The past few days I have had the dubious task of negotiating with our insurance provider, the other newspaper publisher in our Utah division and our corporate president. This is not something I enjoy doing. It is obvious to anyone who pays for their own insurance or pays a portion of their insurance premium that one gets less and less coverage for more money and this has been the case for a few years now. What is also obvious, due to the projected costs we have been looking at, is that our staff at the Sun Advocate and Emery County Progress are healthier than at our sister newspaper, the Richfield Reaper.
All this talk and thought about insurance reminds me of a company I worked for several years ago where the premiums we paid were based on each person's individual health. Each employee took a health test and we were graded based on the healthy choices each made. Smokers, people who were overweight, those that had high cholesterol, some in risk categories such as alcohol or drug treatment, and even women who where of childbearing age were all assessed a higher rate than others.
Even though these factors affect the monthly insurance rates we pay I have long believed that taking care of yourself, physically and mentally, will surely improve our chances of enjoying life longer. It amazes me with all the publicity for years now, around making healthy choices, that we still see people smoking, not exercising and not eating nutritious food. They obviously don't care that a healthy life-style can delay the onset of weakness and disability. But do they also realize that this kind of unhealthy living deprives people of the ability to take care of themselves as they age?
Staying physically fit, eating nutritious foods, managing stress and avoiding environmental hazards, will certainly allow more people to enjoy long lives. We do not all inherit the same potential life spans, however, and some develop physical disabilities during the course of living that cannot be corrected by healthy living. We learn to live with genetic and incidental factors which affect our health; learning to cope with them in a way that permits us to enjoy as high quality of life as possible is one of life's challenges.
Aging is the decline in functional capacity, lessened resilience and increased vulnerability to disease. Every one of these manifestations is progressive. Undue demands on the energies of the aged, whether through illness, accidental or psychological impact, throws them off balance and requires a longer time for recovery than it does in younger people.
There are so many choices in life. I am grateful that I work hard at choosing a healthy life-style. Hopefully it will not only pay for itself in the years to come, but also that my children or the government won't be burdened by the decisions I make today.