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Most people don’t usually feel that critical illnesses are close to them, but critical illnesses contribute significantly to the top ten causes of death in Malaysia. According to a list from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Malaysians are most susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease, heart conditions, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney failure.
Unless you have a family member or friend who has suffered and fought through a life-threatening illness, it’s very unlikely that you are aware of the emotional and financial impact. It’s important to remember health problems don’t discriminate – they can hit at any time and age. Even those who are living healthy lifestyles aren’t totally immune from the risk.
What effect does it have…
If you are fortunate enough to not have experienced this personally, perhaps a movie analogy is the best example.
In “50/50”, Joseph Gordon Levitt’s character is diagnosed with a rare type of spinal cancer. His girlfriend, driven by pity and sympathy, feels obligated to take care of him. His best friend uses his story to pick up girls, while his mother tries her best to be there for him – albeit also having to nurse her ailing husband. Aside from his relationships, his lifestyle also changes as he has to spend most of his time at the hospital and in psychotherapy sessions.
On the individual
The movie illustrates the impact a critical illness can have on one’s mental well-being and social life. Someone who is coping with a critical condition may start isolating themselves from friends and family and experience diminishing self-esteem. They also develop feelings of guilt and embarrassment as people around them start behaving in a more sympathetic manner.
Remember that you don’t have to deal with this alone. Everyone in this world is fighting their battles, and some may be fighting the same battles as you. Join a support group and engage with people who are coping with the same ordeal. Support groups often create an environment where you can share experiences, learn from each other, and gain strength from an empathetic and supportive group of people.
Research everything you can about your condition and make changes to your lifestyle accordingly. Incorporate positive habits into your daily routine, like eating the appropriate nutritious meals, developing a daily exercise routine, practicing relaxing hobbies such as reading, yoga, or meditating. Armed with knowledge and support, you will be better equipped to face critical illness.
On their family
When a member of the family is diagnosed with a critical illness, it inevitably disrupts the routine they have set in place for years. It changes family members’ roles, responsibilities, and in some cases, dramatically alters expectations.
Family members will feel the need to provide more love and moral support for the ill family member. In addition to that, they also have to adjust to a new lifestyle, like driving the patient to the hospital a few times a week and making sure they have taken their medications and is well rested.
This might take a toll on the family as some of them might feel trapped in a loop where they have to care for someone else while also balancing their own responsibilities and social life. The same things also apply to couples or couples who have a child diagnosed with chronic illness.
Battling critical illness can be a family affair where everybody is involved. A professional counsellor can help you and your family members alleviate all the strain and stress that you may encounter. They can also provide helpful strategies for managing your emotions, lifestyle, relationships, and so on.
On their finances
One of the hardest parts about battling a critical illness is simply the amount of money it costs. The cost of being admitted to a good hospital, seeing specialists, being able to keep up with the necessary medication and/or medical supplies – the list goes on and the costs keep escalating.
A global survey conducted by Mercer Marsh Benefits last year revealed that Malaysia’s medical inflation reached 11.5% in 2016, putting our country in third place among Asian countries surveyed. The report further highlighted that the medical inflation rate in Malaysia is a whopping 10% to 15% every year. That means a treatment that costs RM3,500 to RM5,000 today could cost up to RM34,000 in 20 years!
Do you know the cost of a heart surgery alone in Malaysia? RM50,000.
Liver transplants can come up to RM300,000 to RM400,000, while a full bone marrow transplant can cost you RM350,000.
With advanced studies and technology, more and more patients are reportedly recovering from critical illnesses. For example, a report Cancer Research UK noted that around 50% of cancer patients survive for at least a decade. Better screening technology and early detection improves your chances of recovering, but can the average person afford this?
So where do you go for that amount of money? Do you take out a loan? Do you call a long-lost relative to borrow money? No, you make sure you’re already well protected with a comprehensive critical illness plan.
Most critical illness plans provide a lump sum payment when the policyholder is diagnosed with a critical illness. This can greatly help you and your family cope with changes in lifestyle and finances and help relieve some financial pressure. When you have adequate financial support, you can focus on the recovery process and coping with the lifestyle change.
Prime Care+ has one of the widest critical illness coverage in the market. It covers more than 150 types of illnesses with extensive coverage from early to advanced stages. The coverage includes heart attacks, cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, and brain tumours; just to name a few.
There is also no waiting period in between claims because your health and recovery come first. Find out more about Prime Care+ now!