Baby Boomers Pursue Healthy Aging

Many baby boomers consider themselves the model of health. They exercise and watch their diet. They’re aware of cardiovascular disease, heart disease and diabetes, and they try to control their cholesterol and weight. They’re even living longer than their parents did. Yet as baby boomers age, more are in fact suffering chronic illness, disability and obesity than did their parents. The contradiction – health conscious, yet health challenged – is unsettling.

The implications are important for baby boomers, 10,000 of whom will retire each day through 2030. Even in the era of healthcare reform, that’s no guarantee of a healthy retirement. So what can they do to ensure they get the best medical care available?

Boomers, it seems, could learn something from “the greatest generation.” Those born before World War II enjoyed healthier diets and lifestyles. They had lower incidence of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and disability, unlike the 78 million post-war Americans born between 1946 and 1964. And they enjoyed close relationships with their primary care physicians, according to a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine as reported in US News.

Retiring baby boomers can find similar care in personalized medicine programs. Recent studies suggest those patients who enroll in such programs enjoy better clinical outcomes, particularly for those patients with diabetes or cardiovascular disease. They also receive more of the recommended preventive healthcare services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, when compared to national health plans, according to a new study published in the December issue of the International Journal of Person Centered Medicine. The chart-review study showed the MDVIP model delivered results that beat HEDIS* measures and the top 10% of national HMO and PPO benchmarks for clinical outcomes and preventive screenings.

The message is clear: Building a doctor-patient relationship with a physician who spends time with each patient can help patients to achieve better outcomes. Together, they can pursue wellness plans to maximize health, minimize chronic disease and enjoy the longer life expectancy that healthcare advancements have made possible. In the end, they could become known as the “healthiest generation.”
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