Health and Retirement – Do You Have a Story to Tell?

Category: Health Issues

January 14, 2018 — We will be writing an article for Topretirements that touches on the importance of health in retirement. Would love to hear from anyone who has had a change in their health that affected their retirement plans. You can reply below as a Comment, on our Facebook page, or of feel free to contact us via the Contact Us link. The change might have happened before retirement or after it started.

We will not mention any (real) names when we publish the article. Thanks

Comments: Please tell us YOUR story below if it involves health and retirement.

Posted by Admin on January 14th, 2018


  1. Has anyone joined the Silver Sneakers exercise program thru Medicare at your local gym?

    It is supposed to be free. Can anyone comment on their experience if they belong?

    A YMCA about 10 miles away from me offers it. I think only a few days a week.

    by Louise — May 1, 2018

  2. I joined the Houston YMCA when I retired a couple of months ago, and attend Silver Sneakers classes twice a week. According to their online program listings, the Y offers several “Silver Sneakers” classes, some of which seem to target specific issues (i.e. cardio). The twice a week classes I go to are called “Silver Sneakers Classic”, which is a 45 minute session involving stretching and movement. The instructor (Willard, if you go to the Houston downtown Y, like I do) is a great instructor who would never have anyone to do something they weren’t comfortablewith. The people attending my classes are generally older, retired individuals, and we have people in wheelchairs who participate.

    One of my fellow Silver Sneakers has her class covered by her Medicare gap policy. I didn’t know that Medicare Gap insurance could sometimes cover Silver Sneakers, and I’m checking to see if my Blue Cross policy will pick up the tab. But if the policy covers only the Silver Sneakers class, I will keep my over 65 membership ($30-something monthly) because there is so much to do at the Houston YMCAs!

    By all means, don’t hesitate, GO! It’s a great way to get in or maintain physical condition and, if you want, make new friends.

    Highly, highly recommended!


    by RonP — May 2, 2018

  3. My wife fell while on vacation in Akron Oh breaking her shoulder! We went to a Suma Urgent Care facility ! All they did was give her an IV and XRay and sent her home
    3 months later we get a bill for $5790. We are on Medicare and found Suma failed to file the proper paperwork! We are still pestered by SUMA a year later! Be sure to contact Medicare if you get ridiculous bills

    by Ron — May 2, 2018

  4. Louise i’m only 56 and those ladies at my gym are fun!. I would call your gym and ask for info.

    by Tomi — May 2, 2018

  5. When we went south, for work, we knew we wouldn’t want to stay. As we got closer to retirement, we began to look at places in New England that had retirement communities. We weren’t ready for the tiny apartments and all the services, just yet, but wanted to be able to establish Drs. & relationships nearby so we wouldn’t have to make another huge change, when we did check in. Our children are scattered and we do not want to be a burden on them. So, now we could move wherever WE wanted to!

    Then, a few years ago, DH was diagnosed with Parkinsons. That really helped define where we needed to be. There was little to NO support for that, where we were in the SE, so it made it easier to make the move. The closest Specialist was a 2 hour drive so we had to take a whole day for a Dr. visit. We needed to be closer to care. We did the research, called the Foundations and called the Dr. offices to ask questions. Everyone was helpful and appointments were made, in advance, before we even moved.

    Last August (2017), he came home one day, after a 12 hr. shift, and said, “I cannot do this any more.” We called our NE Realtor and began house hunting in earnest. We purchased a house while he was still employed (making it easier to get a mortgage) and on the day after we closed, he called in sick. We packed up and moved, putting our house on the market once it was empty. (made it easier for the selling agent, to have us out of the way). We priced low but sold it in less than 24 hrs. so only had 2 mortgage payments for 1 month. Proceeds from that will go to paying down, or off, what mortgage we have here. Fortunately he had opted for Long Term Care Insurance and that kicked in right away. They applied, on his behalf, for Soc. Sec. Disability – which was approved in 4 months! We were fortunate to have the Co. take care of him like that!

    We love our new home and have already reached out to meet people and join groups. The town & library have programs as well as craft guilds and creative groups that meet through-out the state. We still have our eye on the ultimate destination – not far away – but we are settling in for “OUR TIME” now! So we are 12 minutes from the Drs. & Specialists and not far from Boston or NY if we need it. We feel fortunate!

    by Holly — May 2, 2018

  6. I don’t turn 65 till August so can’t join Silver Sneakers till then. The Hub is 66 so once I turn 65 we can both go together.

    by Louise — May 2, 2018

  7. I may be alone, but I think the concerns for health in retirement deserves whole lot more attention and consideration than it gets. While some move on into “older age” with near impunity, I’ve seen a lot of posts in these blogs about those, like me, who have seen significant impact to their retirement plans — whether they anticipate it or not (we did, but not like this).

