Every time I write a column, I try to study up on the topic, particularly if I know little about the subject matter. One forfeits all opportunities for plausible deniability when putting the pen to the paper.
Let’s look at Medicare, for example. Outside of knowing how to spell Medicare, about all I can tell you is that we are in the open-enrollment window for Medicare Part C (additional coverage beyond Medicare) and Part D (prescription-drug coverage), as well as a few other changes that can be made. You have until Dec. 7 to sign up or make changes to your policy. If you do nothing, everything you have stays in place for the upcoming year.
There is a second enrollment period from Jan. 1-Feb. 14. Only certain changes can be made at that time. My best advice is to talk to someone in the insurance field who can help you navigate the “Medicare Maze.” There is a government website if you dare to try it: www.medicare.gov. I have visited it and although it is comprehensive, it does seem user-friendly.
Another area for much study relates to questions regarding dementia. This is a wide-open arena, and many experts still are not sure about its causes and subsequent treatments. About half of all the cases involving dementia can be attributed to Alzheimer’s. However, there are as many as 50 known causes for dementia.
Outside of speaking to an experienced gerontologist, my best advice is to talk to the family members and caregivers of those with dementia. These people have experience watching and doing; the information they can share may contain the answer you are looking for. Instructional videos, workshops and seminars are useful, too. The Alzheimer’s Association is a good place to start to learn more about dementia and possible treatments. Go to www.alz.org for more information.
A third area of great concern for our aging population is depression. Part of the problem is the stigma with mental illness. This makes identifying the issue more challenging both for the person with depression and extended-family members. Again, I’m not even close to being an expert in this area. People experiencing depression should seek professional help.
However, I would like to point out that during some recent research on seniors, I came across this definition: “An aging senior is no longer climbing the hill of life, but has reached the pinnacle and is looking down the other side.”
We often categorize life as a hill or mountain, a struggle or race to the top. And once we reach the top, then what? I believe life is more like a road. It has curves, hills, dips and turns, but it keeps on going. Sometimes, you even have to back up. Could it be that the issues we experience as we age are due in part to the fact that we become weary and give up, resulting in being lost and without purpose?
Whenever I get down, I remember one of my favorite passages from Hebrews: “… let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus …”
Stay informed, my friends.
Call DeLong at 912-531-7867 or go to www.thesuitesatstationexchange.com.