Ageism in Medicine: The Elderly Need Preventive Care Too

ageism elderly preventative carePreventive care is used to find and maintain a good personal health standard. Unfortunately, when it comes to seniors, the medical community does less for prevention, intervention and aggressive treatment. Ageism is a real problem.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

During a routine preventive visit, your doctor will look at a number of factors to determine what screenings and lab work you need. These factors include: age, gender, health history and any current symptoms you are experiencing. The elderly track the same markers. Still, it is common for the elderly NOT to receive proper preventive care, including important health screenings.

According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2003, nine of every 10 adults over the age of 65 did not receive the appropriate screenings. Preventive care has many benefits. Preventing disease and illness reduces overall healthcare costs. Healthy, working adults are more productive and attend work more consistently. Most important, preventive care enables seniors to remain independent longer. This promotes not only physical health, but also mental and emotional health.

Five Important Screening Tests

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force lists five different screenings as part of their recommendations for older adults:

  • Breast cancer screening every other year for women aged 40 years or older
  • Colorectal cancer screening for adults aged 50 to 75
  • Type 2 Diabetes screening for adults aged 40 to 70 who are also overweight
  • Lipid disorder screening for adults aged 40 to 75
  • Routine Osteoporosis screening for women aged 65 and older. Women have an increased risk of fracture should begin screening earlier.

Steps to Remedy the Situation

In order to increase the number of elderly receiving the proper preventive care, the government has stepped in. Plans have been implemented on a local, state, and national level. These include reducing out-of-pocket costs, promoting annual wellness visits, client reminders for screenings and other tests. They have also distributed videos and brochures to raise awareness about available services, provided transportation to medical facilities. They have also begun to allow screening to take place outside of the traditional facility such as in the patient’s home, church or other facility.

If you’re interested in helping a senior loved one maintain health and independence, try a home health care assistant may be able to provide the support you need. At David York Agency, our healthcare professionals can help to ensure that your loved one is receiving the proper preventive care.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need.

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