This may make some people defensive, but it needs to be said. You, me, WE, have a responsibility to at least try to be healthy. If we will not do it for the quality of our own lives, then we need to consider its effects on our children and/or society as a whole.

In the United States, and some other Western Societies, the lack of personal responsibility in health is causing everyone’s medical cost to skyrocket. If you’re neglecting your health, you’re contributing to the problem. Period. Health insurance is not supposed to replace responsibility. Some obviously can’t help it, but if you can then make the choice to proactive about your health. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. We know what is healthy and what is not, for the most part. Yes, there are have to avoid toxins in our food and environment, but that’s another topic.

My family encouraged my grandmother to exercise, after a couple of falls that required assistance in getting back up; once upside down in a laundry basket. We all, including her, had a good laugh over that. She eventually needed costly round the clock care, and it caused a huge rift between her children, that eventually completely fractured our once fun family. Who wants to spend their retirement funds on their parents or give up all their free time to be a caregiver for a debilitated parent who is adamant to stay in their own home?

She sadly spent her last few years in a retirement home, bed ridden, and too weak to even use the TV remote. She “still had her wits about her”, as they say, and lived until she was 101years old. She had a brilliant mind and had been an avid reader, but that mind became bored. She couldn’t read due to cataracts and was too weak to even hold a book. She was completely dependent on other people to help her do everything, to include wiping her butt. We loved her dearly, but we dreaded visiting her. It was depressing, as we sat in that small, warm, dim room, trying to engage in intermittent conversations with her, between her nodding off. It was painful seeing her in that state, but equally painful imaging ourselves in that condition. Nobody wants to end up there at the end of their life.

Now, given this situation, and how it ultimately affected my mom’s life, causing her to miss work to the point she just gave up and retired from her once thriving Real Estate career, and ultimately severing a relationship with a brother she had once been very close to, you would think she would have been more proactive about her own health. But nope. For years, I begged her to eat right and I begged her exercise. I would give her health club memberships, workout equipment and even a FItBit.

Every time I engaged her in a conversation about it, she would come up with an excuse or change the subject altogether. She’s really good at that. She was and is in victim mode, and when someone is in victim mode, they don’t take responsibility they cast blame. It was so incredibly frustrating to have someone you love not take responsibility for something as basic as their own health.

As she grew increasingly more negative. I felt helpless as her joy for life and her health started to suffer. She broke her leg from a simple fall, that could have been prevented had her health been better. Her rehab was difficult because she was so weak. Since then, more serious health issues have developed, that I feel were the ultimate outcome of poor mental/emotional state and lack of attention to nutrition and exercise. Soon she will be in an assisted living facility, against her wishes. This is as burden left for primarily for my brother, now her legal guardian, and me. We take on the responsibility of her care, selling her house, and living with the guilt that she lays on us heavily.

There are unforeseen circumstances that may render us dependent at times in our lives,  this is true. But when we become dependent on others from neglect of our own personal health, it’s inconsiderate. Many “health issues” can be prevented our cured with a change in lifestyle.

Have the courage to improve your own health and potentially reduce the burden on your children and/or society. You will also find reward in the quality of your life by doing so.