Baby boomers are now in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. They make up more than a quarter of the US population, and will only continue to get older. With so many people beginning to enter their later years, there could soon be many elderly citizens who need care. With this in mind, it’s essential for boomers to take control of their own health while they can. If you’re part of the generation, it’s time for you to start thinking more about your health as you get older. There are lots of decisions you need to make. They range from getting necessary tests carried out to thinking about retirement. It can be difficult to think about your health now, let alone in the future. But it’s essential if you want to keep up your quality of life. Use this guide to start thinking about some of the important health decisions you should make.
Go For Recommended Tests
Yes, your 40s and 50s are the years when you suddenly have to subject yourself to a barrage of tests. You may have already had some of the recommended tests for a variety of diseases and conditions. Your risk of developing many illnesses depends on your age and gender. It can also be influenced by ethnicity and family history. Women should start getting mammograms, while men should begin having prostate-specific antigen tests. If you’re not sure what you need, start by looking at a list of recommended tests for your age range and gender. You can also speak to your primary physician, who should be happy to help you out.
Image: Ian MacKenzie
Get Dental Insurance
You only get one set of adult teeth, and we don’t all look after them as well as we should. When you get to your later years, you might realize that it’s your last chance to care for them properly. Dental care can be expensive. It can be especially hard when you already have other medical costs to take care of. You can find you need to go to the dentist more as you get older too. Taking out dental insurance can make it easier to manage the costs. You’ll worry less about going to the dentist too often when your insurance place will take care of it. You can find some more reasons for boomers to take out dental insurance at the Guardian Life blog. Choosing the right plan for you can be confusing. Make sure you compare different providers to ensure you pick the best one
Watch Your Weight
Many people are tired of hearing about obesity. But it’s a significant health problem for boomers. Being overweight doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re unhealthy in other ways. However, it indicates that you could have several other problems associated with being overweight. One of the most important things to watch out for is diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a risk for obese people, and it can lead to other health problems. It also increases the effects of aging, so it’s essential to recognize its risks. If you’re overweight, it could be because you have a poor diet or don’t exercise enough. Both of these things can cause health issues such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
Giving Up Your Vices
Most of us have habits that we know aren’t good for us but that we love. There’s no rule that says we have to give any of them up. However, you should weigh up the risks and benefits to decide what to do. Some people would rather enjoy themselves and deal with the consequences later. Others prefer to live a cleaner life so that they can live longer and remain healthier. Many baby boomers are healthier than those from previous generations. The often have a better attitude to health. They smoke less and are more aware about diet and exercise.
You might not think of retirement as a health decision, but it is in many ways. Choosing to retire can mean you’re less stressed and have more time to focus on your health. However, working can also have health benefits. A lot of people find themselves at a loss when they retire, and their mental health suffers as a result. Because people are living longer, your retirement could last 30 years, or even longer. This can mean that retiring in your 60s can cause money worries. Many people are choosing to retire later or taking a semi-retirement. If you decide to keep working part-time or even start a business, you have to take your health into account.
Go Digital with Your Health Care
There are many people who believe older generations aren’t switched on to technology. But baby boomers are in fact a well-connected generation. They use the internet regularly, and they buy the latest gadgets. Some of those gadgets, such as fitness trackers, are excellent for looking after your health. Increasingly, health companies are helping you to go digital with your health care. You can compare insurance plans online, for example. You can even use your smartphone to help your doctor monitor your health. If you aren’t already using some of this technology, you should consider if it will benefit you.
Reassess Your Health Insurance
It might be time for you to have another look at your health insurance provider. As you get older, you could decide that your current plan is no longer suitable for you. So how can you choose a new plan? Perhaps you’re enjoying the benefits that technology can offer your health. If so, you might consider choosing a provider that caters to tech-lovers. If you become eligible for Medicare, you might want to explore your options. Before you switch your insurance provider, you should talk to your doctor. You can discuss your needs in the next year or two to help you choose the best provider and plan.
Think About Aged Care
No one wants to think about getting older, but unfortunately, we all have to. Baby boomers are likely to live longer than any previous generation. Not only that, but many studies show that they are healthier and more involved with their health too. But you are by no means immortal or immune from illnesses and disabilities. Many of us could reach a stage when we need some level of care, even if it’s only a little. It’s a good idea to start thinking about any medical or care needs you might have in the future. You never know if you might be unable to make decisions later on. You should discuss with your family, or perhaps your friends, what you want in the future. Talk about where you want to live and what sort of medical care you want. You might also consider creating a living will.
Caring for Your Parents
Some of the most significant health are decisions you might have to make as a baby boomer aren’t for you. While many boomers are healthy, they often have to put their own health behind that of their parents. While baby boomers are living longer, their parents often are too. This means having to make decisions about living arrangements and health care, especially when they can’t make them on their own. These issues can have an impact on your health too. Helping to care for someone else can take its toll and cause you stress and illness. If you have to care for an elderly relative, you need to try and watch out for your health too. This could involve helping to find them a new home or using respite care when you need a break.
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Who Will Care for You?
Many people assume that their children will care for them when they are older. However, there are never any guarantees. It’s also possible that caring for your own parents makes you realize you don’t want the same for your kids. Some boomers don’t have any children and have to consider alternatives right away. Even if you are adamant that you don’t want family to care for you, you still need someone to make decisions for you. It’s a good time to start discussing things like medical power of attorney. If you don’t have children, you have friends, godchildren or other family who can help you.
Health and Finances
It’s difficult to deny that your healthcare is intrinsically linked with your finances. Your options as you get older depend on your insurance and your funds. You may wish to live out the rest of your life in your home, but would you be able to afford 24/7 home care if you needed it? When you think about your health as someone who is middle-aged, you need to think about money too. Budgeting for your retirement should include considering any care or treatment you might need.
Everyone has to think about their health more as they get older. Baby boomers have to think about theirs in a different way to previous generations, however. They’re set to live even longer, which could mean a higher risk of various health problems.