Improving health literacy should be one of your top priorities when preparing for the future. And this is why we’re making a big push to help you and other readers out, by sharing some easy (yet effective) health tips that you can do.
1) The Case of Health Literacy
As we’ve discussed previously, health literacy is an issue that should be strongly tackled, especially by baby boomers entering the retirement phase of their lives. With more than 77 million people all across the country recorded to have poor health literacy skills (as documented by the National Assessment of Adult Literacy), the incapability to search, interpret, and use health information and resources can lead to financial, health, and even emotional problems.
And as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), inadequate health literacy can even be experienced by individuals who read well or are familiar with numbers. Some of the cases that this happens are when:
- A person isn’t familiar with medical terms or how his or her body works.
- The situation when the afflicted needs to interpret statistics and weigh available options that will affect his or her health and safety.
- Being diagnosed with a serious illness and confusion and fear sets in.
- Because of health conditions that require complicated self-care procedures, maintenance, or treatment.
- If an individual is voting on an issue that affects the community’s overall health – which may require reliance on unfamiliar technical data.
Because of these cases, the issue of misinterpreting or mismanagement of medical information can result in these major problems (based on findings from the American Medical Association):
- More emergency room visits (with a significant number of visits deemed as unnecessary)
- More and possibly longer hospital stays
- Higher mortality rates
- Less or no compliance to treatment plans or a physician’s advice
The point is, by not improving health literacy skills, one can only expect more stress, frustration, pain, and medical bills to pay for their future.
As such, make a difference today by taking a proactive approach to learning and sourcing out medical information is the way to go. As suggested by the CDC, an excellent strategy in your pursuit of knowledge and understanding of health terms can be done by getting information that contains these three essential factors:
A best practice of this point is that information only offers relevant and factual data presented in a way that people can understand.
On how a person can be able to see or use the information in whatever medium it is presented. One noteworthy case that we’d want to point out with this factor is online information. True enough, searching for health or medical data online is accessible, but one needs to keep his wits up by knowing how to separate irrelevant information (such as the popular term nowadays, “false news”) from the legitimate sources.
Lastly, the health literature needs to be something that a person can take action from. Information is valuable, yes, but with no means for a person to know what to do next, then you may just as well consider that data null.
Aside from the “Three A’s,” other ways to improve on literacy of health terms and the like is to reach out to experts. It never hurts to consult with health professionals or doctors on procedures and information. Remember, the key to a brighter and satisfying future is you equipped with the right set of tools, resources, and knowledge when it comes to health issues!
2) Consider Different Approaches to Stay Physical
Another way to achieve the retirement years you desire and stay healthy as well is to have a physical first mindset. Of course, keeping fit may not be for everyone (considering existing health conditions or lifestyles), but finding other ways to stay physical is possible. Here are some suggestions:
Strength Training – Your Way
If, by any chance, you can’t enroll in a gym class (by choice or other situations), consider creating a workout session that you can commit to at home. Improving your strength doesn’t strictly mean lifting weights. Shopping bags and even a stack of books can serve as replacements – just please remember to practice safety and caution when lifting heavy objects!
Walk this Way
Brisk walks, even just around the block can be a good workout. Even taking the stairs can give you some much-needed exercise.
Swim this Way
If you’re into it, a few laps in a pool can be both a refreshing and active way to keep fit. Just please make sure that there is a lifeguard – or a friend – nearby to watch you.
Dance to the Beat of Life
Up for something fun and exciting to stay fit? Try dancing! Aside from possibly giving you a total workout session, dance may also grant you some positivity that you’ll truly appreciate during the golden years. Even better, dancing with a partner – or a group – can be an experience that you’ll truly treasure.
No matter how you choose to stay physically active, finding inspiration to drive you to overcome the fear or grind of a workout session, will matter. A good example of a fitness inspiration is Sister Madonna Buder. Popularly known as the Iron Nun, Buder holds the world record of being the oldest person to finish the Ironman Triathlon (done during the 2012 Subaru Ironman Canada Triathlon at the age of 82). If a nun can do it, what’s stopping you from accomplishing great feats of fitness, right?
3) Healthy Eating Matters
You are what you eat, as so the common adage goes, and this tidbit of truth couldn’t ring much louder when it comes to retirement planning as well. Check for some of the most common health tips online, and chances are, you’d find out that eating healthy will result in lots of benefits for the golden years.
According to the AARP (in their article, Why Eating Dead Food Is Bad for Your Health), the perfect plate of food you should be consuming contains:
- 50% vegetables and fruits
- 25% whole grains
- 25% meat, poultry, or fish
Now, combine this plate with an active lifestyle and the other tips mentioned in this post, then you are more than likely to not only stay healthy, but feel as your best self during retirement.
What we have always been conditioned when it comes to food is that as long what we eat tastes good, then it’s probably great for out health as well. But all those sugar, fast food, and processed meals that our bodies constantly crave for are definitely not great for one’s wellness. The nutrients that a boomer need are often found in the food we’ve mentioned in the equation above. And the common denominator with those food choices? They’re all natural!
4) Creating and Building Connections
Humans are social beings, so make sure that you reach out and keep in touch with the people closest to your heart during the golden years. The best way to make the most out of your retirement years is by being and staying connected with others. Social isolation, seen to be common among boomers today, can be a crippling condition that results in depression and even alcohol or drug abuse. The anxiety one has because of the feeling of getting left out (or worse, abandoned) can derail one’s plans for the future.
Aside from friends and family, take the initiative to go out and meet new people. The point is, retirement is a time for you to make the most of what life has to offer. What’s stopping you from enjoying these years? Why single yourself out from all the fun and joy these years can provide, when you can connect and relate with fellow-minded individuals? Connect with others – you can be sure that this will brighten up your days.
5) Retirement Solutions to Focus on Both Health and Finances
When addressing retirement health and wealth concerns, make sure to consider Medicare Supplement Plans and Long Term Care Insurance. These two insurance solutions cater to boomer needs, efficiently allowing retirees to live life to the fullest during the twilight years.
Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans
Also known as Medigap, this form of insurance will help you pay for out-of-pocket fees not covered by Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). By addressing these expenses, you are essentially given the opportunity to focus on the more important details of retirements. Also, an important benefit that you can gain from Medigap plans is that it applying for a policy will also help you in improving your health literacy – the coverage tackles different medical terms, an excellent opportunity to learn new concepts!
To get the most out of a Medicare Supplement Plan, make sure to purchase a plan during the Medigap Open Enrollment Period. A duration of six months, beginning when you turn 65 and when you are also enrolled in Medicare Part B, enrolling in this period gives you these advantages:
- Insurance companies cannot refuse to sell you any Medigap policy it offers.
- Insurance companies cannot charge you higher premiums.
- Insurance companies cannot delay the start of your Medicare Supplement coverage.
Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI)
An LTCI plan will help policyholders pay for custodial care during the retirement years. With individuals, age 65 years and above expected to receive this form of care (and considering the rising costs of these services), purchasing a plan is definitely a good idea.
Make sure to purchase an LTCI as early as possible. Premiums may increase as one age, and qualification is easier when buying earlier because existing health conditions are considered.
6) The Force is With You
Lastly, and probably one of the best health tips that we can share with you, is for you to realize that everything begins with you. You have the force within yourself that can determine good health during your golden years.
Confidence to face the future is needed for you to attain what you desire. And the only way for you to do that is to believe in yourself – we do know that you can, considering that you’re reading this and are looking for ways to prepare! So give yourself a pat on your back!
We hope that these health tips will help you in planning for your future. Do you have other ideas or suggestions to share? Please let us know below.