Whether you’re just beginning to think about starting your own family or have a full nursery already, planning for healthcare in the long-term can be a real lifesaver — literally. By planning ahead, you can take preventative health measures before any issues arise. Long-term planning will help you save money, of course, but it will also keep your family happy and healthy for years to come. Here are a few ideas to get you started on long-term healthcare planning for the whole family:
Starting a Family
Having children is a huge step for any family, and it requires plenty of long-term planning. However, no amount of planning can account for the unpredictability of pregnancy and raising a child. Even if you’ve never had a history of health problems, they can arise during pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. Everyone’s pregnancy is unique and everything, from conception to labor, can be much different than expecting parents anticipate. Having a child is already costly, but any health complications or additional medical care can make having and raising a baby even more expensive.
To ensure that everyone is as healthy as possible, communicate openly with your OB-GYN throughout your pregnancy. To you, that weird stomach pain is just a minor symptom, but to your doctor, it may be indicative of a larger problem. By discussing everything, even things that feel insignificant, with your doctor, you may be able to catch an issue early on before it becomes costly or harmful.
Don’t let preventative healthcare screenings fall by the wayside, especially during and after pregnancy. To stay healthy in the long-term, you need regular physicals, dentist appointments, and optometrist visits. Make everyone’s appointments at the same time, so no one in the family misses a check-up.
There may be kicking and screaming en route to the doctor’s office, but your children have to have these appointments too. They may have their own undiagnosed or unnoticeable health issues. For example, the experts at Hiatt Eye Center note that over a quarter of children between ages 5 and 17 have some degree of astigmatism. Initial symptoms may be hard to notice, which is why optometrists check for astigmatism during routine eye exams. However, if they don’t have that exam, you may not know about your child’s poor vision until their grades are suffering because they can’t read the board.
You may be tired of hearing it, but the best way to keep your entire family healthy is a nutritious diet and plenty of regular exercise. They affect virtually all aspects of your wellbeing, so it’s a worthy priority when planning for long-term health! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children need 60 minutes of physical activity each and every day, with a variety of aerobic, muscle strengthening, and bone strengthening exercises. Though your needs as an adult are different, it certainly doesn’t hurt to join them!
Get your whole family involved. Not only will it be more fun and a great chance to spend time together, it’ll help everyone stay healthy. Juggling family, work, and life is tricky, and other important obligations can fall through the cracks, including your own health. Take walks around your neighborhood, help your kids practice for their upcoming soccer game, or plan a camping trip with plenty of hiking. Do whatever you and your family enjoy doing; just be sure to commit and make it part of your routine.
Don’t be afraid to try new things to keep your family healthy. Consider looking at health tips from different countries in the world to inspire enduring health habits in your children. In the Netherlands, bike riding is extremely popular as a mode of transportation and not just a recreational activity. Not only do they get regular exercise, bikers tend to have more energy and call in sick to work less frequently. The ancient Indian practice of yoga offers a multitude of health benefits, including improved circulation, strength, and mental clarity. By introducing these practices to your children at a young age, you can normalize them in their lives and help them form healthier habits that will stick with them for a lifetime.
Though you can’t control everything in life — not even your health — you can make choices now that will be helpful in the long-term. But with a little planning and a lot of love, you can set your family up for success and lifelong health too!