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02 October 2019

What is Whole Person Healthcare?

Thank you to Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield for sponsoring this post. As always, all enthusiasm is my own.

What is whole person healthcare and why is it important when choosing a Medicare Advantage plan?


There's been a shift over the last few years to move from treating a symptom to whole person healthcare. Whole person care addresses more than the symptoms and looks to prevent or reduce symptoms by looking at a person's overall lifestyle. This can include diet and activities as well as their medical care.




Personally, I see this as a big step forward into getting people the help that they need. When I took over the role of my mom's caregiver five years ago, I noticed that one part of her lifestyle was affecting another part of her health.

Now we are focusing on whole person care, which is helping to improve her quality of life and making her happier in her daily life. See what's new for 2020 from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio in whole person healthcare.
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What is Whole Person Healthcare?


Whole person care looks at more than the diagnosis or trying to fix just one part. Instead, it looks at nutrition and diet, physical activity, environmental, mental and emotional parts of a person's life.

All of these aspects of a person's life are interconnected. Improving one aspect can often improve another. Likewise, when one is off balance, it can affect other aspects of the person's life.

Healthy Diet


One thing that I noticed with my mother was that she wasn't eating healthy. She lives alone, and it's hard to cook healthy meals for one. It's also hard to buy fresh fruits and vegetables because she can't eat them before they go bad.




I help her with this by creating meal plans. We group meals with similar ingredients together, so she can buy fresh vegetables and use them before they go bad.

We also created a folder of meals that she likes that can easily be frozen. When she cooks, she can freeze leftovers for another meal. I also make extra for my family and freeze some for her.

I printed a sheet that we can use for a freezer inventory. Everything is labeled in the freezer, but she can see what she has available without even opening it. This also helps me see what needs to be stocked up on.




Socializing


My mom lives in a retirement community, so most of her neighbors are around during the day. This helps her, but she still experiences loneliness because she lives alone. They like to sit on their porches and talk or play cards during the day to socialize.




She likes to read, so a few of the other residents of her retirement community like to read the same books and talk about them.



She can’t always get to the library, so I got her a tablet so she can get eBooks from the library.







She found a church, and she attends their weekly meetings and meals to get some companionship. She also goes to the local recreation center during the day to talk to other seniors.

Are you a caregiver? I shared tips for caregivers last month.

How Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Can Help


In 2020, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio is continuing to move towards whole person healthcare. Many of their Medicare Advantage plans are expanding the options for wellness service once again. These new services help improve living conditions, nutrition, and overall well-being.

Starting next year, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is giving enrollees access to support for service dogs, nutrition support and education, and even pest control to improve living conditions if needed.

These new services help support whole person care, which can improve overall health and wellness. I know that for my mother specifically, when her basic needs like healthy food, relaxation, and socialization are taken care of, she feels better emotionally and physically.



This is in addition to the wellness services options they already provide, which include:



  • healthy meal delivery
  • health-related transportation
  • allowance for assistive devices
  • adult day centers
  • home helpers
  • alternative medicine like acupuncture


This whole person care approach helps lower barriers to medical care and provides care for the person as a whole.

This helps promote better overall health, which can help the person manage a chronic illness and engage more in their community.

As a caregiver, I'm thankful for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio for helping my mom and other seniors get whole person healthcare to address several of their needs for overall health and wellness.

Thank you to Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield for sponsoring this discussion.

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What is whole person healthcare and how can it help you or a loved one? Learn more about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s new programs coming in 2020.









Cari Dunn
Cari Dunn

Cari lives on a small farm in Ohio with her husband, three kids, two dogs, two cats, five goats, several chickens, and homing pigeons. She loves Gilmore Girls, coffee, and her kids. Not in that order.