PREVENTIVE HEALTHCARE FOR OLDER ADULTS


What is preventive healthcare? Preventive healthcare is any medical treatment or test that you do to prevent a health problem. Some of the most important preventive steps you can take are listed below.

  • Lead a healthy lifestyle - People who exercise often, eat right, maintain a healthy weight, limit alcohol, and avoid smoking are less likely to develop all sorts of health problems than people who do not have these habits.
  • Get all the right vaccines – Vaccines are injections that help protect you from certain diseases. They help prevent infections such as the flu and pneumonia .e.g. Pneumonia vaccines, flu vaccines,tetanus-diphtheria booster or Tdap, a newer vaccine.
  • Get screened when screening might help – Screening refers to any test that looks for early signs of a disease before the disease has started causing symptoms or problems. The most well-known screening tests are the ones that check for cancer.

All people age 65 and older should ask their doctor which forms of cancer screening might be appropriate for them. As you get older, some screening tests might no longer be needed. If your doctor suggests that you no longer

need a screening test, such as a Pap test, mammogram, or colon cancer test, this does not mean that he or she thinks you are “too old to care about.” Rather, since many cancers take a long time to develop, screening as you get older might not be helpful and can even be harmful. That’s

because screening can lead to unnecessary treatment for findings that will never cause problems for you.

All people age 65 and older should get screened for vision loss every 1 to 2 years. Some forms of vision loss can be slowed or stopped with the right treatment.

Women age 65 and older should get screened for osteoporosis (a bone thinning disorder). 

Men should get screened for a condition called “abdominal aortic aneurysm” once between the ages of 65 and 75 if they have ever smoked or have a close relative who died from or needed surgery for an abdominal aneurysm. This condition is a swelling of the main blood vessel that feeds the lower half of the body.

  • See your doctor or nurse regularly –to monitor your general health with routine tests, to check your vital statistics, for review of the medicines you are taking, to discuss any new health issues you may be having.
  • Take medicines that can prevent problems – Some people need to take medicines to keep from having heart attacks, strokes, or other problems. For example, many people age 65 and older take aspirin to help prevent heart attacks and strokes. Many women in this age group also take calcium and vitamin D to reduce the risk of breaking a bone or falling.

Why is my age important? As people get older, the way their body responds to medical problems changes. For instance, people become less able to fight infections. As a result, it is more important for them to get certain vaccines. The way people respond to medicines can also change as they get older. That’s because the liver and kidneys, which break down medicines, do not work as well as they once did.

 Certain diseases also become more common as people age. Most forms of cancer and heart disease, for example, develop more often in older people than they do in younger people.

What else can I do to stay as healthy as possible? You should:

  • Take measures to prevent falling – Make sure that all walkways in your home are well-lit, and clear of clutter, electrical cords, and loose rugs. Tuck electric cords out of the way and secure them to the wall or floor. Check that your loose rugs have nonskid backing, so they won't slip.
  • Try to stay active, because people who do some form of exercise are less likely to fall than people who don't.
  • Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes.
  • Take a vitamin D supplement every day.
  • Review the medicines you take with your doctor. Some medicines, such as sleeping pills, can increase your risk of falling and can be unsafe to use as you get older.
  • Keep an up-to-date medicine list – Always bring your medicine list with you when you see the doctor or nurse.
  • Talk to your doctor or nurse if you have trouble controlling your

bladder or bowels – Not being able to control your bladder or bowels is called being “incontinent.” If you have this problem, don't be embarrassed to bring it up at the doctor's office. Many treatments are available.

  • Ask your doctor if it is still safe to drive – As people get older, they sometimes have vision and hearing loss, and they react more slowly to things. These changes can increase the risk of car accidents.
  • Get help with bills or meals if you need it – If you cannot afford to pay all your bills or have trouble making meals for yourself, find out about services in your area that can help.
  • Tell your doctor if you are being hurt, neglected, or cheated —

If one of your family members or someone who is supposed to take care of you is mistreating you, stealing money, or taking advantage of you in any way, tell your doctor. He or she can get you the help you need .

Stay socially connected – Social connection is important to good health. Let your doctor or nurse know if you spend almost all your time alone. He or she can help you find ways to meet new people and become involved in new activities.