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Preventative Care for Seniors

Oct 30, 2017 by Comfort Keepers of Riverside and Corona

As we get older, the changes our bodies make can put us in more vulnerable situations for injuries and illnesses. Many seniors have to manage multiple medications, need mobility assistance, have been hospitalized – the list goes on.

It turns out that the best way to “treat” these conditions is to actually prevent them from beginning in the first place. This is where preventative care comes into play. Here’s the scoop:

What is Preventative Care?

It is exactly as it sounds: care that helps to prevent serious illnesses or conditions before they even begin.

For example, when you go to the doctor for your annual check-up, they look for any signs or symptoms of conditions that may arise if you don’t act now to prevent them. A common example might be: “Given your symptoms, you are prediabetic; you have to change your diet and exercise more before it turns into diabetes.”

This is because stopping the problem in its tracks and lowering your risk of the disease/injury is actually more beneficial and effective than letting the illness develop and attempting to treat it. Why bother with that when it can often times be prevented altogether?

Why Do Seniors Especially Need Preventative Care?

As we get older, our immune system becomes weaker, making us more susceptible to illnesses and injuries we wouldn’t have had to worry about before.

Additionally, polypharmacy – having to take multiple medications for multiple different illnesses/conditions – can be quite dangerous for seniors. Confusion and negativity towards taking that many pills leads to poor medication management, which will either leave the senior underdosed or overdosed. Both states can make the patient even sicker.

Therefore, preventing the needs for medications is the safest and smartest form of “treatment.”

This also applies for injuries. A common reason why seniors end up in the emergency room is from falling. Falling can lead to serious injuries, sometimes even fatal. Strength training and a healthy diet can reinforce your bones and mobility, thus decreasing your risk of falling.

Another factor most people don’t realize in all of this is that preventing diseases, the need for medications, and hospitalizations will actually save them money! Preventative care is good on both your health and your wallet.

Types of Preventative Care

Now that we know what preventative care is and why it’s especially important for seniors, here are the most common forms of it:

  • Vaccines. Keeping up-to-date with your vaccinations will help prevent any illnesses that can knock you off your feet quicker than you’d realize. Pneumonia vaccines, such as PCV13 and PPSV, are important for seniors, as pneumonia risk is higher in this population. Additionally, just like for everyone else, the annual influenza vaccine (or flu shot) is a great idea, too.
  • Screenings. Most of these screenings are for types of cancer, ranging from breast to colorectal, but other tests are just as important: diabetes, cholesterol levels, osteoporosis, and so forth. Nipping any of these conditions in the bud is in your best interest.
  • Healthy lifestyle. Your doctor isn’t just full of hot air when they suggest you eat healthier, exercise more, and stop smoking. These are preventative measures that can go a long way. These changes can help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, strengthen your muscles and bones, and overall make you more prepared for living life in your older years.

For more information on preventative care, talk to your physician.

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