the extra time on your hands to enjoy these healthy habits:
- Interaction with family and friends
Utilize services to help you get out. Don't isolate yourself from others. If you can't drive anymore, take advantage of the transportation options listed above. You've earned this time of your life. You deserve to be healthy when you get older.
Some other things you can do to enjoy healthy aging are:
- Getting proper rest
- Taking unnecessary stress out of your life
- Having recreational activities that you enjoy
- Having hobbies that you enjoy
All of these factors are critical to healthy living and healthy aging.
While healthy aging does include monitoring for certain senior healthcare concerns, it involves much more. IT INVOLVES YOU. Don't make the mistake of thinking that aches and pains or symptoms of disease are going to magically disappear. Check in with your body. Check in with your healthcare provider and make certain that you are doing everything you can to maximize your health.
Checking in with a mental health provider is a great idea, as well. If you're suffering from any mental health concerns like
- Extreme loneliness
Any concern that keeps you up at night or that you may even have a question about deserves a check in with a professional. Staying on top of things is the best way to stay on top of the world.
According to The National Institute of Health, the 3D's must be looked out for as regards senior healthcare; Delirium, Dementia, and Depression. Many psychotropic medications for mental illness have special effects on seniors. Make certain that you are following your mental health prescription to the letter and tell your healthcare provider about any concerns immediately.
Remember that smile! Stay Healthy Seniors!