Walking a dog and other outdoor activities are easy to enjoy on a warm summer day. But during Midwest winters, when ice and snow surround us, many older adults get out of their good exercise habits. And for many, time indoors can also mean poor eating habits.
Many Medicare Advantage plans include options to help their members stay healthy year-round, but not all members are aware of these valuable benefits available at no charge.
Barbara Meier of Kenosha is a great example. For years, Barbara’s passions included her beloved Chicago Cubs, her high-energy dog Wrigley, and caring for her parents.
Six years ago, Barbara’s father passed away, followed last year by her mother. “Caring for my parents had been my life. I was so used to spending most of my days providing care, that when my mom died, I was kind of lost for a while,” said Barbara. “I realized I had neglected my own fitness. A woman from my apartment told me SilverSneakers was an included benefit of her health plan at no cost to her. I looked into it and found that Weight Watchers was also included. About three weeks after my mom passed away, I enrolled in the iCare Medicare Plan, and I’m so glad I did.”
SilverSneakers is a fitness benefit that includes access to 15,000+ fitness locations nationwide, exercise equipment and other amenities, group exercise classes led by certified instructors, and a support network and online resources. Eligible plan members simply show their personal SilverSneakers ID card at the front desk of any participating location to use the benefit.
At-home kits are offered for members who want to start working out at home or for those who can’t get to a fitness location due to injury, illness or being homebound.
SilverSneakers is about more than exercise; it’s also about being social. “I never thought I would love working out as much as I do…I go every day. I’ve met some new people at the club, and I really enjoy my personal trainer, Barney.”
The iCare Medicare Plan also includes a Weight Watchers benefit. Members can request meeting voucher packs for local Weight Watchers. These packs will contain thirteen-weeks’ worth of meeting vouchers at a local, on-site Weight Watchers location. Transportation to and from Weight Watchers meetings, up to 100 one-way trips per year are available at no charge.
Despite her history of back problems – she’s had four back surgeries – Barbara has had great success. She’s lost 14 pounds and her trainer helps her choose exercises that are safe for her back. “Working out and losing weight has helped me cope with losing my parents, it helps with my back, and I feel better about myself. I feel so much younger now.”
But she’s not done yet. Once the weather improves, she plans to continue going to Weight Watchers meetings, and adding in gardening and more walks with Wrigley to her workout routine of weight machines, treadmill and other cardio exercises.
“In August, my nephew is getting married, and I really want to knock their socks off.”
Hold on to your socks, wedding guests: Barbara is coming!
Learn more about iCare’s Medicare Advantage dual eligible special needs plans at www.iCareHealthPlan.org or call 608-347-8679.