Aging, Location, and Available Medical Care

I’ve touted the benefits of living in a relaxed, rural environment on more than one occasion. Living in Southern Oregon for the past 17 years after spending most of my life near Portland, Oregon, has given me a new appreciation for a less complicated life. We don’t have big city traffic. The abundance of recreational opportunities is mind-blowing. The value of our house is about half of what it would be in Portland. And, we have a strong sense of community. But what we don’t necessarily have is the availability of complex medical care.

Do You Know Your Risks?

My theory has always been that if you take good care of yourself by eating right, keeping stress levels down, and exercising, you are less likely to need major medical attention. Of course, my theory only goes so far. As we age, it is likely that each of us will have at least one chronic condition, and some may have two or more conditions—and many needing a particular kind of specialized care. AARP reported that 32% of adults 50+ had between two and four chronic diseases.

When someone in our area has a complex emergency situation, it is quite possible that our local hospital will not be equipped to handle the crisis. In spite of the wonderful environment we enjoy, nothing can replace the right kind of care when you need it.

Life-Threatening Lack of Available Care

Recently, someone very close to me had a crisis situation that the local hospital could not handle. He was transported by ambulance and air to a Portland hospital where the right team of specialists was available. Even with the quick transfer, the distance caused a life-threatening delay in treatment.

Because I want to be nearby, I am camped out at my son and daughter-in-law’s house right now. I am fortunate to have family living within 15 minutes of the hospital. Air B&Bs and other types of facilities are hard to find in the big city.

Depending on the outcome of tests that are being conducted, a move back to the big city may be appropriate. We may think we live a healthy lifestyle, but with aging, our bodies are likely going to need more care.

When any of us consider where we want to live as we get older, the availability of quality medical care is certainly something that I strongly recommend everyone consider. Like me, you may be relatively healthy right now, but it only takes one medical crisis to completely upend your vision of an ideal life as you age.

 

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