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Transitions in Aging

Retirement Planning I

Healthcare Plans

Graphic of pink piggy bank with money

NEXT: Emergency - Key Terms

Notes and References

As we go through this information about healthcare, keep in mind that even though we may not have any issues now, we may experience some difficulties as we age into our retirement years.

One way to be sure we age as happily and healthily as possible is by participating in health care screenings. We should see our doctor for regular check-ups to prevent health issues in the future. If we ever experience something that we don't usually experience, such as it becoming harder to see or hear, having more difficulty remembering things, or feeling new or increasing pain, it is helpful to talk to a family member or support staff, and call our doctor.

It is also important for us to know who our doctors, dentists, or other health professionals (physical therapists, occupational therapists) are. We should work with our family members, friends, or support staff to make a list of the healthcare professionals we usually see and include their contact information, how frequently we should see them, as well as instruction for how to make appointments with these healthcare professionals and who would make the appointments for us. If we are taking any medications now, how frequently and how many pills should we take a day? Also, who will help us to refill the medications and from where? Even if we are currently in charge of making our healthcare appointments, filling our prescriptions, and taking ourselves to the doctor, it is still important to plan for a time that we may not be able to and making a detailed list can help others understand our needs and wants.

Please take a look at a useful tool in the resources tab called "Emergency Communication 4 ALL....Picture Communication Aid" provided by Pennsylvania's Initiative on Assistive Technology. This paper communication aid can be downloaded and carried with us. It has pictures of important words, phrases and a letter "keyboard" to help us let others know what we are thinking, feeling or trying to say. It also has a personal information form on the back (name, address, emergency contact, doctor name, medications, and more) to be filled out and used in an emergency.

Finally, our healthcare information and needs are very personal and so we should also decide who we feel comfortable sharing our healthcare information with. In other words, who will we discuss our healthcare decisions with? If we are no longer capable of making these decisions by ourselves, who can help us make important decisions? It is important to identify the person earlier so we can discuss our healthcare plans and needs with that person.