The Importance of Regular Health Screenings for Seniors

December 20, 2021

As the world around us continues to recover from a tumultuous pandemic, it’s not uncommon to discover many older adults have put off receiving routine health screenings. For some, the decision to delay may be related to providers putting a pause on nonessential appointments. While others may be cautious about potentially exposing themselves to the COVID-19 virus in cramped waiting rooms.

 

With a new year underway, now’s the time to put at least one health checkup back on the calendar—if only to help you maintain a basic level of health. But that’s not the only advantage.

 

THE BENEFITS OF HEALTH SCREENINGS

Most people don’t seek out medical attention until they begin to experience the signs and symptoms of something more concerning. However, many chronic conditions can be detected or even prevented through regular screenings. Scheduling these health screenings can seem trivial, but they can add years to your life and save you time and money on health care costs. Here are a few to consider:

 

  • Preventive care: Prevention is the key to good health. Yearly preventive exams will allow you to discover diseases before they spread or worsen, allowing treatment to be more effective.
  • Prescription review: It’s good practice to review your current medications with your doctor each year. This will help you make sure you’re getting the right prescriptions with the correct dosages, as well as assess any potential negative side effects that may occur.
  • Manage conditions: If you currently have a chronic condition, it’s important to get regular care or discuss any concerns you may be experiencing. This can often be done in several ways, including through in-home or virtual (telehealth) visits.

 

CHECK OFF YOUR CHECKLIST

It probably doesn’t come as a shock to learn there are several different kinds of screenings available. As you schedule yours, simply consider what will ensure you maintain your best health. Here are some to include:

 

Physical screenings

  • Blood pressure: High blood pressure is often a precursor to serious health issues, such as stroke, heart disease, and more. At each doctor’s appointment, make sure to check your blood pressure and monitor any alarming changes.
  • Eye exam: Vision typically declines with age. Guidelines suggest getting an annual vision exam to check for conditions more common among older adults, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, or retinal tearing.
  • Obesity: Many older adults struggle with weight. If obesity is an issue, a doctor can help you with diet and exercise plans.

 

Vaccinations

  • Flu shot: Seniors over 65 are at a higher risk for complications from the flu. Each year, get a dose of the flu vaccine and any other doctor recommended booster to help keep you healthy and safe.
  • Pneumococcal: Pneumococcal vaccines help prevent pneumonia and other respiratory diseases that can carry higher complications among older adults.
  • Shingles: Shingles are more common among older adults and often present themselves as a burning rash that can cause lifelong pain. At age 50+, ask your doctor about receiving a vaccine.

 

Safety and mental health

  • Depression: Seniors have an increased risk for loneliness and depression due to isolation. Be sure to talk with your health provider if you’ve felt increased feelings of sadness or emotions that may affect your mental well-being.
  • Fall risk: It is perfectly normal to become a little less sure-of-foot with age. If you feel you’re in need of a little extra support when you walk or get around, be sure to notify your healthcare provider that you should be better monitored for falls.
  • Dementia: If you or a loved one is experiencing memory loss or showing any of the warning signs commonly associated with dementia, it’s important to notify your doctor as early as possible.

 

Preventive care is the key to maintaining good health. Detecting concerns and conditions as they occur, or even in advance, has the potential to increase your ability to age successfully—not to mention improve your quality of life.

 

There are clearly many advantages to living in a Life Plan Community, the chief among them being the mental and physical health benefits experienced by residents. For more information about the benefits of moving into a Life Plan Community, speak with your retirement counselor, or call 801-758-3138 today.

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