Learning a new skill at any age isn’t easy.

But imagine trying to master swimming at 50 years old, when you’re afraid of the water and visually impaired. That’s Vivian Stancil’s story.

At 50, Stancil’s doctor warned her that she had to take better care of her health, or she wasn’t going to make it to her 60s. She was 320 pounds and dealing with a variety of physical ailments, including breathing problems, a heart murmur and difficulty walking. Rather than feeling discouraged, Stancil took her physician’s words as a challenge. Despite her prior reservations, she understood the rewards of learning how to swim, which offers total body conditioning, were greater than her fears and literally jumped in.

Now 75 years old and a great-grandmother, Stancil continues to defy the odds. Today she’s a medal-winning, competitive swimmer. “If something is hard, I’m going to work at it until I get it,” she said. “I don’t care what people say —I’m just going to do it. I love the challenge.” Swimming has given Stancil more than medals and accolades. Over the last 25 years, she’s lost more than 100 pounds, improved her health, and become an inspiration to others. In 2016, Stancil was named a Humana Game Changer, a national recognition for those who exemplify healthy aging and provide encouragement, motivation, and inspiration for all individuals to pursue healthy lifestyles, no matter their age.

Stancil recently competed for the 8th time in the National Senior Games presented by Humana, an event where she’s a well-known figure due to her fierceness, dedication, and infectious optimism — the latter has won her good friends among both the staff and fellow competitors. One of the people to whom Stancil has grown close and inspired is Willette Hurst, her Humana Medicare Advantage plan agent who was struggling with her own health issues. Stancil’s ability to overcome so much and find joy in taking charge of her health has been a major factor in Hurst’s newfound commitment to becoming more physically active. Now, more than ever, good health and self-care are shared priorities among the friends.

While Stancil finds joy in swimming, she simply strives to get older people to be more active. “I don’t care if you don’t swim. You can walk; you can play tennis; you can play pickup ball; you can bowl – do something in your life,” she said. “And take somebody else with you.”In addition to rising at 4 a.m. four days a week to get to the pool for her two-hour swim, Stancil leads a prayer ministry at her church, where she says she is blessed with the opportunity to touch people’s lives. She also runs a charity called the Vivian Stancil Olympian Foundation, which offers swimming lessons free of charge to low-income children who wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to learn how to swim. Stancil recognizes the importance of being a role model. “I want my grandchildren to know what their grandmother is doing,” she says. “And when they look at me, they say, ‘I can do it.’”

Supporting Your Health Through Medicare Advantage Plans
Stancil’s ability to stay healthy and fit also relies on the healthcare support she has received. During the upcoming Medicare Annual Election Period (October 15 to December 7), eligible individuals will have the opportunity to sign-up for Medicare Advantage plans that, unlike Original Medicare, offer additional benefits such as access to fitness programs like Silver Sneakers or other types of gym memberships.

Medicare Advantage plans can also help save beneficiaries money. In fact, Medicare Advantage members spent $2,000 less, on average, on healthcare costs than those using traditional Medicare. And they often experience better health outcomes — MA plan members had a 43% lower rate of avoidable hospitalizations and a 48% lower rate of hospitalizations for those with major complex chronic conditions, than those in traditional Medicare.

Humana Medicare Advantage plans have exclusions and limitations and terms under which coverage may be continued or discontinued. For costs and complete details of Humana Medicare Advantage plans, call 1-888-372-2614 (TTY: 711) to speak with a licensed Humana sales agent or visit www.Humana.com/Medicare.

Your results may vary. It may not be typical to improve health conditions by taking the actions Stancil did.
Humana is a Medicare Advantage [HMO, PPO, and PFFS] organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any Humana plan depends on contract renewal.