The Era of Elderly Care Has Arrived, How Should We Face It?
Recently, a relative of mine attended an elderly care course and is planning to work in the field of long-term care 2.0. She told me that there was a 79-year-old classmate in her class who was a retired professor from a certain university. Her classmates found it strange that someone of his age would attend a pre-employment training course for this profession, wondering why he would do so if he was about to receive care himself.
He explained, “I have four daughters, two living abroad and two in Taiwan. The ones living abroad are too far to help, and the ones in Taiwan are busy with work and taking care of their own families, so they don’t have the extra time to take care of their mother with dementia. After discussing it, my daughters hired a foreign domestic helper for my wife.
We naively thought that with a domestic helper to take care of my wife, life would be easier. Who would have thought that, in addition to memory loss, my wife’s emotions became very volatile. She was either suspicious of everything or demanded to go to work at a certain high school where she used to teach physics and chemistry. Her memory was stuck in that time, and she still remembers some students’ names and actions.
The domestic helper often prevented her from “going to work,” and she would hit the domestic helper. After a few times, the domestic helper cried and quit. I had to comfort the domestic helper and spend more time taking care of my wife. I realized that I might not know how to take care of a person with dementia, which led to a chaotic life. That’s why I signed up for this course.” After listening, the relative sister-in-law said she might not encounter the same situation as the professor, but the fact that bodily functions deteriorate year by year is inevitable for everyone.
“I just wonder, what if one of my husband and I become bedridden, what should we do?” said the relative with concern. She only has one unmarried son with limited income, and there is no extra ability to hire a caregiver.
Leaving the relative’s home, I also fell into the dilemma of longevity and physical aging.
Allocating financial resources for healthcare expenses.
Purchase medical and care insurance early: Despite working in the finance industry for many years, I made the mistake of not purchasing sufficient medical coverage when I was young. When I tried to purchase it at 40, it was already too late as insurance companies refused to cover me due to my health condition.
Set up a dedicated account: Allocate a fixed amount of money to invest on a regular basis into a special account that is used exclusively for medical expenses. This account should only have deposits and no withdrawals to effectively accumulate medical funds through compound interest. The earlier this account is set up, the better the effect. Unfortunately, I am a negative example of someone who set up this account too late and have limited savings so far.
It is natural for humans to pass away, but we all hope for a “good life and a good death” – to be able to take care of ourselves while alive and pass away suddenly without burdening our family. However, based on the actual situation around us, it seems difficult to achieve this in Taiwan. Why? Because we do not focus on our health; smoking, drinking, staying up late when we are young, neglecting our diet and exercise when we are middle-aged, and accumulating negative energy day by day and year by year, slowly eroding our physical and mental health. Inadvertently, this leads to irreversible physical and mental illnesses.
To face our physical and mental health, we should regularly check and find ways to improve: Many people are afraid to face negative results after a health check and choose to ignore it. This “ostrich mentality” may allow minor illnesses to develop into serious ones, missing the chance to fix it.
We should also continue to exercise our muscle endurance and cardio endurance: In addition to increasing physical strength and energy, it can also prevent many illnesses caused by imbalance and falls, effectively shortening the “bedridden” time before the hundredth year.
Reduce harmful foods and eat healthy foods: This is the most challenging part for me. It took me a year to give up snacking, only eating them on special occasions like the Mid-Autumn Festival. Mooncakes are my favorite, but I can only eat a small piece, with my children’s intimidating gaze. Our body is composed of the food we eat, good food produces good energy, and vice versa. If we want to delay aging, eating the right food is definitely the key. With the advancement of information technology, the Google gods can help us find details on healthy eating. Persistence will bring changes to our body.
About the author | Song Ziling was formerly a nurse at Tri-Service General Hospital and is currently a senior business manager at a bank. She was once a severe depression patient, but now she is a member of the “enjoy life” group. She earns money with her brain, enjoys life with her heart, and manages her blog with passion.