A Vogue reporter recently interviewed Mrs. Adler, the mother of the famous Stella Adler. ‘You look so young. How old are you?’ ‘I am 48,” Mrs. Adler said. “But Mrs. Adler, your daughter Stella is 52. How can this be?” “Well,” said Mrs. Adler, “she leads her life. I lead mine.”
When I saw this story, it made me smile – especially since someone recently told me that I act like a person in their early 30s (with a big milestone birthday approaching, I’m taking that as a compliment). That same week my mother celebrated her birthday, and she still doesn’t act a day over 29 (and sometimes a lot younger). This is a woman who, when she opens her birthday gifts, exclaims “OMG!” Yes, really, the acronym itself.
Aside from simply acting younger, I’ve also noticed that when you take better care of yourself, you’re much more likely to feel younger. All those boring things that you couldn’t be bothered with in your 20s and 30s – eating right, exercising, maintaining a healthy lifestyle – really do start to matter. What’s interesting is that these actions can also have profound effects on you in other ways, including your financial health. The fact that we’re living longer should be a good thing, but it’s important to remember that as we age, a healthy body and a healthy bank balance can sometimes be intertwined.
So, for all of us who are approaching milestone birthdays, here are 3 of my suggestions for combatting the costs that can come with aging:
Use common sense
As we continue to see health care costs skyrocket, wellness and preventative measures are more than just a way to feel younger – they’re simple fixes that can reduce medical costs dramatically. What’s more, those same healthy choices may help to stave off diseases that one generally doesn’t think of as being lifestyle related. For example, I recently I read a book entitled “100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s”, and so many of the ideas are common sense measures like exercise, limiting alcohol consumption and making good food choices. I have friends whose parents are suffering from this devastating disease, and not only does it take an emotional toll on a family, but with the average lifetime cost of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s hovering at $174,000, it’s a heavy financial burden as well.
Put it on the company tab
US employers are increasingly recognizing that a healthy workforce is a productive workforce, and as a result many offer benefits that encourage good health among employees. Whether it’s a discount on a gym membership or health insurance incentives, it’s worth checking with your company’s HR department to see if any perks are available to you – especially if they can help you cut costs and meet your personal health goals.
Consider long-term health insurance
The government estimates that over 70% of Americans will need long-term care after the age of 65, but only about 8.1 million Americans currently have long-term care insurance. Why? Possibly because, like all insurance, you won’t know you need it until you really need it. But because long-term care insurance is not regulated under the Affordable Health Care Act, people can be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, so consider applying for such insurance while healthy (and before that big milestone birthday).