Why Seniors Need to See Their Doctor Regularly
Around 95% of seniors have at least one chronic condition, and 80% have two or more. Many chronic conditions can be managed or even resolved, but the key is to catch problems early and begin treating and monitoring them before they advance. This requires regular doctor visits.
One of the most important things you can do for your senior loved ones is to make sure they see their doctors regularly and get a clear picture of their overall health. Here’s why these checkups are so vital.
Stopping Problems Before They Start
As people get older, they tend to brush off or ignore aches and pains or mild changes to their body or health, but sometimes these issues can be indicative of something more than just old age. A doctor who sees them regularly will get a holistic picture of their health and can often spot potential issues early, based on seemingly unimportant complaints, and intervene before they become major problems.
Catching Diseases Early
Diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart problems can get worse quickly if they’re not caught early through regular checkups. An early diagnosis and fast treatment can have a significant impact on health outcomes.
Keeping Track of Medicines
Many seniors take a variety of different medicines, and their regular doctor can check to make sure these medicines are working well individually and together. They can resolve unwanted side effects and ensure ongoing effectiveness by changing medications or adjusting the doses, so that the patient sees the optimal effects.
Helping Seniors Stay Mobile and Independent
Most seniors want to retain their independence and take care of themselves for as long as possible, but mobility issues can quickly derail those plans. However, a doctor who sees them on a regular basis will notice when they aren’t moving around as well as they should be and make recommendations to improve their mobility. They might suggest certain exercises to improve strength and endurance or changes in diet. They can also send seniors to specialists like physical therapists if needed.
Building a Complete and Current Health Record
Every time a senior sees their doctor, it’s added to their health records. These records are vital for doctors to understand their patients’ health over time and make the best choices for treatments. For example, if a senior is admitted to the hospital, the treating physician can access their medical records to see exactly what conditions they have, the medications they’re currently taking, and any concerns that their primary care doctor has had — which is extremely helpful for diagnosing and correctly treating their current issues.
Supporting Mental Health
Doctor visits are also a chance to check on a senior’s mental health. Conditions like depression or dementia are, unfortunately, much more common as we age, and they are important to catch and treat early. Mental health is a big part of overall health, and a regular doctor can help make sure it’s taken care of.
Creating Trust with Doctors
Seeing a doctor regularly helps build a trusting relationship where seniors feel more comfortable talking about their health problems. For caregivers and family members, this trust is also helpful. It means you have someone to ask for advice and help when you have concerns about your loved one’s health and well-being.
What to Do When Your Senior Loved One Refuses to Go to the Doctor
Sometimes, older adults may be resistant toward going to the doctor if they don’t feel sick — and sometimes, even when they do. But it’s important to make sure your senior loved ones are taking care of their health on a regular basis. And it’s not just about visits to their primary care doctor — seeing the dentist and eye doctor frequently is vital for seniors as well.
But what do you do when your senior loved one refuses to go to the doctor? First, remember to show empathy. There’s likely a reason they are resistant. It may be that they’re afraid of what the doctor might find, or they are experiencing anxiety around medical exams and treatments. Openly listening and showing empathy can help you get to the root cause of their refusal.
In addition, you can turn it into a fun outing. Make a day of it and get brunch together before the appointment, then visit a museum or go see a movie afterwards. If they’re still hesitant, express your worries about their health and explain that you just want reassurance that they’re in good shape.
To Sum It Up
Regular doctor visits are key to keeping seniors healthy. An established, trustworthy doctor can help find and treat problems early, manage medications, keep seniors moving, and care for their mental health. By ensuring that your senior loved one sees their doctors regularly, you’re helping them maintain the best quality of life possible.
And if your loved one needs a little more support to manage their health, wellness, and daily life, Right Hand Senior Care is here to help. We offer affordable, compassionate care designed around your family’s needs. For more information on our services or to set up a care plan, contact us today.
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