Even if you’ve been doing your best to avoid politics and the news, you’ve likely heard at least some of the rumbling going on about The World’s Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017. Yes. That’s really the name that President Trump and the current congress have given their plan to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. Most people, though, are calling it Trumpcare.
There are a lot of reasons to be confused by the new healthcare bill currently working its way through various House Committees but the targeting of the elderly is what concerns us the most. From ThinkProgress.org:
“Under this plan, insurance companies would be allowed to charge elderly Americans up to five times more than young people.
As a result, annual premiums would rise 22 percent for people between the ages 60 to 64 and people in their 50s would see a 13 percent in annual premiums, according to the AARP Public Policy Institute.”
With the current Medicare enrollment period starting for most people at age 65, it’s no wonder that so many older Americans are worried about how to protect their health under the new Trumpcare plan.
Before you get too discouraged, though, know that many of the issues that affect us in our later years can be prevented or even reversed if they are approached correctly. Here are a few things that you can start doing now if you want to prevent healthcare issues during retirement (especially if the Trumpcare bill passes).
While we would never advocate that you jump onto one of the popular fad diets that are out there (Atkins, we’re looking at you) there are some diet plans that have proven to be beneficial to people trying to improve their health.
The Dash Diet has been especially helpful for people with cardiovascular issues (or the potential for them). According to the Mayo Clinic:
“The DASH diet encourages you to reduce the sodium in your diet and eat a variety of foods rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. By following the DASH diet, you may be able to reduce your blood pressure by a few points in just two weeks. Over time, your systolic blood pressure could drop by eight to 14 points, which can make a significant difference in your health risks. Because the DASH diet is a healthy way of eating, it offers health benefits besides just lowering blood pressure. The DASH diet is also in line with dietary recommendations to prevent osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.”
Sedentary lifestyles can exacerbate even the tiniest issues into big problems. Now, we aren’t going to say you have to start training for a marathon or working to enter bodybuilding competitions (though if that appeals to you, go for it). There are plenty of low impact exercise routines you can do to help build muscle, burn calories and get your heart pumping.
A current favorite for many people is the Bar Method. Billed as a “non-impact total body workout,” this routine lasts up to an hour and uses repetition of no-impact movement to help achieve your goals for fitness. In addition to being a fantastic calorie burner, the bar (or barre) method also helps improve balance and stability. This is especially helpful for older Americans who might feel a little unsteady on their feet sometimes or who might be worried about the affect a fall could have on their bodies.
People who spend time with friends and loved ones tend to be healthier and less stressed than those who spend most of their time in isolation. In addition to improving your stress levels, your friends and loved ones can literally reduce the physical pain you might feel. Those little aches and pains? They can be alleviated by spending time in social settings. This isn’t hyperbole, this is science! So: set up a regular meetup with friends. Join a group of people who share your interests or hobbies. Spend some time volunteering. Get out there!
These three simple changes can help you dramatically improve your health during and even before retirement. Which one will you try first?