    We retired at 55 after fulfilling careers in tech that just plain turned sour — after two difficult years we decided to get out rather than seek new employment. We had a thin margin of investments to work with and were fortunate to get 5 years of good market returns before 2008 and more since. In addition, we had good health coverage before Medicare and continue to hold AARP endorsed Medi-gap as well as holding a good long-term care plan. For the first 10 years, everything sort of held to “plan” while we carefully managed our resources. At 65 (Medicare age) came the change. My wife was diagnosed with alpha-gal (severe allergy with gastro-intestinal impacts including potential anaphylactic shock — caused by eating/smelling/contact with any meat and all by-products including milk and cheese). This has drastically changed our life-style including never being able to eat out without threat of allergic reaction — we just don’t do that much anymore. That same year, I had a heart attack with triple bypass followed by a “good” year and then severe knee issues requiring major surgery/recovery each of the next three years. Impact? You’d better believe it! We are doing alright and managing these things, but life is not the same as the first 10 years of retirement. (I’m so glad we retired early and were able to do some of the things we dreamed about which are now either difficult or impossible.)

    I cite all this only to show that no matter your plans and ideals for retirement, health can with no warning, change everything. Simple example — our dream retirement home has three levels. When we built planning for future retirement, I had no idea of the impact of knee replacement or heart issues. (The work-around could be stair chairlifts — somewhat costly but not extreme.)

    My mother-in-law (my personal hero for how she lived and managed her life and family) is now 95 and, despite severe arthritis, in many ways gets along better than I who am 25 years younger. My wife inherited those genes, but unfortunately has other problems than the alpha-gal, so again, her mother is an example of “better”.

    When, if ever, might anything like this hit your retirement plans? Possibly never, but I’m certainly glad we at least considered the “less than ideal” ahead of time and can continue to be able to work things out in the future.

    by RichPB — May 3, 2018

  8. RichPB, you make a lot of good points and it was fortunate you were able to retire early. My hub retired at age 63 and the following year was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He had choices, surgery, radiation, HIFU or just observation. We decided on surgery. Then down the road he needed radiation. Now, things are good and blood tests show no cancer. He has to go every six months for blood tests now. Fingers crossed for continued good news. We were on Obamacare with the surgery and had to pay a manageable amount out of our pocket. For the radiation, the Hub went on Medicare and we chose Plan F so all the bills were paid 100%. The costs were very expensive. Plan F is the most expensive Medigap option but seems worthwhile to not worry about bills. We also have a long term care plan but the policy only pays $6,000 a month. In CT, a nursing home costs $12,000 and up a month.

    Wow, Alpha-gal sounds terrible! Is there no treatment to cure it?

    by Louise — May 3, 2018

  9. RichPB – just looked up alpha-gal to learn more about this allergy. What a terrible challenge that must be. Your post illustrates how health problems can come out of nowhere and slap us silly. Thank goodness you enjoyed your early retirement years. Let’s all keep a good thought that your wife’s allergy and your physical challenges will abate soon.

    Wishing you well.

    by JCarol — May 4, 2018

  10. JCarol, my sincere thanks for your well-wishes. Rich

    by RichPB — May 4, 2018

  11. RichPB, So sorry to hear about your post-retirement troubles and thank you for sharing your sorry- a good reminder about “the best laid plans….”. Regarding your wife’s tick bite problem – Alpha-gal syndrome, if you haven’t already, I would encourage you both to spend time online searching VEGAN info. There are tons of resources. I’ve been vegan for over 25 years (married to an omnivour) and more and more vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants open every year. when we travel I google the city and “vegan restaurants” for lists of places. Also, google Mediterranean Diet – pretty much perfect for alpha gal sufferers – lots of veggies, whole grains and seafood. (and it might be good for your heart!)

    by jean — May 5, 2018

  12. Jean, thanks. Good info but we’re way ahead of you. After 5 years of coping with alpha-gal you either find good ways to manage the issue or get restricted to a very limited diet. For myself, I enjoy cooking and could always find new ways around alpha-gal restrictions. My wife however, does not enjoy cooking but has found that Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s (in our area) have numerous prepared options as well as basic ingredients that are suitable — I’m sure there are other such stores and we’ve found many small independent stores for vegans, vegetarians and others that allow pretty good dietary variation (there are a number of apps that can assist in locating them). As an aside and not trying to push any one place, my wife will not consider moving to or even vacationing for a week (or more) at any place that doesn’t have a Whole Foods within reasonably easy access unless we can locate a really good alternative.

    As with most infirmities, people can decide to live in a restricted manner or seek to branch out for new alternatives. We are fortunate that her situation is mobile and, as you indicated, can be dealt with in a variety of different ways. That doesn’t remove the imposed restrictions or eliminate the frustrations, but life continues to have good options.

    by RichPB — May 5, 2018

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