Aging is a beautiful and natural process. While there's nothing particularly fun about having your knees crack or forgetting where you put that dang remote, we all have to be there one day.
That not only means that keeping track of simple tasks and duties like paying the mortgage, taking your medicine or going to follow up appointments are more difficult as you age but it also means that your journey to old age should be about looking forward as much as it is about looking back.
Daily tasks are important but so is what happens in 10 years or if you get sick or need to be hospitalized.
As we age, often roles are reversed. The daughter we raised and dressed may now be dressing and driving us around. Little Timmy from down the street might one day be the one who comes by with the groceries or to check and see if you've taken your medicine.
The support we receive from our loved ones as we age is invaluable, however, many aging people find that independence and dignity often dissipate as we age. There's tech available to help us manage just about everything so why not tech to help us age gracefully?
The Austin, Texas-based startup Iris Plans has created an advanced planning service to help older adults who are dealing with illness or just need to stay on top of future health care plans.
With their devices, health care professionals help manage the future health care options of older adults through video chat or phone call. Best of all the cost is covered by health care providers and insurance companies.
For many aging adults, while lack of attention and support can be a problem, the opposite is an issue as well. When it comes to factors like health and health care, well-meaning parties like children, doctors or spouses can present a dizzying array of options and requests that make choosing health care providers and services more difficult.
Iris Plans is hoping to de-clutter this process. With their platform, users can connect directly with their assigned healthcare professionals, with whom they can talk about their future care options and current plans. Iris Plans explains their service as something similar to having a financial advisor, but for health.
The user can connect by phone or video chat, from any location where phone service or internet service is available and they can connect at a time that is convenient for them.
In this way, the service is not only easier for users who may have tight schedule or appointments but, it's easier on users who have limited mobility or don't have transportation and cannot meet at a physical location each time they require assistance.
The benefit of Iris Plans is two-fold, it eliminates the frustrations of wading through options and information to help users find options that best suit them and it allows them to plan for their future, often avoiding expensive health emergencies as much as possible.
Healthcare planning is about taking control of your healthcare wishes so your goals, values, and preferences are known and can be respected by health providers and those closest to you.
Users can ensure that their future health care plans match their budget, wants and needs- in fact, they can document their goals and healthcare details so their wishes will be respected regardless of the circumstance.
Users can also designate someone to speak in their capacity if they are unable to speak for themselves in the future. Of course many users may also have signed documents like a living will or resuscitation requests which communicate their wishes should they become incapacitated or worse, however, like financial planners, the healthcare specialists at Iris Plans can help guide users to ensure that they are making the best decision and answer their questions in a way that makes sense to them.
If a user feels like other parties are appropriate to include in plan making they can elect to have others like family members or primary care physicians join in on the sessions.
If the opposite is true of a user, and they feel as if other parties like children or a spouse may be interfering with their plans, the staff at Iris Plans have a moral and legal responsibility to carry out only the wishes of the user.
What's more, their facilitators are actually trained to help families resolve differences in care decisions and present options that may work for all parties.
Personally, I really like the idea of this startup because it's not only concentrated on easing difficulties for children and caregivers but it's also concentrated on allowing aging people to control and direct their own health care plans and life decisions.
While we definitely wish that aging is as graceful and gorgeous as it should be, for every bump in the road, a little health planning goes a long way.