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    Health Literacy and Successful Aging: Becoming More Involved in the Decision-Making

    Having a good long term care plan entails making plenty of crucial decisions as it directly affects your future. Bear in mind that most of us receive the care decades after we have started planning it. While it is not entirely irreversible, undoing mistakes made in the planning stages can take a great deal of money and effort during a time when your resources are most probably limited. This is why we see adequate health literacy as more of a necessity than an option. To help individuals in understanding its importance in their lives, we will be tackling how health literacy affects their decision-making process.


    Also, please share this post with your friends to spread awareness on the issue.


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    According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of individuals turning 65 will need long term care services in the following years. While that fact is already concerning on its own, the difficulty that most individuals have in understanding medical concepts and health-related issues makes the future of Americans a frightening thought.


    Yes, long term care and health are topics that do not usually come up during leisurely talks. Most individuals would even avoid talking about these altogether unless it is absolutely necessary. It does bring grim mental images, and no one really wants to think about needing any of these services. However, no can deny the necessity of learning about it and preparing one’s self for it. And to be able to do that and have a shot at successful aging, we must all equip ourselves with the necessary knowledge and understanding of concepts that will directly affect our future.


    What is Health Literacy?

    As defined in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, health literacy is “the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions.”


    How Does it Affect Successful Aging?

    We all strive for successful aging. Every person wants to experience the twilight years stress-free, and to be able to do this, we must be able to overcome all the obstacles of aging. Two of the major roadblocks that older generations are facing are health and long term care. Making sense of all its intricacies and planning against the challenges have become a herculean task for many of the older generations.


    Miscalculations have resulted in depleted resources. This then forces individuals to resort to other methods. Many of the older individuals rely on their children for the care and financial support that they need.


    With these challenges ahead, one of the greatest efforts we could do is to equip ourselves with the necessary knowledge to create an informed decision about our health. After all, the level of our health literacy can determine how our future care needs will be met.


     Becoming More Involved

    Actively seek out information as early as you can, and make sure that your sources are reliable. Do not be embarrassed to ask questions when you are uncertain, and make a habit of repeating instructions back to the professionals to ensure that you understood correctly. This helps create a dialogue between you and the health professional, and it allows the latter a better understanding of your health and long term care concerns.


    Talk about it with other individuals, as well. Low health literacy is so prevalent, and this is why we must all help each other avoid making misinformed health-related decisions. We must take it upon ourselves to assist our peers by spreading awareness on the importance of health literacy in successful aging.


    What else can you do to spread awareness and improve the generation’s health literacy? Let us know in the comments section, and we’ll feature your answers!  


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