There’s a growing awareness that despite an increase in medical attention, there is a decrease in the health of the general population. Studies show we may be living longer, but we’re not living better, particularly as people grow older and they find that instead of enjoying their retirement spending time with family and friends and relaxing, they’re spending time with their doctors and worrying.
I work as a professional instructor primarily educating people over 50 on how to remain active and healthy. Over the years, I’ve heard many stories from the people I work with about their visits to doctors, medical treatments, surgeries, and more, as well as how they try to live with the consequences of the doctors’ instructions. These can impact their lives in physical, emotional, and financial ways. However, there is another consequence that is frequently talked about with sadness and in great detail, but I’ve only recently heard a name given to it – ‘opportunity costs’. This refers to the opportunities that are missed and the things they might have done if they didn’t have to spend so much time at the doctor’s office, or undergoing medical procedures.
When I started writing this blog, my focus was to bring awareness to people on the issues of overdiagnosis, overtreatment, and overmedication, allowing for other “overs” I hadn’t discovered yet. I also wanted to guide my readers to media resources so they can become better informed, protect themselves from the harms caused by the consequences of all this, and enjoy their lives as healthy people instead of with the worries resulting from being a constant patient.
In the fall of 2014 I shifted the focus toward the later years in life, and how we choose to live them. Avoiding overdiagnosis and overtreatment is still included, as well as making the most of our years after 50 by . . .
- Working with doctors to avoid the medical care that at best won’t help us and at worst will harm us
- Helping each other to live a life that has meaning to us
- Taking into consideration the chronic illnesses that are so common and the lifestyle changes we can make to avoid some of them and live well with the others
- Putting the “care” back into long term care so people who need help can continue to live their lives with dignity and a sense of purpose.
. . . right up to the end of our lives.