Healthy Aging Month: Senior Advocates Say Medicare Advantage Helps Their Quality of Life
“How can you be old if you feel young?” said Better Medicare Alliance (BMA) Advocate, Betty S. of Texas while describing the Medicare Advantage benefits and services she uses to achieve healthy aging.
Pictured: Betty S.
In observance of Healthy Aging Month each September, national focus shifts to the positive aspects of growing older. During the last week of the month, the health and aging community focuses on active aging. Active Aging Week emphasizes providing as many older adults as possible with access to wellness and physical activities in safe, supportive environments.
Medicare Advantage plans cover several enhanced benefits to promote healthy aging, including chronic disease management, fitness plans, and falls prevention programs.
As the leading advocacy coalition for Medicare Advantage, we engage with beneficiaries daily and are fortunate to collect first-hand accounts from our advocates on their experiences with Medicare Advantage’s dedication to preventive care, wellness, and healthy aging.
Beloved programs like Silver Sneakers and the YMCA’s Tai Chi encourage Medicare Advantage seniors to engage in physical activity at their local gyms for no additional cost, and are often mentioned by BMA Advocates as being one of their favorite “perks” of enrolling in Medicare Advantage:
“Ever since I became eligible for Medicare five years ago, I have utilized the Medicare Advantage Program to improve my healthcare. It has been the best medical program I've had in my life. Also, the Silver Sneakers Program has given me the great opportunity to attend the YMCA three times each week to exercise and take advantage of other health programs. I don't know what I would have done without these vital benefits.” – BMA Advocate, Gary H. of Arizona
“One benefit I really enjoy is Silver Sneakers allows me to use Golds Gym with no cost to me. I attend water aerobics and Tai Chi three-four times weekly!”-- Bonita B. of Texas.
“I have been a Medicare Advantage member for almost five years! During that time, I have been an active user of the Silver Sneakers program. I have had several surgeries due to disc and hip issues. I received great care and follow-up rehab! Plus, I also received on going follow up contact and food while recovering! My plan has been quite useful and I want to be able to maintain this valuable program!”-- Greg R of Kentucky
Seniors also attribute their healthy aging to the screenings and annual wellness visits they receive through Medicare Advantage to detect potentially life-threatening diseases earlier, and the coordinated care and treatment that follows.
When asked to list the Medicare Advantage benefits that allow her to age healthfully, Janis D. of Florida named regular health screenings, lab work, colonoscopies, and easy referrals to specialists to help manage her COPD.
These beneficiary stories have been invaluable in highlighting the great work that is already being done in Medicare Advantage to promote wellness, and leading to collaborations with our allies and other stakeholders who work to improve and communicate the availability of these Medicare Advantage benefits and resources to seniors.
In observance of Falls Prevention Awareness Day, another key component of Healthy Aging Month, BMA hosted a webinar to bring awareness to the staggering number of older adults who experience falls each year, the financial burden falls have on Medicare, and how evidence-based falls prevention programs can reduce the incidence of falls. Through this webinar, we were able to highlight the work of one of our ally organizations, Consortium for Older Adult Wellness, their partner, Centura Health System in Colorado, as well as the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), which authored an important report entitled, “Healthy Aging Begins at Home, May, 2016.
With over 300,000 Medicare Advantage beneficiaries who engage with BMA via email, Facebook, and phone, we are pleased that so many of our advocates are experiencing the level of care they need and deserve. BMA will continue to initiate discussions and collaborations with stakeholders to highlight Medicare Advantage’s commitment to promoting healthy aging in seniors.