In my research for Affiliate Marketing for Grandparents, I have read a lot horror stories about what happens when you are not prepared for health issues that occur once a person is retired. Since I’m the plan-plan-planner, I thought about some scenarios that would help these people overcome health issues and emergencies that are likely to arise when I finally retire. I thought this list would be helpful to my readers, and perhaps it will help them be more prepared for the inevitable. So, here is my health care advice for retirees. Let me know what you think!
Get Health Issues Addressed Before Retirement
Perhaps the most important thing you can do for yourself that will save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run, is to take care of any health issues you can before you retire. Here is a list of things you should consider:
Get your weight under control. Get on a permanent diet and exercise program, either through your doctor, or through your local senior community program. Getting your weight under control can help avoid many issues such as heart disease or stroke.
Quit smoking. Avoid or lower your risk for heart or lung disease and stroke. Plus, if you look at the money you spend buying cigarettes, think about the savings that you can accumulate if you quit.
Get any joint replacements done. For someone like me, I already have arthritis, and I have 10 years or so until I retire. I know my hips and knees are not going to make it much past that 10 years. It would be best if you get those joints replaced before I go on Medicare.
Take care of elective surgeries. If you have anything you need done, it’s best to get it taken care of before you go off your employer health plan, and while you are at full salary. I have a deviated septum, that I should get fixed. There are things like hernia repair, mole removal, hysterectomy, or any number of issues you may be dealing with that would be better fixed before you retire. It will cost less of your out-of-pocket money, plus think about how much more you will enjoy retirement if you have all of those pesky health issues cleared up.
Get dentures or implants. Remember that Medicare and Medicaid don’t cover dental issues. Get your teeth in good working order before you go into retirement.
Take care of cataracts, update eye glasses, laser eye repair surgery, hearing aids, etc. None of these are covered under Medicare or Medicaid either. So get them all fixed up before you leave your full time job.
Get Your Long Term Health Care Insurance Lined Up
Long term care is something people don’t want to talk about. However, being prepared before you go into retirement is for the best. Who knows? You could go twenty years into retirement and not have a health issue that requires long term care. But you never know. Things happen. People in good health can have things go suddenly wrong. Plus there are accidents that can happen. You don’t know what life will bring you. And as a senior citizen, you are at a higher risk for a debilitating illness or injury than a younger, and therefore healthier person.
See my article about long term care here, to see costs, types of care, long term care insurance, and more.
Set Up a Health Care Advocate
Again, you cannot look into your crystal ball and determine what will happen to your health once you retire. While you are still healthy and of sound mind, it is best to set up a health care advocate. This is a trusted person who can make health decisions for you if you become incapacitated.
There are two schools of thought about whether your health advocate is the same person as your designated financial overseer:
If the person is one-in-the-same, and this sounds a little on the ugly side, then health decisions can be made, factoring in how much money certain health considerations cost. I know it’s unpleasant to think about, but those of us who aren’t rich have to worry about these things. We need to consider what our insurance will cover, plus we don’t wish to bankrupt our spouse in the process.
By the same token, if the health advocate and the financial overseer is the same, there might be bias, especially if there is a chance of that person receiving any type of gain based on the decision made. A health care advocate who only makes health care decisions can leave money completely out of the process, if need be.
The person should not be your spouse or significant other. Often times, if there’s a health emergency, the spouse or loved one may make decisions based on their own emotions. To avoid this, make sure your designated advocate is someone who can make a hard decision with less emotion involved.
Here are some steps you can take to set up a health care advocate:
Visit a legal professional. Find out what legal documents need to be in place for an advocate to make decisions on your behalf. Your lawyer can determine legally at what point your advocate can step in and make your decisions for you. Check with your legal consultant for any other ways this can be accomplished.
Set up a Living Will. This can be done at any health facility, usually a hospital. I have one set up in the hospital of my home town. When I am having health procedures done, health care providers always ask if I have a Living Will and where it is located. A Living Will is a lengthy form you can fill out to determine what you want done for almost any health scenario. I know when I did mine, that they asked at what point I would want treatment discontinued on a variety of different illnesses. It’s a good idea, too, to update this document every five years or so to make sure it accommodates any life changes you have made over time.
Pick a person. You should select a person you trust. It can be a friend or a family member. Pick someone who is younger than you, so you can have a long term relationship throughout your retirement with them. Think of the relationship as like a god-parent and god-child, or a god-caretaker and god-care-recipient, and you would be the recipient. This person should know where all your health information is kept, where your Living Will resides, and should know your family members as well.
Make sure everyone in your family and friendship circle knows who your advocate is. That way if there is a health emergency, your advocate will be contacted. You could even designate your advocate as your emergency contact.
Maintain regular contact with your advocate. Update that person with any health issues or needs, so that your advocate knows those aspects when it’s time to put them into action.
Create a Relationship With Your Doctor
As always consult your doctor with any health issues you may encounter. Work hard to develop a real relationship with your doctor, so when or if a health emergency occurs, your doctor can work with your advocate to make sure your wishes are accommodated as much as possible under the circumstances.
Back Up Plan
So you have likely been asking yourself, how do I pay for all of this? And if you have been reading my blog, you will know what my position is. I advocate for having a back up plan that can help you pay for all of those pre-retirement health procedures, long term care insurance payments, lawyer payments, and the like. Become an affiliate marketer with Wealthy Affiliate. Earn the extra money that you will need to be prepared for retirement. Please see my articles here:
I have always gone by the words of wisdom I heard once: prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Of course, you can’t KNOW what’s going to happen. But it’s great to be prepared when something does happen. So take the steps above and get your health situation ready for retirement. It will give you peace of mind and will allow you more freedom once you do retire.
Please leave your questions and comments below, and thank you for reading!