I just had a big birthday, and thank you to everyone who shared wishes, cards, hugs, and time. I also watched a webinar on open enrollment for Medicare. One event makes me happy to be so old, and the other gives me anxiety. The birthday was grand, kind, and left me feeling loved. The health insurance was complex, overwhelming, and depressing.
Almost everything in life has a good and bad side with a middle fence to straddle. I guess it depends on the balance of our thoughts as to what side we fall.
As a senior, I love the freedom of no longer setting an alarm five days a week, having time to pursue creative projects, and checking wishes off my bucket list. But, like many, I lost my spouse, and now I feel lonely and unsure of my future. Watching a webinar on copays, premiums, out-of-pocket expenses, and emergency rooms versus urgent care did not help my day.
When I was young, Akron had four great doctors, insurance was not king, and doctors came to our house if called. We seldom needed a doctor on the farm except when kids had strep throat or a broken bone. A hospital stay was $100/day, and I thought that was outrageous.
Today, I genuinely wonder how seniors manage their healthcare. Many don’t have computers, and those who do can attest to the challenge of manipulating complex websites. When I get Medicare statements in the mail, I roll my eyes and toss them on my desk, hoping they disappear. I know I should go green, but it is easier for me to organize and track paper.
It is also a shift to realize my need for support and advice from my kids. I don’t like feeling insecure with my decisions or adding responsibilities to their already overfull lives. Then I think of seniors who live away from their kids, also have no spouse, or don’t have children or siblings. My aging and healthcare problems are minimal in comparison.
Most seniors I know have worked very hard their whole life. In return, some have been paid well, some not so well, and some, such as many housewives, received zero pay. I can count my blessings for my retirement, computer skills, family, and financial ability to afford supplemental insurance. But everyone isn’t so fortunate.
As I finish this article, I ask us all to increase compassion for seniors in our community. I think we can all offer more physical help, visiting time, or something a simple as giving the cashier extra money to pay toward a senior’s small cart of groceries.
Getting old has benefits, but losses and health issues can be overwhelming and discouraging. Growing old and older alone can also add challenges. We are in this world together, and we will all get old if we’re lucky. So, why not help make it pleasant?
Until the next time: Live while you live.
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