Living Longer, But Are You Sick and Poor (Part 1)?
We are living longer than previous generations, and most of us would like to believe it’s because we’re stronger and healthier than we have been in the past. It’s true that we have added years to our lives, but we aren’t always healthier. Medical innovations, surgeries, and pharmaceuticals are extending our lives—but in some cases are leaving us sicker for longer.
The High Cost of Chronic Disease
Chronic diseases can create a devastating financial burden—medical costs, time away from work, home care assistance, and more—affecting your retirement plan and your family. What’s more, chronic diseases are among the most widespread, expensive, and largely preventable of all health issues, and it is a growing problem that is crushing healthcare. Medical spending has accelerated exponentially in recent years, and is placing a huge financial weight on our healthcare services.
Furthermore, as Canada’s population ages—a virtual “silver tsunami”—a growing number of seniors will require long-term care, significantly increasing health expenditures in the not so distant future.
Four of the most common chronic diseases are listed below.
During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity rates that has resulted in a sharp rise in diabetes, crippling our health and economy. Research has shown that individuals with diabetes are three times more likely to have been hospitalized (with longer hospital stays) when compare to those without the disease. Furthermore, health care costs are estimated to be as much as four times greater in populations with high rates of diabetes than those countries with low rates.
Approximately 2 in 5 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime, with 63% of people surviving at least 5 years following their diagnosis. As a result, it is important to understand the different types of costs that will add up during treatment and recovery, including doctor appointments, cancer treatment, medication, and possible at-home care and long-term care.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in North America. It also contributes to a number of chronic long-term health issues for survivors. The growing rate of obesity and of diabetes combined with the scores of baby boomers now joining the rank of senior citizens will lead to a dramatic surge of people with cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the near future. This will put an additional strain on an already burdened healthcare system, as a well as have a serious impact on the economy.
Costing Canada billions of dollars every year, mental illness is a common disease that affects many people in diverse ways. According to a survey, 1 out of every 10 Canadians aged 15 and over, demonstrated symptoms linked to a mood or anxiety disorder, or alcohol or illicit drug dependence.
Are You in Trouble Financially?
Will your personal finances sustain you and your family for the long haul or do you risk carrying a heavy burden if chronic illness becomes an issue you need to manage?
For the income earner, a chronic illness can mean more sick days, short-term or long-term disability, loss of pay, and potentially loss of a job and medical insurance plans. Early, unplanned retirement due to illness can mean giving up full pension benefits. All of this can lead an individual to have to dig into investments and savings, leaving one financially vulnerable.
“A problem well put is half solved,” said John Dewey, an American philosopher and psychologist. Now that you know the problem is chronic illness, the next article will be about how some simple lifestyle changes and Bing Han Panax Ginseng can help you reduce your health risks.