A long life is something everyone seems to want, but few give much thought to how their story will end. Personally, I’d like to die in a skydiving accident at 105 years old. And like many of you, I have some longevity in my family.
How long did your grandparents and grandparents live? Are they still living? And what has been the quality of life during their last decade? These are very important questions to ask as we all face the reality of our potential extended life.
My mother is 89 years old and her health could be much better if she had made some different lifestyle choices when she was younger and as she has aged. My uncle lived to 97 and I have an aunt that lived to 105. This is causing me to take a very important look at how I live today, so that I can ensure a better, more active, healthy life as I age. I eat healthy, do yoga twice a week, get a chiropractic check twice a month, and enjoy my work at Life University.
If you want your last decade to be enjoyable, you cannot wait until you lose your health to take care of yourself. Your quality of life choices today will make a difference for you now and as you age.
Unfortunately, many people have not made quality choices, and the outlook for their future is rather grim. The medicalization of old age often dictates that you spend your last years, maybe even a decade or longer, hooked to beeping machines, or slumped in a wheelchair, drugged, and senseless. In fact, according to a report in Business Week magazine, it is not uncommon that people’s deaths can cost upwards of $600,000 and last a decade or longer.
Now is the time we should be asking – how can we write a different story for ourselves and for our loved ones? We should be thinking about and talking about not only how we want to live now but how we want our last decade to be.
The average costs for long-term care in the United States (in 2010) were: $205 per day or $6,235 per month for a semi-private room in a nursing home. $229 per day or $6,965 per month for a private room in a nursing home. $3,293 per month for care in an assisted living facility (for a one-bedroom unit). [source: http://longtermcare.gov/costs-how-to-pay/costs-of-care] The cost of any type of long-term care can send the average person deep into debt and possibly into bankruptcy. In Canada, 30 % of seniors age 85 and over live in special care facilities according to a report in BCMJ, November 2012.
While it is important to make the experience for our aging loved ones as pleasant as possible, it is vital that our generation and our children live life differently so that we get more out of life today and enjoy our last decade rather than suffer or become a burden.
The time to think about and write your own script is now. Live your ideal 100 Year Lifestyle and do your part to live healthy today, to ensure that you enjoy your last decade.
Contributed by Nancy Sutton in collaboration with Dr. Eric Plasker.