Treating a disease or illness is one thing; however, preventing a disease or illness from developing in the first place is better. That’s why most savvy primary care physicians offer patients preventive health services. It’s helpful for all patients but especially important for older adults. That’s because a person’s risk for developing health problems increases as they age. The key to living a longer and healthier life is to prevent health problems or at least identify them as early as possible when they are most treatable.
Preventive Care for Seniors
Depending on your age and medical and family history, your doctor will recommend certain screenings, vaccinations, and general healthcare advice. These preventive health measures include:
- Annual wellness exams – Seniors should visit their doctor at least once a year for a physical that measures their height, weight, body mass, and vitals. In addition, your doctor will talk with you about any medicines you are taking, as well as your eating habits and current activity level.
- Influenza (flu) and pneumococcal vaccines – Since up to 85% of the deaths from influenza are among those 65 years of age or more, older adults should receive the flu vaccine every year. The PPSV (pneumococcal polysaccharide) vaccine and PCV13 (pneumococcal conjugate) vaccine helps prevent pneumonia and its life-threatening complications for older adults.
- Breast cancer screening – The risk of developing breast cancer increases as a woman gets older. While those between the ages of 50 and 74 should have a mammogram every two years to screen for breast cancer, doctors may recommend more frequent mammograms depending on their risk factors.
- Colorectal screening – Medical experts recommend screening for colorectal cancer starting at age 50 and continuing until the age of 75. That’s because 60% of new colorectal cancer cases occur in adults 70 and older. Screenings may include fecal immunochemical tests, flexible sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy. Your doctor can discuss the risks and benefits of each and help determine the best option for you.
- Cholesterol screening – High cholesterol levels are a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. This is why men 35 years of age and older, and women 45 years and older, should have their cholesterol levels checked with a blood test on a regular basis, especially if they have other risk factors for heart disease.
- Diabetes screening – Diabetes affects one in four older adults. It is quite common in those who are overweight or obese. Even if you don’t have any noticeable symptoms, you should have your doctor test you if you are 65 or older.
- High blood pressure screening – Your risk of developing high blood pressure – which can lead to a heart attack or stroke – increases as you get older. Your doctor will routinely check your blood pressure level each time you visit for a checkup.
- Osteoporosis screening – Women who are 65 and older should have a bone density test for osteoporosis, which causes bones to become weak and brittle, and prone to fracture.
Preventive Care for Seniors in Central and South Florida
It is believed that more than half of adults 65 and older are not current with the preventive health services their doctors recommend. Ignoring or avoiding these services can jeopardize their health, as many diseases and conditions may not be discovered in time for effective treatment.
Perhaps many seniors are reluctant to receive these services due to concerns about cost. However, you should know that most insurance and Medicare plans cover all the costs associated with preventive care.
Palm Medical Centers is a Senior Primary Care Medical Center, we provide health services to Medicare beneficiaries. We provide high-quality and value-based preventive care, as well as primary, healthcare services that can help keep you healthy. We have 22 convenient locations throughout South and Central Florida where we provide a wide range of interdisciplinary healthcare services. In addition, we are an affiliated ACCESS site that assists recipients in social and government programs. Among other services, the ACCESS and Social Worker team guides patients on Medicare and Medicaid application and renewals.
For more information about our preventive health services or to make a doctor’s appointment, please contact the medical center closest to you during regular business hours.