Chronic Illness and the Simplified Life

When it comes to managing your health, a chronic illness can be demanding on your body, finances, and time.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 50% of all adults have at least one chronic disease. When talking about older adults that number jumps to 92% that have at least one chronic condition and 77% that have a least two. While a chronic illness can make our lives feel more complex, there are a few key ways that we can welcome the gift of simplicity into our everyday routines and lives.

5 Tips for Living a Simplified Life: 

1. Simplify Your Meals: A change of eating habits almost always accompanies a diagnosis with a chronic disease, especially with high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes ranking high on the list of the most common chronic illnesses. Often options within the grocery store and even at restaurants have multiple ingredients we can’t pronounce, are highly processed, and contain high amounts of sodium and sugar. Make your meals at home that contain 3-4 fresh ingredients including lean meats, and loads of veggies and fruit. It will make your body happy.

2. Simplify Your Healthcare Spending & Records: Consider opening a health savings account for all health related expenses. This can help consolidate those appointment co-payments and prescription drug refills all in one place so you can track your healthcare spending. Ask your doctor if you are making use of the generic brands of drugs and what lifestyle steps you can take to partner with your medications or even reduce them. Consolidate all of your healthcare, medication, and insurance information into one simple place and consider making a digital copy to easily share with professionals and family in case of an emergency. 

3. Simplify Your Care Coordination: Especially if you’re helping an aging parent or spouse while managing your own chronic illness being a good healthcare consumer can be complex. A Geriatric Care Manager can bring the expertise, care coordination, and guidance you need to bring about the quality of life you and your loved ones deserve. From managing medications,  to advocating and acting as a liaison between multiple doctors and specialists, they can be an incredible asset in simplifying your health and long-term care needs.

4. Simplify Your Exercise: There is an incredible variety of exercise options out there from yoga to zumba and spin classes. Sometime we can forget how uncomplicated getting regular exercise can be. Just 30 nonconsequtive minutes of walking 3-5 times a week dramatically reduces your risk of further chronic illness and helps manage current chronic illnesses.

5. Simplify Your Living Space: This time of year, we can all use a bit of spring cleaning and purging, but constantly curating your home environment is especially important if you’re an aging adult with chronic illness. Our treasures can really welcome us home and tell our story to us every day, but when we begin to accumulate too many things, our treasures lose their place of honor in our home and we can spend a lot of time looking for things or managing homes packed to the gills. Having a clean and clutter free living environment helps maintain home safety, reduces falls risks, improves air quality within the home, and gives us more time to enjoy the most important things and people we have in our lives. When we control the things in our spaces, we control how well we live in them. 

In the words of Stephane Rolland, “I continue to be drawn to clarity and simplicity. ‘Less is more’ remains my mantra.” So much of eldercare planning is the ability to clarify the values and priorities that shape how you want to live your life. If you or your loved one could use help introducing simplicity into your life and disease management routine, give us a call. Our combination of in-home caregivers and Geriatric Care Managers are able to create simple solutions to complex care situations and help aging adults and their families to live a high quality of life. 800.628.7649.   

Published on February 11, 2015.