Resolve To Keep Yourself “Tuned Up” as You Age—Beginning Now!
If you have a car, you know how important it is to maintain it and follow the recommended service schedule. Keeping everything running well—and finding problems early—can help the car last longer.
Why not commit to doing the same for your body? Our bodies are amazing machines, but they are subject to “wear and tear” too. As we keep putting on mileage, preventive screenings and annual checkups can help us avoid the human equivalent of the “check engine” light coming on!
Yes, checkups, screenings and exams can be tedious and time-consuming. But they frequently catch warning signs and potential problems. “People who see their doctor regularly and have routine screenings are more likely to receive an early diagnosis if they develop a medical condition, and this contributes to better outcomes and a longer lifespan,” say experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Maryland.
Regular screening is especially important for older adults with a family history of a specific disease or condition, such as cancer or heart disease.
It’s January, and what better way to start the year than to commit to the goal of healthy aging? Here are five important dates that should be on the calendar for older adults:
- An annual physical exam. All older adults should get annual physical exams, even if they feel healthy. The provider will ask about your diet and exercise, as well as lifestyle factors that may affect your overall well-being. A thorough exam should include a mental health screening. Other essential elements of annual exams include:
- Monitoring your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure.
- Reviewing your current prescriptions and any supplements you take.
- Discussing any risk factors you may have.
- Cancer screenings. Some regular screenings are advised for all adults, including mammograms for women and colon cancer screenings. Depending on your lifestyle factors, family history, and your own medical history, your provider may also recommend screenings for lung cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, and others.
- Dental checkups. Aging brings challenges to dental health. For example, dry mouth is a common concern among older adults who take numerous medications, and it increases the risk of cavities. People with chronic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may be more likely to develop gum disease. Older adults should get their pearly whites checked and cleaned at least once a year.
- Vision exams. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), “In the years after you turn 60, a number of eye diseases may develop that can change your vision permanently.” The AOA also notes that these diseases may have no symptoms and may advance before you realize you have a problem. An annual eye exam with an ophthalmologist will help detect disorders such as age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and more.
- Hearing tests. “Increasing age is the most important risk factor for hearing loss,” according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Lifestyle and genetics also factor into one’s risk for hearing problems. The AAFP notes, “Hearing loss can affect social functioning and quality of life.” It can lead to isolation and loneliness, affecting one’s mental health. And hearing loss has been associated with an increased risk of falls and cognitive decline. After age 50, get your hearing tested every three years or as soon as you suspect a problem.
How Right at Home Can Help
Right at Home’s professional in-home caregivers provide services that support senior clients’ physical and emotional health. Our trained and screened caregivers can drive clients to and from appointments with doctors and other providers and help clients follow their doctors’ diet, exercise and medication recommendations. Use our location finder to contact your local Right at Home and ask for a FREE in-home consultation.