Newly elected Chairman of the VI Government Employees Service Commission, (GESC), Beverly Joseph, advises government employees and retirees that “sickness comes at any hour and it makes no sense to put off essential medical services that could prevent serious illness or even death.”
“In our 20’s, we tend to think that we are invincible, but it is only as we hit our 40-50’s that we begin to get concerned about preserving the health status we’ve come to enjoy. Unfortunately, in some cases we may experience physical damage because we have failed to take the preventative measures over the last 15-20 years. By then we could unknowingly be suffering as a Category II hypertensive because we did not take appropriate care including proper nutrition, a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, and annual checkups.”
The GESC Board is stressing preventative health care for a number of reasons, but mostly because it is the least expensive and the least invasive form of medical care. “For instance,” states Joseph, “By spending the basic co-pay for lab work (usually around $20.00) early in the year, individuals can save themselves more expensive acute care. A simple blood and urine tests can tell the individual’s sugar and cholesterol levels as well as how hard one’s kidneys are working. By knowing where you stand each year, you can prevent catastrophic health events like bypass surgery, aneurisms, blood clots, or even swelling due to retaining fluids which oftentimes can be an early sign of kidney problems.
As a regular observer of the GESC, AARP VI has been able to develop a close working relationship with its Board members and especially with Ms. Joseph. As the former Medicare Director in the State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) Office, Ms. Joseph was able to identify trends among the retiree population and worked with the AARP Office to develop solutions. Ms. Joseph also has taught classes to AARP Volunteers to create a cadre of well-trained Medicare Certified Volunteers so that VI seniors might have sufficient expertise routinely available to provide advice, counseling and issue resolution.
For more information on the GESC, preventative health care practices or Medicare please visit the AARP Virgin Islands website at www.aarp.org/vi.