Three weeks ago while I was on a quick trip to the store to buy bags of my father’s favorite candy, he fell and broke his hip. From that day on, both of our lives have been turned upside down from the moment we arrived at the hospital to the move to a rehabilitation center after his surgery. We are now forced to make a decision as to whether he can return home or will require 24-hour care.
As days turn into weeks, the need to make choices about long-term care has come knocking with force at my front door. I thought the challenge would be finding the perfect location for my father to receive the care he now needs full-time. However, I’m finding that there’s much more to it. Though my journey is just beginning, I’m learning very quickly that we all need to have a budget plan in place, as well as an idea of how we want to live out our lives, if the time comes that we need long-term care.
Paying for long-term senior care can be a challenge for all families, no matter what your circumstances may be. There are so many unknowns. We don’t know how long we will live or if those years will be spent in good health. We all hope to get lucky and stay healthy until our end, but in reality most people will face health challenges that will increase the need for assistance. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans significantly underestimate the amount of care they’ll need and how long they’ll need it. People are outliving their resources AND they are living much longer than years gone by.
When you plan for your golden years, here are some things to consider.
- Anticipate escalating health needs
- Ask about Medicare policies
- Consider inflation increases
- Give advance notice of limited funds
- Be conservative in your choices
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Luckily for me, I have friends who have dealt with or are currently dealing with making choices about long-term care for their loved ones, whether it be independent or assisted living. All of them have graciously offered their help in guiding me to the correct avenues to enable me to make the best choices for my father’s future in long-term care.
For more information on budgeting and long-term care options, go to www.aarp.org or www.longtermcare.gov
All seniors know they need to exercise, but most don’t know there are simple activities that can be done in the convenience of their home that count towards your daily physical activity goals. If you don’t currently have exercise goals in place, hopefully the following 5 fitness activities will show you how simple it can be to add physical activity to your everyday life.
- Balancing: Although balancing isn’t an obvious part of exercising, everyday activities require the ability to control your body’s position. From getting out of bed, to walking on an uneven sidewalk, and standing on tiptoes to reach something on a top shelf of your cabinet — all involve balance.
- Endurance Aerobic Activities: Endurance, or aerobic activities, increase your breathing and heartbeat, which helps improve heart and lung health. This can make chores like vacuuming and raking the yard easier to do. After all, who wouldn’t want to get a few chores in while helping your heart and lungs at the same time?
- Strength Training: Strength exercises help build muscles and bone, counteracting the weakness that can come with aging. Simple things, like sweeping, carrying in groceries or even getting up from a chair, can help make improvements in your muscle strength and in keeping and maintaining your independence.
- Stretches: As we age, connective tissues become less elastic, so stretching is important to maintain a functioning range of motion. Stretches should never cause pain or serious fatigue, so always be sure to warm your muscles prior to stretching. Take in deep breaths in each stretch for up to 60 seconds to get the full benefit of the stretch, and always be aware of the position of your spine.
- Video Games: Many seniors are now joining the world of video games, and have quickly learned it is the ultimate way to connect with their grandchildren. With popular video game consoles, such as Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect, seniors can use these and the variety of other interactive games to improve their fitness in the comfort of their own home.
Though incorporating a regular exercise routine into your everyday life can take some time, taking a few minutes a day to be more active is crucial to maintaining a healthy and independent lifestyle. Before you start any exercise routine, be sure to discuss your plans with your doctor for any health restrictions he or she may want you to consider before getting started. Also discuss with your family your plans so they can help you check your home to make sure there are no safety issues that need to be handled before you start your exercise plan.