To remain financially solvent in later life, your health will be your greatest asset -- not your bank book.
Society has reached a point when somebody else will no longer pick up the tab for your failure to respect your body. The financial burden of poor health will fall on you.
What basis do I have for making such a statement?
Allow me to list a few:
I had a conversation with a retiree from a salaried position. He said he received a letter stating his former employer will no longer provide health care benefits to salaried retirees next year.
Fidelity Investments reports lifetime health care costs will cost a couple who retired last year about $200,000 in health care costs.
Looking at our agency's local data shows no end to skyrocketing drug costs. Although there are many low-cost generic drugs, too few doctors are prescribing generic medications. In 2000, it was the uninsured who could not afford their medicine. An average subsidy of $65 per person a month was needed to buy drugs that treat diabetes, congestive heart failure, arthritis, high blood pressure, cataracts or glaucoma -- the most common illnesses of older people.
Today, we are finding a need to subsidize those with Medicare Part D prescription insurance. The sample population we are studying requires a partial subsidy of at least $123 per person a month to treat the same illnesses.
Pharmaceutical companies demonstrate a growing interest in generic drugs. Jim Guest, president of Consumer Reports.Org says, "Brand-name drug companies are jumping into the generic market by repackaging their own products to go head-to-head with existing generic manufacturers. While that might seem like a good thing, more competitors and lower prices make generic manufacturers less motivated to vie for smaller profits. The FTC is considering an assessment of both the short-term and long-term competitive effects."
It is clear now is the time to treat our bodies and our minds with greater reverence. If you are 60 or older, in your normal weight range, and you can walk, bend, lift, balance, problem-solve and recall information without difficulty, now is the time to preserve and improve what your body and mind has to offer. If you are not in your normal weight range and noticing a little difficulty doing these activities, now is the time to improve. It is not too late. You can't afford not to.
For information on what you can do to improve your health, call the National Institute on Aging at 800-222-2225, or go to niapublications.org/exercisebook, and download the book "Exercise: A Guide from the National Institute on Aging."
Q: I heard the Erie County Senior Center is offering trips. What are the trips?
A: If you are an animal lover, then you'll want to know about Tuesday's trip. There will be a group leaving from the Erie County Senior Center at 1 p.m. to the Erie County Humane Society, then they will make a stop at Toft's Dairy. Call Jeni Hammond for information at 419-626-2560.
There is a trip to the Home & Garden Show in Cleveland on Feb. 6. The motorcoach leaves the Erie County Senior Center at 10 a.m. Cost is $40. On Feb. 28, the motorcoach leaves the Erie County Senior Center at 4 p.m. to see the Toledo Storm Hockey Game. Cost is $50 and includes the game and dinner. Call Jeni Hammond for information 419-626-2560.
Q: I heard some people can go on the Erie County Senior Center trips for free. Is that true?
A: Thanks to the Erie County Senior Center Auxiliary, the cost can be reduced to an affordable amount. But it's not free. If you would like an application for this One-Day Trip Scholarship, call 419-624-1856 or 800-564-1856, and ask Celeste, Nancy or Rosemarie to send you an application.
Q: I tried to use Serving Our Seniors' Drug Repository, and it didn't have the drug I needed. What am I supposed to do now?
A: The majority of drugs donated to Serving Our Seniors' Drug Repository are generic drugs. We, too, are finding that doctors are prescribing name brand drugs, and that is not the majority of the medicines we received. Tell your doctor you need him to prescribe medicines you can afford. Because Serving Our Seniors has already found you to be eligible to use the Drug Repository, call our office and let us give you a list of medicines you can take with you to your doctor. That way he can prescribe a medicine that will not cost more than $7.40 per prescription. If we have a large volume of that drug in our inventory, the $7.40 can fill a 90-day supply of the drug if that is how your doctor writes the prescription.