All seniors should be getting yearly checkups to make sure they stay healthy. And there are some yearly screenings and vaccinations that seniors should be getting too. Sometimes seniors feel like if they are healthy they don’t need to go to the doctor. However early diagnosis of common illnesses can make a big difference in the management of those conditions. That’s why seniors need to be checked for common illnesses that impact seniors every year. If the reason why seniors don’t want to go to the doctor for yearly visits is that they don’t drive and find it difficult to get to their appointments senior home care providers can help.
A senior home care provider can drive seniors to their appointments, go in and wait with them, and help them get the most out of their appointments.
Some of the yearly screenings that seniors need to have include:
Blood Pressure Screening
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common condition among seniors and a significant risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and other health issues. Regular blood pressure checks are essential to monitor and manage this condition. Seniors who have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure need to have their blood pressure checked often to see if their current treatment and medications are working.
Cholesterol Level Test
High cholesterol levels can contribute to cardiovascular disease. Seniors, especially those with a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol, should have their cholesterol levels checked annually. High cholesterol can usually be managed with medication and diet changes, but if it’s not managed well high cholesterol can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. A senior home care provider aide can prepare meals that follow a doctor’s guidelines.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that can lead to serious complications if left untreated. Seniors should undergo annual blood glucose testing or an A1c test to screen for diabetes or prediabetes. More than 15 million seniors have diabetes, and it’s critically important for seniors to get regularly tested for diabetes.
Bone Density Test
Osteoporosis is a common concern among older adults, especially postmenopausal women. A bone density test, such as a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan, can assess bone health and fracture risk. The frequency may vary based on individual risk factors.
Vision and Eye Examination
Seniors should have their eyes checked annually by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. This includes tests for visual acuity, glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration, all of which become more common with age.
Hearing loss is prevalent in older adults and can affect communication and quality of life. Annual hearing tests can help detect and address hearing problems.
Oral health is crucial to overall well-being. Seniors should see their dentist at least once a year for check-ups, cleanings, and evaluations of oral health and hygiene.
Skin cancer risk increases with age and sun exposure. Seniors should undergo a yearly skin examination by a dermatologist to check for skin abnormalities, including potential skin cancers.
Colorectal Cancer Screening
Starting at age 50, seniors should consider regular screenings for colorectal cancer. Options include colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or stool-based tests like the fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT).
Breast Cancer Screening
Mammograms are essential for breast cancer screening for women aged 50 and older. The frequency of mammograms may vary based on individual risk factors and previous findings.
Prostate Cancer Screening
For men, regular prostate cancer screenings, including a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and a digital rectal exam, should be discussed with a healthcare provider, particularly for those at higher risk.
Lung Cancer Screening
For seniors with a history of smoking or significant exposure to tobacco smoke, annual lung cancer screenings, often conducted through low-dose CT scans, may be recommended.
Thyroid Function Test
Thyroid disorders become more prevalent with age. A thyroid function test, including thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroid hormone levels, can help assess thyroid health.
Liver Function Test
Seniors at risk of liver disease, including those with a history of heavy alcohol use, should consider annual liver function tests to monitor liver health.
Kidney Function Test
Regular tests for kidney function, such as serum creatinine and glomerular filtration rate (GFR), are important for detecting kidney problems, especially in seniors with diabetes or hypertension.
Cognitive screenings can help detect early signs of cognitive decline or dementia. These screenings may be part of an annual wellness visit or comprehensive geriatric assessment.
Mental health is just as crucial as physical health. Seniors should undergo regular depression screenings to address mood disorders and ensure emotional well-being. Senior home care aides provide companionship.