Staying healthy can be a bigger challenge as people get older. Chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease affect a significant proportion of seniors. A healthy lifestyle is still the best way to remain healthy in the golden years. Medicare has made affordable healthcare possible for nearly all seniors. For the medical costs not covered by Medicare, many life insurance companies also offer Medicare supplemental coverage.
Living with chronic conditions
As a part of the aging process, people are affected by chronic conditions like arthritis, diabetes and even heart disease. As many as 87% of older Americans suffer from at least one such chronic condition, and 68% suffer from two or more. This makes the U.S. the country with the highest rates of chronic health conditions, according to a 2014 report from The Commonwealth Fund.
The prevalence of chronic conditions comes with high costs, adding up to over two-thirds of all health care expenses. For older people, as much as 95% of all health care costs are for chronic diseases, according to The State of Aging and Health in America report for 2013.
Choosing a healthy lifestyle
There are many other factors besides age causing chronic conditions. These include diet, lifestyle, and heredity. Diet and lifestyle are factors that can be controlled, and in fact form the basis of any program of preventative medical care. Following basic recommendations for foods like fruit, vegetables and fiber can go a long way in staying fit and active in later life.
The recommended amount of fruits is at least 1.5 to 2 servings of fruit daily and for vegetables, this is 2 to 2.5 cups. The Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intakes further recommends a daily intake of 21 grams of fiber for women ages 50 and older. For men 50 and older, this value is 30 grams. Regular exercise is also an important part of staying healthy while aging.
Paying for medical expenses
There are times when medical care becomes necessary. For seniors, Medicare is a government-run health insurance program that pays for basic medical costs. Medicare has long been cited as a healthcare success story. It provides heath insurance to around 98% of Americans over the age of 65 according to The Commonwealth Fund. As recently as 1962, half of all the people in this age group were uninsured.
Some costs such as medical expenses while traveling are not covered by Medicare. Seniors must purchase supplemental plans to cover all medical costs. Many life insurance companies also sell Medicare supplemental plans, geared to individual needs.
The greater majority of seniors over the age of 65 years are living with chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. A healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and exercise is part of a program of preventative medical care. Medicare meets most medical expenses for seniors over the age of 65 years. For expenses not covered by Medicare, many life insurance companies also sell Medicare supplemental plans to meet individual needs for greater coverage.