Charity

Is Money a Risk Factor for Poor Health?  

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If you read about your health on the internet, you will find all sorts of information that may or may not be helpful or correct. I often will find lists of things to do, to eat, or to avoid. It can be hard to sort through the information and make practical applications to your own situation.

I usually like those articles that list bullet points because I can scan them for relevance and then move on or dig deeper if desired. Today, I just have one bullet item. It is really more of a question or actually an observation.

1.     Is money, or the lack of money, a risk factor for poor health?

I have traveled to third-world countries where the average citizen lives in poverty and for the most part, the people are healthy. I have also seen affluent citizens in our country who are in poor health.  Obviously, the opposite situations can be observed as well. I have seen kids go to bed hungry and malnourished. I have seen others who can spend time and energy on good food, gym memberships, and advanced medical treatments and develop horrible health problems.

I think I am asking a deeper question. Money certainly gives options and can provide expensive medical care, doctors’ visits, immunizations, and medications—all of which should lead to better health.

Is there a connection, at least in our culture, to money and health? Is it possible that the way we handle our resources can predict our health to some degree? I’m not suggesting that if you are unhealthy it’s because you’re not a good steward of your money or vise versa.

I have the privilege of taking care of many Medicare patients. Many of them do very well from a health prospective and from a financial prospective. Unfortunately, I have several elderly patients who are living only on social security. Some of them are surviving (somehow) on only around $800 a month.

They are very limited to their abilities to purchase healthcare and supplies, such as medications and healthy foods. Most of them that come to my mind were hard-working, good people. They were and are productive citizens and bring great value to our culture. But they have limited resources.

There is a growing wave of Baby Boomers who will be retiring over the next 10–20 years. Many are poorly prepared for retirement. Many will need to continue in the labor force out of necessity, not desire.

My whole intent on this article is to simply sound a warning bell to those far from retirement (or to those who are close to retirement). You will probably need more money than you think to live comfortably. I want you to have an amazing life.

I am not a retirement specialist. So please talk to someone who is. I know many people who are totally prepared and will have an amazing life in retirement. But I also see currently many who are not prepared.

My encouragement to you is to get prepared! Give some thought to your retirement. Seek good council.

One of the major disciplines that will help you financially is also good discipline for your health: delayed gratification. Spend less than you make. This is the primary key to having financial resources later. Eat fewer calories than you burn. This is the primary way to lose weight. Delay gratification.

Know where your money is going. (Have a budget.) Know how many calories you eat a day. Check your bank account every now and then. Get a physical every now and then. There are so many similarities to the habits that create good financial health to good physical health.

Most of us have good intentions. We intend to do all sorts of things that are good for our families and good for us. The problem is we are usually going to start tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Develop a plan, put some thought to your future, and start today!

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown

Visiting Our Clinic in Guatemala

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My good friend Brian Banks and I have just returned from a trip to Livingston, Guatemala. Several of our friends (our small group from church) have helped this small church in Livingston start and operate a clinic.

The clinic is not a free clinic. Our desire is for it to become self-sustaining. The local doctor, Dr. Juan Louis Rosales, is doing an outstanding job of ministering to these people. His charge per visit is about three dollars!

He provides primary care to all who come there. The clinic is located on the property of the church and the patients are getting connected to the church. The local church through the leadership of Pastor Enrique Blanco is thriving. Many are coming to the church, and it is experiencing amazing growth!

The clinic has many needs, and I am amazed at how well Dr. Juan does with so little. Our desire is to continue to support the clinic. We will have another trip in January or February of next year to do an outreach clinic. It is hard work, but the rewards are always worth it.

The clinic can use just about anything one might think of. We are planning on taking some supplies with us on our next trip. They need a computer and a printer. Currently, they have paper and pencil only. With better record keeping, we hope to get a better idea on the overall cost but also improve care and outreach. We are also looking for a portable ultrasound machine to provide better OB care.

If you have any desire to help support the clinic, please drop me a note. Brian is the owner of Providence Home Health and has a nonprofit set up through his company called “Everybody Matters.” On his website at http://www.providencehcare.com, there is a link for Everybody Matters at the bottom of the page. If you make a donation, just indicate it is for the clinic in Livingston. I can promise you 100% of the donations will go directly to the clinic.

I always make new friends on these trips, and on this trip I met Wilmer. He was an inquisitive young man who quickly showed me things on my phone that I had no idea about! His story unfortunately is fairly common. He has five siblings and is being raised by his mother. She has trouble finding work and the father is absent. His smile was contagious and he had lots of energy!

Have you ever been to Guatemala? Why did you go? Tell me in the comments!

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown

 

Mission Trip to Livingston, Guatemala

I am involved with a ministry in Livingston, Guatemala. Livingston is a small community in Guatemala that is the home of 10,000 to 12,000 people with little or no healthcare. Healthcare in Guatemala is essentially free through the government. However, there is essentially no real healthcare available. The government clinic has not been able to pay their nurses and there are little or no medicines available.

Miguel Gonzales is a young pastor with a big vision for Livingston. He started a house church with just a few believers and had a big vision for ministry that included starting a clinic. Through various circumstances, some friends and I have become involved and support the clinic. There is a local Guatemalan doctor who works daily in the clinic.

Pastor Miguel has trained a new pastor who is now leading the ministry, Enrique Blanco. He is a dynamic leader and is growing the church and clinic.

My friend Brian Banks and I took a team and had a medical clinic. We saw about 450 patients and dispensed over a thousand prescriptions over the three-day period. We also were able to provide an EKG machine for the clinic. It is the only 12 lead EKG for many miles and will make a tremendous difference in the health of the local Guatemalans. The EKG was donated by Mercy Hospital.