According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 65-year-olds visit the doctor twice as often as 18- to 44-year-olds. This is primarily because health issues that require routine monitoring typically increase with age. However, there is no standard rule that dictates how often your aging loved one should see a doctor.
If you have a loved one with chronic medical conditions that require monitoring, the caregivers at Caring Healthcare can help. We offer a variety of in-home care services including nursing care. We can help your loved one stay on top of their medical issues and know when it is time to see a doctor.
The best way for a senior adult to know how often they should see a doctor is to speak with their primary care physician. They can set up a schedule based on the senior’s medical conditions. In this article, we’ll explore how often the average senior visits the doctor and why they don’t visit often enough, as well as how often seniors should get physicals and medical tests recommended after the age of 65.
How Often Do Seniors Visit the Doctor?
Research shows that the average senior adult visits the doctor approximately 4 times per year but may visit more or less depending on their personal health concerns. For example, some health issues require monitoring once a month, while others only need to check in every year or so.
The frequency of doctor visits may depend on factors such as health insurance and location. However, as a general rule, seniors should see a doctor at least once a year for a check-up including bloodwork and urine samples. This will help the doctor catch issues early and administer treatment before they progress.
Why do some seniors not see a doctor as they should?
Some seniors do not see a doctor as they should. In some cases, it is because they don’t have any health concerns. For others, it is a lack of transportation. If this is the case, a caregiver from Caring Healthcare can provide transportation to and from medical appointments. Some seniors don’t have a good rapport with their medical providers and are not comfortable with them. Finally, sometimes the cost is a barrier- even with medical insurance, sometimes the co-pays and deductibles make it difficult to afford medical care.
How Often Should Seniors Get a Physical?
There’s no rule stating how often a physical is necessary for seniors. However, it’s a good idea to have a full physical exam with bloodwork and other testing at least once a year.
During this visit, your loved one will need to be prepared to discuss their overall health including any concerns they have, medications they are taking, lifestyle habits including smoking/drinking, and any recent illnesses or hospitalizations.
The doctor will typically perform a physical exam including checking vital signs, listening to their heart and lungs, examining their skin, and measuring their height and weight. In some cases, based on the findings of this exam, further testing may be recommended, or medications prescribed.
Common medical tests recommended after age 65
While the specific medical tests depend on the senior’s medical and health history, there are some that are common after the age of 65 including:
- Cancer screenings including colon, breast, and prostate
- Pap smear
- Bone density test
- Cholesterol test
- Eye test
- Dental exam
Encourage Your Loved One to Visit a Doctor Regularly
If your loved one does not see a doctor as they should, it can cause a variety of health complications n the future. Therefore, it’s a good idea to encourage your loved one to schedule an appointment every few months. If transportation is an issue, ask the medical provider if they offer virtual visits or hire a caregiver from Caring Healthcare to transport your loved one.