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A Quick Guide to Planning for Old Age: Raffles Medical

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Planning for retirement is not just about building a nest egg. It is also about ensuring that you are healthy enough to enjoy the fruits of your labour, and deciding how you want to be cared for as you enter your golden years.

As our lifespan increases, it is important to be proactive about how you want to age, and start thinking about your future care.

Here are some things you can start preparing for, even before you start turning old:

Age Healthily

Your risk of medical conditions increases as you age. Besides leading a healthy lifestyle, eating well, and being physically active, you can also do these to stay healthy.

Get Your Health Checked Regularly

Chronic illnesses often catch people by surprise. You can reduce or delay their occurrence by going for regular health screenings.

Getting a clean bill of health, or detecting diseases before they worsen, allows you to stay healthy and worry-free.

Get Vaccinated

Your immunity will weaken as you age. Seemingly harmless infections, such as the flu or pneumococcal disease, may cause life-threatening complications if you catch them in your elderly years.

Getting vaccinated and keeping your vaccinations updated against vaccine-preventable diseases reduces your likelihood of getting these diseases as you age.

Plan for Your End-of-life

Certain medical conditions may take away your mental capacity or leave you terminally ill. The good thing is, various legal documents are available to help you get the best care possible and give your loved ones the assurance that they are following your wishes without any misinterpretations:

Lasting Power of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows you to appoint one or more persons you trust to act for you in the event that you lose mental capacity. It allows you to enjoy peace of mind knowing that your interests are protected. The assigned donee(s) can access your finances to pay for your needs, manage your affairs, and make decisions on your behalf so you can continue living well.

On the other hand, not making an LPA means that you risk making your assets inaccessible to your loved ones, unless they apply for deputyship with the courts – a tedious and costly process. Moreover, you have no control over who becomes your deputy.

Read more about the LPA here.

Create an Advance Medical Directive

Also known as a living will, an Advance Medical Directive (AMD) communicates to medical professionals not to prescribe to you futile treatments and artificial life support should you become terminally ill.

“Having an AMD in place frees your loved ones from making the painful and emotional decision of whether to prolong your life meaninglessly if you are terminally ill,” said Dr Wong Wei Mon, Family Physician & Consultant, Raffles Medical.

“This also comes with a hefty price tag, often with prolonged suffering. It is, therefore, wise and kind for you to articulate your wish and intent clearly, making it less dependable on the interpretation of others.” Most importantly, you will have control over your final wishes, and can choose to move on from this world with dignity.

Be Financially Independent

No matter how much we care for our health, diseases may sometimes strike without warning, especially as we age. As healthcare costs are set to rise, being unprepared for such circumstances could potentially be financially crippling.

As such, it is important to protect yourself against such unforeseen healthcare costs to reduce the financial burden on your family.

One way is to ensure enough insurance coverage for yourself and your family. This protects everyone financially against any costs from unforeseen circumstances.

Some insurance policies to consider include:

Health Insurance

All Singaporeans and Permanent Residents are covered under Medishield Life, which is offered by the Ministry of Health. It covers treatment costs in public hospitals, such as hospitalisation, surgical and outpatient care. You can choose to upgrade it to an Integrated Shield Plan, which is provided by private insurers. This gives you the option to cover treatment costs in private hospitals, or let you stay in a better class ward in a public hospital.

Life Insurance

Such policies are designed to protect your family from undue financial hardship should anything untoward happens to you, ensuring that they will be well taken care of.

Personal Accident Insurance

Covering outpatient accidental medical expenses, this policy gives you peace of mind by allowing you to claim for accident-related medical expenses, such as fractures from falls or injuries from vehicular accidents.

You may wish to speak to an insurance consultant first before getting any policies. He or she can help you identify the adequate amount of coverage needed, and which policies you should get.

Article and image is contributed by the Raffles Medical Group team, and reviewed by Dr Wong Wei Mon, Family Physician & Consultant, Raffles Medical. A version of this article can be found on Raffles Health’s website here.

Raffles Health is a wholly owned subsidiary of Raffles Medical Group. By tapping on the clinical expertise of the team of medical professionals from the Group and working with them, it is able to develop vitamins and supplements that meet the changing needs of consumers.



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