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How Often Do Seniors Need Preventative Care Checkups?

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Growing older doesn't mean it’s time to slow down. In fact, many seniors are speeding up and revising what it means to be a retiree. Preventative care works helps keep seniors active and avoid health problems: here’s what you need to know about how often those appointments need to happen.

As we age, we become more prone to chronic disorders such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. What older adults don’t realize is that meeting with a specialist like an ENT or optometrist can detect symptoms of significant health problems. A simple eye exam can reveal carotid artery blockages, hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes. In many cases, problems detected early on responded better to treatment, which is why regular checkups and screenings are more for seniors. Proactively monitoring your health is the best way to preserve a happier independent lifestyle.

Regular meetings with a specialist or your primary care physician is a low-stress way to maintain overall wellness in seniors. But how often should they go? Here are three appointments that you should never forget to make and keep.

Physicals

Surprisingly, only 62% of Americans get physicals. Part of this is due to the fact that some older adults are unsure how often they need a physical examination. For seniors, if your over 65 and in good health, you should go once a year at minimum. However, it is important realize just as everyone has different medical needs, the ideal physical schedule varies senior to senior. If you’ve had cancer, your physician might tell you to come in more often. Health insurance coverage also plays a factor in how often you should be booking a physical. Medicare Part B does not cover routine preventative physical examinations, but it does cover an Annual Wellness Visit every 12 months. Check with your doctor to see if they accept Medicare Part B, and payment options for physical exams. What makes regular physicals so valuable to seniors is that they have the ability to track key health measurements over time. Having a baseline can tell you what areas you need to be on top of, and if what you’re doing is effective.

Vision

Changes in vision are nearly unavoidable with age. What’s more alarming is that many eye diseases have no early symptoms. Conditions like glaucoma and cataracts can be silent and progress extremely quickly. After the age of 60, seniors are more susceptible to eye diseases that can leave permanent vision damage. The American Optometric Association recommends annual eye examinations for everyone over age 60. An optometrist, as we've mentioned before, can detect health problems affecting other parts of the body. Regular visits can improve the chances of maintaining good eye health in older adults.

Hearing

Hearing loss can be a sudden or gradual process. However, seniors are more at risk. In fact, one in three older adults between the ages of 65 and 74 experience hearing loss. This is because, as we age, the structure of the inner ear changes. Unfortunately, many seniors wait until their hearing loss dramatically affects their lives before taking action. For example, one of the most common causes of injury in seniors is falling. Hearing disorders can disrupt the balance in the inner ear, making it more likely that seniors will suffer a fall. The National Campaign for Better Hearing encourages everyone to get a baseline hearing test at 60 years of age and be retested annually.

Aging can do a number our bodies, which is why they need more attention. Committing to annual physicals and screening for both ears and eye is essential for a senior's. One test could make a huge difference. Proactive approaches, like preventative care, helps seniors live a long fruitful life.

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