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Preventative Care for Seniors

Featured Photo from Preventative Care for Seniors

Take a look at preventative steps that seniors should not skip.

Most seniors have been taking health precautions these days. Handwashing, wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing help protect us all from exposure to COVID-19.

Healthcare providers report that many patients are failing to come in for preventative care. This could put them at risk for a host of health conditions, including more serious effects from COVID-19.

However, most healthcare facilities are following extra safety precautions by taking temperature checks, routinely disinfecting common areas, distancing patients from one another, and requiring masks for patients and staff. Some are using telehealth when an in-person visit isn’t necessary.  

Here are preventative steps that seniors should not skip:
Immunizations
Vaccines protect us from harmful diseases throughout life – and older adults are often at a higher risk of contracting these diseases.
Immunizations currently recommended for most older adults include:
Annual flu vaccine
Shingles
Pneumonia
Tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis
Some of us with certain health problems and immunization histories may need additional vaccines. This might include the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) shot, vaccinations for hepatitis A or hepatitis B, and for meningococcal disease.  
Screenings

Some screenings require a physical procedure while others are done with an interview. Consider screenings as empowering information to help you protect your health. 

Your doctor might recommend screenings for:
High Blood Pressure (HBP). Early detection of HBP helps prevent heart disease, stroke, kidney problems, and more.
Cholesterol. A lipid panel is a blood test that measures blood fats and can tell you if you need to take steps to lower your cholesterol. This can protect your heart and even your brain.
Diabetes. A blood test can detect elevated blood sugar, indicating a person has diabetes, or prediabetes –– elevated blood sugar that can progress to diabetes.
Cancer. Several types of screenings can detect cancers at an early, more treatable stage. These include screenings for:
Colorectal cancer. A colonoscopy lets the doctor check for cancers in the large intestine.
Prostate cancer. An exam or blood test is recommended for men over 50.
Breast cancer. Regular mammograms are recommended for women in late middle age until the age when her doctor says it is no longer necessary.
Skin cancer. The doctor examines the patient’s skin to look for changes in moles or other skin anomalies.
Lung cancer. Depending on a person’s smoking history and age, a special X-ray of the lungs may be recommended.
Osteoporosis. A short, painless procedure called a bone density scan determines a person’s bone mass and whether treatment is advised to slow bone loss.
Vision problems. A dilated eye exam can reveal sight-robbing conditions that are often treatable, such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease.

Your healthcare team may recommend additional screenings for hearing loss, memory problems, and depression. They may also test for tuberculosis, HIV, and hepatitis. Oral health screenings are also important.

The Next Step
Your doctor will recommend steps to take to manage any health problems detected. Most likely, the doctor will also recommend lifestyle changes that have a powerful preventative effect: getting enough exercise, eating a healthy diet, controlling stress, and staying mentally active. People with Medicare qualify for an annual wellness visit. Be sure to make your appointment!  

ROB HOFFMAN is the president and owner of Right at Home of Longwood/ Lake Mary, a provider of in-home, nonmedical care for elderly or disabled adults throughout Seminole and Northern Orange Counties. For more information please contact Right at Home of Longwood/Lake Mary at CFLHomeCare.com, 321-295-7849, or email Rob@CFLHomeCare.com.


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