Many of you know that we live with my mom. I am her caretaker since she has a plethora of health problems. We have been lucky that she is independent, but does understand that she needs some help in her everyday errands. The past 4 years of living together has been quite educational.
The kids understand that their Nonna is ill, and they actually have conversations about why she’s not feeling good. As a matter of fact, the major factor of her illnesses is diabetes. This makes for a fun conversation, since we all know how much kids love sweets! The boys are beginning to understand that drinking water over soda, or juice is a better option. They know to pick a fruit over a candy bar. Seeing the transformation and bond grandparent and grandchild is amazing. Kids tend to listen to their grandparents more than their mom and dad, so we got lucky.
The boys love their Nonna as much as she loves them, and knowing that they are learning healthy habits, as well as learning from her mistakes, probably makes them some of the luckiest kids around. It’s truly amazing the impact a grandparent has their grandchildren’s life choices and health habits. My dad is a health nut and when he’s here the boys and him are always out and about. It’s wonderful seeing all four of them super active together.
In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and relate it to the kids, we need to pay close attention to our parents insurance. October begins open enrollment for insurance companies, and it’s a great time to do some much needed research.
Here are some great tips to get the discussion started and the research done right.
- 3 ways to help your family during open enrollment:
- List out all the benefits your current plan offers.
- If you’re into fitness, check if your current health care plan or the plans you are considering offer discounts on exercise equipment or classes.
- Get in the know – use resources available on sites like Grandparents.com/Aetna or AetnaMedicare.com to learn more about plans available to you so that you can make an informed decision.
- 4 questions to ask your family member to get the most out of Open Enrollment:
- Are there any new health conditions that may affect your current coverage?
- What regular medications do you need?
- Will the costs change if you switch plans?
- Do you need more coverage for any new medications?
- 3 tips to help your family get the most out of open enrollment:
- Make a list of benefits, including prescriptions, your family member used in the last year and those they didn’t and see if they can adjust their plan accordingly.
- Consider preventive services and learn how to take advantage of them. If using Medicare, consider other programs that many Medicare plans offer – including exercise programs such as Silver Sneakers.
- Be a smart shopper – use resources available on sites like Grandparents.com/Aetna or AetnaMedicare.com to learn more about plans available to you so that you can make an informed decision.
You’re probably wondering why this is important. Well for many families grandparents live with their kids and grandkids – like my family. If there is a language barrier, sitting down with your parents or family member can help them even further. While my mom speaks and understands English just fine, there are terms that she doesn’t know and it can be quite confusing. I also take in mind that she is losing her eyesight and it makes reading an extremely difficult task.
I want my mom as healthy as possible, and my kids too. The amount of information that our parents can hand down to our children is priceless. On that same note, our parent’s health should be priceless as well. Unfortunately we all know the cost of insurance premiums, and that’s why doing our research with our parents is imperative. Doing this not only helps them financially but health-wise as well.
I, for one, want my mom to be around to see the impact she has done on the boys. I want the boys to see her on her bad days just as much as they see her on her good days. It’s the bad days that truly imprint life choices and health options. I would copy down that list above, print it out, and sit down with your parents and look over their health policies. Help them make informed decisions when choosing a healthcare provider that is not only suitable to their health needs but also financially.
You can learn more about Open Enrollment, Medicare, and Medicaid by visiting these sites of interest:
- Visit Grandparents.com/Aetna for more information about how you can help your parents and aging family members get the most of their health in the year ahead.
- For more information about Medicare, visit https://www.medicare.gov.
- For more information about Medicaid, visit http://www.medicaid.gov.