There’s no rule on how often older adults should see their healthcare providers, but most should have at least one medical checkup a year, even if they seem perfectly well. During annual wellness visits, your loved one's provider can evaluate for disease risk, review medications, check on health concerns and chronic condition management, talk about lifestyle topics, and go over recommended tests.
But why should my loved one have an annual checkup, really?
A provider can do routine tests that we can't access at home, such as bloodwork, EKG, and other screenings. These provide important insights into your loved one's health status.
Age increases the risk of health problems and many conditions don't have symptoms until they're really bad. A provider is more likely to find a health problem than we can on our own.
Problems and risk factors can be found that increase the likelihood of getting sick in the future and spark a discussion on what can be done about it.
It's the perfect opportunity to go over your loved one's medications, which is essential in maintaining their health. The healthcare provider needs to know about all of their medications, including prescription and nonprescription drugs, dietary supplements, and herbals. That way, the provider has the most up-to-date list and can identify any potential interactions, any that are possibly causing health problems, and confirm that medications are effectively managing chronic illnesses.
It casts a light on habits that need improvement - diet, exercise, sleep, stress - and your loved one gets sound, personalized advice directly from a medical professional.
To stay on top of recommended vaccinations and get information on new developments.
To get the most up-to-date evidence and support for chronic condition management.
To save money. It's much cheaper to prevent diseases than to treat them.
Only a provider can refer your loved one for further tests or connect them to the right specialists, and they are key in coordinating your loved one's total care.
Finally, a provider can review things with you as a caregiver and offer you support in helping your loved one with day-to-day functions to remain independent and well.