Pam Rainey: Medicare set seeks fountain of youth

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Pam Rainey

No, I don't want to be an old geezer - but I am counting the months until I am 65. It won't be long now, just 13 months.

Just 13 months till I'm eligible for Medicare.

Here's the problem. It is annoying and too expensive to pay $975 per month for health insurance premiums. While I realize Medicare and a supplement will not be cheap, it will beat the heck out of the growing premiums I am paying for health benefits now.

So, as my 65th birthday is speeding toward me, I've had a wake-up call. In order to stomp out the appearance of being a geezer, I had to start now with my image. So, I went shopping.

First, I bought two pair of shoes in animal prints. Even my back surgeon compliments me on the brown pair. They are not, of course, the type of shoe a person who's had back surgery should wear. But they have style.

Then, I added some huge dangling earrings to my ensemble. Don't laugh. It is what makes us feel younger that counts, isn't it?

The most daring thing I've done is dump my old flip phone. This took courage. Yep. I bought a smartphone. Now, if I can remember it is not a "Blueberry," I'll be cool with my 14-year-old grandson.

Most of the time I just stare at my new phone, wishing it was a rotary dial. After only few minor incidents, such as calling 911 accidentally, I'm getting used to it.

Before February 2013, I'll happily skip - let's rephrase that: I'll park in a handicap space and walk - into the downtown post office and return the envelope saying "yes" I do want to sign up for Medicare. I'm told I can do that a few months before my birthday. That is, if Medicare is still available in 13 months.

So along with the leopard print shoes, big earrings and smartphone what is wrong with a body lift or tuck here and there?

"As a matter of fact, over the past several years, [the older population] has been the largest growing group of patients by category," Dr. Richard Ehrlichman, a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, said in a report aired on Good Morning America. According to Erlichman, cosmetic surgery for patients 65 and older has grown more than 35 percent in the past five years.

But before jumping in to cosmetic surgery, seniors have to consider the risks. Though doctors agree that a patient's health is more important than age when it comes to cosmetic surgery, the idea of an 80-year-old going for cosmetic surgery does raise some concerns, according the report.

Sevinor, a cosmetic surgeon in practice for 23 years in Boston, has done more than 1,000 breast augmentations, and in the last year performed his first on an 80-year-old patient, according to the news report. And it may not be his last.

Cosmetic surgery may be OK for some; it's best to check with your physician first to see if you are healthy enough for it. Buying new clothes or getting a modern hairstyle is the easiest makeover for men and women wanting to look their best.

Some of the sharpest people I know are 65 and older. They're not wasting that wonderful knowledge with complaints or talk about the weather; they are involved in projects in our community - on the City Council, community boards and commissions, or serving behind the scenes. They know they have given their talent to make our community a better place to live. And we all reap the benefits of their wonderful gifts.

So for Christmas, whether you decide to gift yourself with a new wardrobe, a new 'do or a nip and tuck here and there, it really is on the inside what counts, isn't it?

PAM RAINEY is a 40-year Denton resident and a real estate agent who has helped many seniors make decisions about living arrangements. You can reach her with suggestions at RpmRny@cs.com or 940-367-1188.


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