Getting Healthy Shouldn’t Be Expensive: 3 Ways Seniors Can Boost Their Health On A Budget

*guest post by Jason Lewis

Looking at fitness classes, meal delivery services, and other health-related products, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that a healthy lifestyle is unaffordable. But the truth is, living well doesn’t have to cost a lot. If you want to improve your health but are worried about the expense, try these three strategies for staying healthy on a budget.

Avoid Sticker Shock at the Doctor

Out-of-pocket medical bills are disastrous for your budget. Not only is healthcare expensive, but most of the time you don’t know what a procedure costs until you get the bill.

Original Medicare comes with significant cost-sharing requirements. Without supplemental coverage, Medicare beneficiaries spend an average of $5,374 on out-of-pocket medical costs (not including premiums) every year. Seniors with high medical needs and no supplemental coverage spend more than $7,000 on out-of-pocket costs.

Supplemental coverage reduces out-of-pocket costs so your medical spending is more predictable and easier to budget around. Instead of getting hit with a big bill after a hospital visit, you pay premiums for a Medigap or Medicare Advantage plan that reduces your cost-sharing requirements. If you have high medical needs, Medigap is likely the better choice for you. Otherwise, you can see greater savings with a Medicare Advantage plan like those from Humana. Medicare Advantage plans vary by state, so you’ll want to comparison shop and crunch numbers to find the most cost-effective plan for you.

Supplement Your Workout at Home

Staying active saves you thousands in healthcare costs, but if you’re only paying attention to your health while you’re at the gym, you’re not getting the most bang for your buck. Healthy habits at home — especially those focused on your mental health — can exponentially improve the health benefits you see from just working out alone. 

From speeding up physical recovery to making workouts more enjoyable, incorporating self-care into your life boast a slew of benefits. However, many people don’t make it a priority because they erroneously think taking care of themselves means long massages, expensive vacations, or other costly, time-consuming activities. 

Fortunately, that’s not the case. There are plenty of budget-friendly self-care tactics you can incorporate into your daily routine. Whether you have a few minutes or a few hours, daily meditation, a relaxing bath, and an earlier bedtime are just a few examples of how you can prioritize your own well-being without breaking the bank. 

Eat Healthy on a Budget

Are you convinced that eating healthy is too expensive? There’s no question that healthy foods can be costly, but they don’t have to be. If you shop all organic from a high-end grocer and eat out several times a week, a dietary shift could double your grocery bill. But there are plenty of ways to eat well without spending a fortune.

Instead of buying everything organic, stick to the dirty dozen for your organic produce and buy conventional for the rest. You should also eat smaller servings of free-range and grass-fed meat, getting more of your protein from plant sources instead. Rather than buying processed foods that hike up your grocery bill without providing much nutritional value, stick to whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and fresh meat and fish. Buying from the bulk section is another great call: When producers don’t have to pay for packaging, those savings are passed along to you. Just pay attention to price, because while most things are cheaper in bulk, some bulk products could be more expensive.

There’s no shortage of products promising better health in exchange for your hard-earned money, but good health doesn’t come from a miracle cure or any other quick-fix solution. If you really want to enjoy your best health, start with the basics: good healthcare, an active lifestyle, and a healthy diet. These simple steps don’t cost a lot and will save you thousands in health problems throughout your senior years.

“Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–taking these steps can help us all.

*This post was written by guest blogger Jason Lewis. Jason is a personal trainer and the primary caretaker of his mom after her surgery. He created StrongWell.org and enjoys curating fitness programs that cater to the needs of people over 65.

Free Event–Senior Synergy

This free event is for anyone who is of a certain age or if you are in need of information for someone who is of a certain age. This event will educate the citizens of Tarrant County, Texas about the services that are available to them. It will empower baby boomers, seniors and caregivers to live a healthier lifestyle.

There will be workshops on such topics as healthy cooking, Medicare, aging gracefully and much more. In addition to a keynote speaker who will talk on online safety, there will be free health screenings.

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Register by April 28 by calling 817.884.1234. There will also be a delicious lunch served.

Check your local areas for similar events. Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Be informed.

Long-Term Care/Living-Care Insurance Discussion

Long term care insurance 2As women of a certain age, we must have or should have things in place as we mature.  We may have learned from the example that our parents and or grandparents shared with us.  Were they prepared for the time that illness over took them?  Maybe they recovered, but maybe it took a while.  You wanted your love one to be some place where they were comfortable.  Maybe they wanted to stay in their own home–they just needed someone to check on them daily.  Where was the money coming from for these services?  Do you even know how much it cost for these services

We all want our love ones and even ourselves to be able to go into our golden years with the best care possible.  We’ve takenLong term care insurance 1 out health insurance, but it is not long-term care insurance.  Long-term care insurance pays for items that health care insurance does not.  It can pay for the cost of an assisted living facility, assistance for caring for you and more.

Long term care insurance 3Medicare and Medicaid more often than not do not pay for these basically non-medical expenses.  Let’s just be honest here, the more insurance you have, the better the facility (yep, I said it). I know personally how much it cost when a love one is in an assisted living facility and needs 24 hour a day care. I’ve seen first hand the hardships of taking care of a love one who needs care–not just financially but emotionally. Long term care insurance can help financially and even emotionally.

Premiere of Lionsgate's One of my favorite people, Angela Bassett tells of her experience with caring for love ones.  She is continuing the talk on aging and long-term care insurance. She uses the term living-care, and that’s exactly what it is. Angela is on the second leg of an initiative called the LetsTalkTour (she is a spokesperson for an insurance company*). She talks candidly about living-care in the article below that was written by Brennan Williams for the Huffington Post. Please read the article and start the conversation.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/08/angela-bassett-genworth-lets-talk-now_n_7747416.html

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Let’s talk about living-care.

*thisisyourbestyear does not endorse any insurance company, please check with you insurance carrier, and make comparisons to find the best plan for you or a love one.