The body – much like machines – undergoes significant wear and tear after a long time of operation. Therefore, monitoring our health through every stage of life is vital as this essential practice does a great job detecting early signs of some of the most serious health issues that come with age.
This may sound surreal, but did you know that an ordinary wellness checkup for a senior could reveal some problems that need to be treated appropriately?
Keep scrolling through our list of ten recommended wellness checkups that your parents and other older family members should have at later stages of their lives.
MORE TO EXPLORE: 9 Recommended Preventive Health Care Screenings for Seniors
What Are Wellness Checkups?
As your parents and other older family members age, their needs for wellness checkups and health screenings increase.
With age, several conditions can lurk around the corner and only show symptoms once they have gotten serious. Therefore, a wellness checkup is often an annual visit that helps seniors plan to prevent diseases and detect premature signs of age-related health issues as their bodies continue to age.
During wellness check, expect the following procedures and assessments:
- Updating the lists of prescriptions and healthcare providers
- Weight, height, blood pressure test, and other routine measurements
- A list of treatment options
- A checklist for preventive care and screenings
- Personalized health advice
- Vision and hearing tests
- Detection of any cognitive impairment
Moreover, a physical checkup for seniors concentrates on three primary systems:
- The cardiovascular system: The older your seniors, the more they are vulnerable to high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and other heart diseases.
- The musculoskeletal system: Weakened muscles and joints accompanied by other age-related medical conditions can cause an alarming number of seniors to trip and fall.
- The brain and nervous system: Testing cognitive function enables doctors to help seniors determine whether or not they are developing cognitive impairment at early stages, allowing them to take appropriate action before it gets worse.
What Are The Benefits of Wellness Checks for Seniors?
You have probably heard the proverb “Prevention is better than cure,” indicating that we should take good care of our health – at any age.
However, general wellness checkups are particularly essential to all seniors, as this practice plays a huge role in helping them avoid the negative impacts of aging, promoting healthy aging in the long haul.
Periodic health checkups help to:
- Reduce the risks of getting sick
- Keep track of overall health
- Gain more control over chronic conditions
- Limit the risk of further complications by closely monitoring existing health issues
- Speed up the recovery process
- Help in saving time
- Reduce the evolving costs of hospitalization and medical expenses
- Prevent the emergence of chronic diseases that can cause long-term disabilities
- Help in leading a stress-free, healthy life
- Prolong lifespan and well-being
- Detect possible life-threatening conditions
- Implement a prompt and appropriate treatment plan
How Often Should Our Seniors Have Wellness Checkups?
Health experts recommend that seniors over 40 should have a wellness checkup every two years.
Most importantly, it’s essential to communicate with your parent’s doctor and health supervisor to know which tests they may need throughout the year. The required tests may vary from person to person and their physical condition.
Otherwise, your parents are required to proceed with the following tests if they are nearly or over 70. The tests include:
At regular intervals:
- Have a falls assessment
- Have checkups for skin cancer
- Have a flu vaccination
- Have a dental examination
- Have an osteoporosis evaluation
- Have a hearing test
- Have an eye test
Every two years
- Have a heart disease assessment
- Have a check for bowel cancer
- Have a blood pressure test
Every three years: Have a blood glucose test.
Every five years: Have cholesterol and lipid tests.
MORE TO EXPLORE: A How-To for Healthy Aging
10 Recommended Routine Wellness Checkups for All Seniors
According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), there are several wellness checkups that every senior – regardless of their gender – should undergo on an annual basis, even if they are healthy.
These assessments are the initial step for detecting any future problems and ensuring their health is at its peak, in addition to promoting awareness for healthy aging and strengthening the relationship with healthcare providers.
Blood Pressure Test & Work
Because hypertension is a “silent killer,” it may accelerate the risk of heart attack or stroke without regular screenings or checkups. Blood pressure should be checked every time your parents visit their healthcare providers. Blood work is also a part of the yearly checkup to rule out any health problems, such as diabetes, thyroid disorder, kidney problem, and early heart issues.
Significant height loss can signify the development of osteoporosis.
In older adults, shedding or gaining a few pounds for no apparent reason can indicate severe health problems. Weight gain possibly means their bodies are retaining more fluid than usual or an indicator of heart, kidney, or liver disease. In contrast, weight loss could mean infection, cancer, and thyroid problems.
All people around 50 are encouraged to undergo a non-invasive diagnosis that evaluates their heart system to detect heart disease.
A decline in vision is a noticeable sign of increasing age, causing most seniors to depend on eye-correction glasses to handle daily activities.
Therefore, routine eye exams can help them care for their eye health and allow eye doctors to come up with follow-ups if needed, especially if your parents have prescription glasses.
Moreover, this practice can decrease the development of cataracts, glaucoma, and new or existing vision problems.
Although hearing loss is a natural part of aging, infection or other medications can sometimes heighten your parents’ risk of losing their hearing ability. An audiogram is a test that uses various pitches and intensity levels to assess your parents’ hearing. The good news is that most age-related hearing disorders can now be managed or even cured with proper medical help.
It’s best to see a dermatologist once a year for a full-body skin check, especially if your parents are frequently exposed to the UV rays or spot any suspicious mole formation on their skin.
Bone Density Scan
About 75 million people are affected by osteoporosis in Japan, the United States, and Europe (according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation).
Osteoporosis is likely a universal health issue for men and women at risk. A bone density scan is recommended for seniors above 65, where their bone mass is thoroughly measured and examined.
Keeping an eye on teeth and gum health is crucial for seniors since certain medications can impact their dental health.
A colonoscopy is a test that helps reveal unusual tissue growth within the colon, preventing the condition from progressing to advanced stages or even avoiding cancerous growth at best.
Men Wellness Checkups
From age 50, male seniors should get a prostate screening to check if there is any abnormal prostate enlargement. Benign or not, early screening and detection can help treat the condition before it progresses.
A blood test called Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) can also be used to diagnose prostate cancer in men. Although this kind of blood test is not compulsory, it’s best to talk with your father’s doctor to learn about the pros and cons of a PSA level test, especially if he is between the ages of 55 and 79.
Women Wellness Checkups
The maintenance of women’s wellness is longer than you might think, even if they have hit menopause. Believe it or not, the risk of cervical cancer is still available around this time. As a result, women are encouraged to have an annual gynecological examination alongside routine physical screening. This additional test helps spot any abnormalities regarding their gynecological wellness. Moreover, these tests should be done more regularly for those with higher cervical or vaginal cancer risks.
Another recommended test for women is the breast exam. Many health experts believe that all women should have a yearly mammogram as soon as they turn 40. Most importantly, your mother should aim for an annual breast screening, at least if your family has a history of breast cancer.
Stay On Top of Your Health At 12 Oaks Senior Living
Our top priority at 12 Oaks Senior Living communities is your parents’ health. The staff at 12 Oaks communities are trained to watch for changes in health or behavior that may necessitate a doctor visit.
We stay connected with family members to inform them of any future issues or needs for our residents. A healthy physical state contributes to a contented state of mind and a high quality of life at 12 Oaks Senior Living communities.
If you have questions about wellness checks for seniors, connect with us and learn more.
At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.
For questions or to book a scheduled personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us.
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