Insights on Health Literacy

It’s essential to become more health literate.

In the United States, how much do people know and understand about various health issues? For many, the answer is unfortunately not much.

Consider a few of the highlights from the report “America’s Health Literacy: Why We Need Accessible Health Information.” Click the image to access the full report.

Insights on Health Literacy

In general:

“Health literacy — the ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions — is essential to promote healthy people and communities. Health care institutions and public health systems play a critical role in health literacy, because they can make it easier or more difficult for people to find and use health information and services. For the first time, there are national data that demonstrate currently available health information is too difficult for average Americans to use to make health decisions.”

“Limited health literacy isn’t a disease that makes itself easily visible. In fact, you can’t tell by looking. Health literacy depends on the context. Even people with strong literacy skills can face health literacy challenges, such as when: They are not familiar with medical terms or how their bodies work. People have to interpret numbers or risks to make a health care decision. They are diagnosed with a serious illness and are scared or confused. They have complex conditions that require complicated self-care.”

Key findings and policy implications of the first-ever National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) findings include:

Only 12 percent of U.S. adults had proficient health literacy“Over a third of U.S. adults — 77 million people — have difficulty with common health tasks, such as following directions on a prescription drug label or adhering to a childhood immunization schedule using a standard chart.”

“Limited health literacy affects adults in all racial and ethnic groups. The proportion of adults with basic or below basic health literacy ranges from 28 percent of white adults to 65 percent of Hispanic adults.”

“Although half of adults without a high school education had below basic health literacy skills, even high school and college graduates can have limited health literacy.

Compared to privately insured adults, both publicly insured and uninsured adults had lower health literacy skills.”

All adults, regardless of their health literacy skills, were more likely to get health information from radio/television, friends/family, and health professionals than from print media.”

Best States for Retirement

Would you believe Alaska is ranked first?

Last month, we pointed out the best community in each state in which to retire. Today, we look at how the states themselves rank as places for retirees to live.

According to Michael B. Sauter, reporting for 24/7 Wall St.:  

“As the baby boomer generation continues to age, millions of Americans are due for retirement. Every day, about 10,000 U.S. residents turn 65. However, a record number of people 65 and older remain in the workforce because of financial insecurity. The number of seniors who continue to work has more than doubled since 2000.”

“Many seniors do not have the luxury of choosing where to spend their retirement. This could be because they depend on younger family members or because relocating costs too much. Those who choose to exit the workforce and rely on their savings, pensions, and social security face different financial burdens depending on the state where they spend their golden years.”

In one state, a retired couple can live comfortably on $36,000 a year. In another state, the same standard of living costs as much as $56,000. A person who retires at 65 and lives 20 more years could need an extra half a million dollars for living expenses depending on which state they are in.”

“To determine what it costs to retire in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed annual expenses at the state level. We then reviewed data from the Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator for a couple 65 or older with no dependents, which measures the income a family needs in order to attain a modest standard of living at the metropolitan level. Using differences in budgetary needs between the average American and residents 65 and over, 24/7 Wall St. calculated the average annual retirement costs by state.”

Click here to access the ranking of all 50 states, starting with number 50.

Below is the 24/7 Wall St. analysis of New York.

Best States for Retirement
Source: Tomas Sereda / Getty Images

3. New York
> Estimated annual retirement costs: $50,321
> Avg. annual earnings for 65+ households: $29,018 (13th highest)
> Avg. annual homeownership costs for seniors: $21,648 (4th highest)
> Pct. residents 65+: 15.9% (25th lowest)

 

Please Be Careful in the Cold

Here are two weather-related infographics.

The current cold wave can have a dramatic effect on our health. PLEASE be smart. And best wishes to those dealing with sub-zero temperatures today.

In this post, we present two infographics: one for handling the current cold wave and the other for being prepared for a future cold weather event.

From BabaMail: “As the cold weather begins to set in, our bodies must prepare themselves for the harsh winter ahead. Here are a few of the reasons that we are more prone to illness during the colder months, and tips on how to protect our bodies in lieu of these changes. Read on to find out how to keep your immune system strong against the winter chill.”

Please Be Careful in the Cold

From VNA Health Group: “Every year, winter weather takes its toll on our homes, puts people’s lives at risk, and causes delays in travel. Getting ready for winter will ensure that you’re one step ahead of Old Man Winter’s fury. Prepare yourself and your loved ones by sharing these winter safety tips with your friends and family.”

Please Be Careful in the Cold

 

Tips for Seniors – Part 2

Where’s the best place to retire?

Yesterday, we looked at the kinds of free services available for seniors. Today, we consider the best places to retire. These are both important topics for many of us.

In December, we examined the best states in which to live. Below, we specifically consider the best locales for people to live in retirement.

