Baby boomers have the power to age successfully and to positively impact health care reform. A conversation with my ophthalmologist, a fellow baby boomer, helped me see that true health care reform isn’t penned in Washington. True health care reform is the responsibility of ordinary citizens, especially baby boomers predicted to drain health-care coffers in coming years.
He and I discussed America’s health-care problems, our joint desire to age successfully, and our concerns with health-care reform. I told him about doctors who tried to talk me into 2 needless surgeries. The first doctor wanted to do a complete hysterectomy, including the removal of ovaries, though I had normal test results. The second doctor wanted to remove my gall bladder, despite another normal report.
The ophthalmologist gave an unpredictably honest response. “Unfortunately, doctors have to do more procedures. We have to feed our families.”
Am I the only one? I thought procedures were for the benefit of the patient, not the other way around.
We agreed that people who age successfully avoid prescription drugs, eat a healthy diet, keep weight down, and exercise regularly. Medications for high blood pressure or high cholesterol, commonly prescribed, are often avoided through diet and exercise.
He said, “If more people would take responsibility for their own health, the result would be far fewer doctor visits, far fewer prescriptions, far fewer hospitalizations. True-health-care reform is people doing all they can to stay well.”
I’ve been thinking about his statement since then. Becoming weaker due to diminishing muscle tone scared me back to the gym. I remember my father bent over a walker. Doctors advised him to exercise, but like so many of us, he didn’t. I’ve witnessed, through him and others, the relationship between exercise and aging successfully (or not).
Wouldn’t it be amazing if baby boomers led a fitness revolution?
Baby boomers have the power to positively impact health care reform, one person at a time. If each of us do all we can to age successfully, untold millions (billions? trillions?) can be saved on health care related expenses. Staying fit and well benefits self, benefits family, and benefits country. What better legacy is there for our children and grandchildren? It beats settling for our current role as scapegoat for the nation’s economic short comings.
The Center for Disease Control recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic exercise (like brisk walking) and 2 or more days of muscle-strengthening exercises that work all the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
It’s not that hard for healthy people to age successfully. Baby boomers, who take responsibility for personal health, can save the country fortunes in health-care-related expenses. Pharmaceutical companies, on the other hand, might go positively anemic. Wouldn’t you love to take back your portion of their “grande” iron pill, their wealth? We can use the money saved for our benefit, for our families’ benefit, and for the benefit of our country. That, fellow baby boomers, is true-health-care reform.
Click here for an excellent article from the Huffington Post, Exercise (and Aging) Gracefully. It details why exercise is critical to successful aging.
CDC. “Physical Activity for Everyone: Guidelines: Older Adults | DNPAO | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web. 12 Sept. 2011.
Leonard, Burr. “Burr Leonard: Aging (And Exercising) Gracefully.” Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. Huffington Post, 2 Aug. 2011. Web. 12 Sept. 2011.