Bethany Lawrence is the founder and president of Aging Excellence, an integrated business that provides direct care services with a wellness component for aging adults. The organization works hand in hand with medical professionals to coordinate care for the people they serve. Aging Excellence is a franchise with seven locations in Maine, one location in New Hampshire, and two locations in Florida.
Q: What are the first steps a recent retiree should take in arranging medical care for their retirement?
A: The first thing to do in arranging medical care is to come up with a good health care and wellness plan. The plan should factor in the current lifestyle of an individual and the lifestyle they want to maintain as they age.
Q: What medical professionals should a retiree have on their team?
A: Recent retirees should be looking for a primary care physician with expertise in older adults, such as geriatricians. Also, retirees should look for physicians that practice lifestyle medicine and will work with them on developing and maintaining healthy lifestyles to prevent illness.
One of the most important specialists we recommend is a podiatrist. Movement and exercise is really important for older adults. If people have good mobility and strength it will help them age better, so it’s important that people take care of their feet.
Good oral care and nutrition is also really important. A neurologist, cardiologist, and ophthalmologist should also be on your health care team.
Q: What should people know about health care costs and insurance in Maine?
A: It is definitely important for people to know what they’re financial resources are and to have a financial plan for long-term care. The cost of home care really surprises people and if people want to receive in-home care they need to know the cost.
People also need to learn the ins and outs of their insurance benefits. A lot of people have policies but they’re not aware of the benefits. They need to know the difference between Medicare, Medicaid, and their private insurance policies and what is and is not covered.
Q: What can retirees do to maintain their health?
A: All the science right now points to physical activity and social engagement as the key to physical, emotional, and cognitive health. People need to find their interests, engage in fun activities, and do some kind of physical activity everyday.
It’s kind of a shift in paradigm. People think they’re going to retire so they’re going to be less active, but if people want a better quality of life they need to start engaging more.
Home safety modifications are also important. One in four Americans over 65 fall every year, resulting in hospitalizations and lack of mobility. It would be really wise for people to start making general home safety changes and to be really proactive about it.