Health screenings for seniors are vital to the support of healthy aging in those aged 65 years and older. Whether you are reading this for yourself, or you are a loved one or caretaker of a senior this blog shares educational insight on proactive steps to take for maintaining health.
Health screenings for seniors are especially valuable prevention practice and should be a consistent part of a wellness regimen.
Unfortunately, with age often comes health issues. To help ensure that you and your loved ones are supporting healthy aging and getting proper screenings to catch issues before they become serious, we have put together details on four health screenings for seniors you need to know.
- Safety and Functional Ability Screen
In addition to evaluating the safety of the individual, this screening might qualify a senior for assistance. Based on the findings, a doctor will discuss whether care can be provided at home or if it is best to consider moving into an assisted living home or community. A safety and functional ability screening covers the following areas:
- Evaluates risk of falls
- More than 1 in 4 seniors fall each year, and once a fall occurs the chance of falling again doubles, according to the CDC.
- Checks for signs of elder mistreatment
- Checks for signs functional impairment – vision, hearing, mobility
- Assesses overall home safety
- Mental Health Screening
Age is the greatest risk factor for developing dementia; its incidence and prevalence increase dramatically in persons older than 65 years. Specifically, AD affects approximately 25% to 30% of individuals older than 65 years and doubles in incidence for every 5 years thereafter. A mental health screening will include:
- Assess for cognitive impairment
- If detected, a doctor can take the next step of identifying the cause of impairment (for example, medication side effects, metabolic and/or endocrine imbalance, substance use, sleep disorder, delirium, depression or anxiety, or Alzheimer’s or a related dementia).
- Evaluate for signs of depression
- Check for alcohol or drug misuse
- Physical Health Screening
The physical health of seniors is important as aging occurs, seniors may not get the physical exercise they once did or now need. This screening checks for signs the body is functioning well and assess the level of physical exercise necessary for continued health. It includes:
- Tests to identify issues such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol
- A BMI evaluation for obesity
- Obesity increases the risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and some types of cancer.
- Blood work for abnormal blood glucose and type 2 diabetes
- Examination for abdominal and aortic aneurysm
- Testing for osteoporosis
- Vision and hearing exams
- Cancer Screening
John Hopkins Medical Center states that among people over the age of 65 years, there is an 11-fold increased incidence of developing cancer as compared to younger individuals. Cancer screens include:
- Mammograms for early detection for breast cancer
- Exams and tests for lung cancer
- Exams for colon and prostate cancer
- Pelvic exams and pap smears for cervical cancer
Breast, prostate, lung, and bowel cancers are the most common in seniors. If you have family members that were previously diagnosed with cancer, it is important to let your doctor know and to potentially order screening for other types of cancers.
In addition to health screenings for seniors, it is important to stay up to date on vaccinations, and any prescribed medications needed to support overall health.
Health screenings for seniors should be a regular part of the yearly wellness checks for those 65 and older. If an issue is detected, your doctor will recommend the best treatment protocol to minimize the impact on your overall health.
When was the last time you had a screening done? Let this be your reminder to call your doctor today to schedule an appointment.