Health awareness for the “old folks”

Long term care can be expensive; insurance packages are available to help with those costs. AP Photo, Michael Dwyer.

by Bruce Hartley
Life Issues Columnist

In honor of LGBTQ Health Awareness Week, I am sharing my thoughts on a few health issues pertaining to people 50+. Most of my ideas could apply to all ages. As an older adult, I don’t always like being labeled “old” or even sometimes as a “senior.” I honestly believe age is just a number and shouldn’t be a big deal except when we are trying to get special discounts. Just kidding.

As we age, many of us think about what our parents are going through or what they have gone through. Last year, my father passed away after ten years of fighting the horrible illness of Alzheimer’s. The decade of caring for him was difficult for my mother, my siblings and myself. Watching him go downhill mentally and physically was rough.

I found myself asking myself if I would inherit the Alzheimer’s gene and wondered how that would impact my loved ones down the road. I decided that it was time to research insurance policies for long-term health care.

My parents were wonderful examples of thinking forward and had an insurance policy that helped pay the expenses involved in caring for my father. This was a big financial help to our family.

My partner and I started doing research for insurance policies and we found a good option; a term life insurance policy with “living benefits.” The great thing about this policy is that it offers coverage for terminal/chronic medical expenses while we are living, along with death benefits. Our insurance agent suggested it to us as an alternative to “Assisted Living” insurance.

This plan will cover any chronic health expenses and should take care of anything that comes up down the road, such as what Alzheimer’s medical expenses. This plan gave me the peace of mind that I was searching for as I wondered if I inherited the Alzheimer’s gene.

The costs involved in caring for a person with a long-term illness, such as Alzheimer’s, are expensive. I believe we all should make plans to cover the costs so our loved ones are not strapped with the bills along with caring for us emotionally at such a hard time.

Don’t forget about the additional important LGBTQ health issues that we all must remember.

1. Proper protection is essential when being sexually active (all ages).

2. We must continue to fight against HIV/AIDS and all sexually transmitted illnesses.

3. If you are sexually active, please get tested through your local health department on a regular basis. Share your results with your partners and ask them to do the same with you. This will allow for more honesty and respect between partners.

Sadly, depression and anxiety are frequently experienced in the LGBTQ community. Please help others who are facing these issues and offer them friendship and emotional support. Counseling and support groups can be helpful. Sometimes people just need a friend to listen to them.

Finally, I suggest that you remember to drink lots of water. Water can help you feel full, it can flush out your system, it can make your skin look better and above all it gives us life.

Good luck as you try to stay healthy and happy. Aging is not always a picnic, but we can all feel happier if we are proactive in preparation for possible family medical issues, sexual activity and support those who need love and friendship.

Copyright 2017 The Gayly – March 27, 2017 @ 2:45 p.m.