Recently, 24/7 Wall St. did research on this very issue. It was important enough to be reprinted in USA TodayAs  noted by Thomas C. Frohlich for 24/7 Wall St.:

“Americans spend decades preparing for retirement, which is seen by many as a well-earned break following nearly a lifetime of work. According to the National Institute on Aging, by 2030, 20% of the U.S. pop will be comprised of elderly Americans, climbing from 15% in 2015.”

“The most common reason for retiring is the desire to spend more time with family, followed by the desire to do something different, health issues, and dissatisfaction with work. Other reasons have less to do with personal preference, and more to do with factors related to aging and location. Because of the medical, social, and financial consequences of entering old age, life can change dramatically in retirement. While retirees are among the least apt group of Americans to be poor, they typically rely on fixed and reduced incomes, and the cost burdens of housing and medical care, in particular, tend to go up substantially.”

“To identify the best place to retire in every state, 24/7 Wall St. created an index of 17 health and economic factors in U.S. counties and areas considered equivalent to counties by the U.S. Census Bureau, including parishes and boroughs. Only counties where the 65-and-over population grew at least as fast as the nation and was larger than the national average were considered.”

Below is one of the best places to live, Plumas County, California — along with the highlights of why it is a great spot for retirees. CLICK HERE  to see the full list by state.

Best Places to Live in Retirement
Source: kenlund / Flickr

California: Plumas County
> Population: 18,724
> 65 and older population: 25.8% (4th of 58 counties)
> Primary care physicians: 96.0 per 100,000
> Est. monthly living expenses for family of 2: $4,201.70 (32nd out of 58 counties)
> Median home value: $228,900

 

Embarking on the Next Stage of Life

Retiring well is the plan.

With the beginning of 2019, I have embarked on the next stage of life. For me, that means retirement from my full-time profession. For 44 years, I was a professor (the last thirty, a distinguished professor). But I am not retiring from life. And there are several things I plan to do in the future.

While at the Zarb Business School of Hofstra University for all of those 44 years, I had a very rewarding career. I was extremely involved in the three pillars of academe: teaching undergraduate and graduate classes; engaging in scholarly research; and providing service to my department, my school, and to the university overall. Along the way, I was fortunate enough to also co-author two leading textbooks that were used worldwide and that went through many new editions. And I was lucky enough to be recognized with a teacher of the year award and four dean’s awards for service to the business school.

But, I realize that at this point that I want to move onto the next phase of my life. As this blog has noted before, I do not intend to “throw away” any days. And I want to live life every day. This is a time for reflection — both keeping my positive memories as well as striving to build new ones.

It was essential for me to retire while healthy enough to enjoy my next series of adventures. I will NEVER forget how lucky I am to be a pancreatic cancer survivor who celebrates four years post-surgery next month.

Embarking on the Next Stage of Life

So, where am I going in this next chapter? 🙂

These are my priorities, with more to come:

  • To give back to my fellow cancer victims and their families through blog posts, other social media, and related efforts.
  • To continue to publicize my FREE book on Surviving Cancer and Embracing Life: My Personal Journey. I want to reach as many people as I can with my inspirational message.

Embarking on the Next Stage of Life

  • To make further personal appearances and do more radio interviews on surviving cancer.
  • To expand my “giving back” scope to volunteer work with seniors, the poor, and others.
  • To write a sequel to Surviving Cancer on my experiences since the first book was published.
  • To do two vacation trips each year with the LOML (love of my life) Linda.
  • To see if I have it in me to write a novel, something I’ve never done before.
  • To keep on posting through my Evans on Marketing blog.
  • To teach one graduate course per year, during the fall semester.
  • To spend more time with my communities.
  • To continue to write about personal and professional self-branding — building on this brief FREE book: Self-Branding for Professional Success.

Embarking on the Next Stage of Life

And more to come!!

 

Sometimes Overlooked Cancer Causes

Be more aware of the causes of cancer.

It is imperative that we understand as much as possible about cancer. That is why we published these earlier posts: Being Smart About Your Health. Interesting Cancer Facts. And Where Cancer Rates Are Highest. Today, we look at sometimes overlooked cancer causes.

Click on the image below to see a slide show from Sharecare that focuses on nine sometimes overlooked causes of cancer:

“Symptoms may not be so obvious. Some can be dangerously deceptive even. Seemingly minor changes, like a nagging cough or persistent backache, can sometimes signal cancer. Too often, these are not taken seriously until the disease has progressed.”

“So, how can you distinguish between an innocent ache and a pain you should report to your doctor? ‘I tell patients that if there are symptoms that are out of the ordinary or persistent or frequent in nature or extreme in intensity, they should seek attention from their primary provider,” says oncologist Elwyn Cabebe, MD, of Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, California.”

“Signs and symptoms vary widely, so don’t hesitate to talk to your health-care provider about anything that seems out of the ordinary—especially if you notice one of these nine cancer indicators.”

Sometimes Overlooked Cancer Causes