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Chronic illness and the expenses attached to them are on the rise in the United States. Many people who are diagnosed with a chronic illness are not ready for the expensive, long-term conditions they will face. Has this caused worry in your own life? Or perhaps you just don’t have time for getting sick.
In the 1900s, people most often died from acute illness and their longevity was around 45 years. One hundred years later, most people die slowly from a chronic illness after their 70th birthday. This change in human experience is top of mind for many Americans today.
We all have witnessed loved ones who suffer from both these kinds of chronic illness. Many of us are motivated to avoid these same conditions in our own futures.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a list of the top 10 most expensive illnesses that are impacting many of our families. As a professional health coach, I am educated to help those who are avoiding the onset of Type 2 Diabetes by using Self-Care to reverse their Prediabetes. Other coaches help people manage different chronic illnesses with their doctors.
Every person who better manages their illness hopes to save money, time, and frustration. We have already thought a bit about the expenses of illness in general, and if you are like me, you have better ideas for your budget in retirement. Financial planners and healthcare payers are banking on improvements in managing chronic illnesses. If we can avoid or delay the progression of illness, we have more options for our financial future.
We would all like to see Medicare beneficiaries receive financial support to pay for the high cost of chronic care and treatment. Medicare’s data from 2012 tells a similar story to the CDC report, and perhaps that also motivates you to think through your own health options?
Some women in the 50+ age group are hit hard when a chronic illness starts slowing them down…other women report less stress due to their confidence, control and ability to cope during midlife. Where do you fall on this continuum between high stress and high confidence? Many women find great benefit to community support in their later years, and I hope for you that this is true.
All types of chronic illness need daily care that rests nearly entirely on the patient’s shoulders. Yet, people tend to deny their diagnosis due to stress and financial obstacles. No one wants to associate a “bad” lifestyle as the cause of their costly chronic illness. The kinds of activities and treatments that our doctors want us to follow when we are ill are often ignored.
Adherence to chronic disease management is low–about 50 percent. Diabetes is no exception,” Edward Chao, DO
By 2030, the baby boomer women of the 1950s (HELLO!) will begin to reach age 85. Financially and lovingly supporting millions of elderly persons with serious chronic illness will be an American challenge, and often, a challenge mostly for the women in America. How many of you have ever taken the role of voluntary care provider for a family member who is ill?
Less than half of this financial cost will be covered by Medicaid. RAND Health published a report in 2003 telling us that by 2050, long-term care will reach $379 billion annually. Compare this to the 2015 federal spending on Medicare and Health of $66 billion annually. How will we all prepare for this huge cost hike? What shall we do as a community of women seeking wellness during our own graceful aging?
I believe that it is wise to understand the shortcomings in our current medical system. Every generation of Americans can have an impact on how the weak and ill are cared for by professionals, governments, and the community. Our beloved doctors are educated to rescue us in times of health emergency–mostly with surgery or medication–and the rest of our health care needs are managed by us as personal health leaders in our own families. I urge you to talk to your family about all the health-promoting activities that happen outside doctor’s offices, hospitals, and nursing homes.