Are you confused over how often you should be urging your mom and dad to go for medical tests and screenings? You’re not alone.
It can be tough to keep track of when an eye exam is due, how often colonoscopies are necessary, and how many years to wait between cholesterol screenings.
Here’s a guide to how often these exams and screenings are needed.
Blood Pressure Checks
It’s important that your parents have their blood pressure checked each year at a doctor’s office. They can use machines in pharmacies, but their doctor should also do a yearly check. If they’re diagnosed with high blood pressure, they may need to start checking their blood pressure at home, too.
Bone Density Tests
A bone density screening is important to rule out osteoporosis. The earlier thinning bones are detected, the earlier treatment begins. It can help prevent a serious bone fracture.
It’s recommended that bone density tests start when you turn 65. After the first, the doctor will discuss how often your parents should return for routine screenings.
Each year, your parents should see their doctor to have any moles and skin checked for signs of skin cancer. Your mom should have a mammogram as instructed by her doctor and breast exam each year. She may be fine going every five years for the mammogram, but it depends on her family history.
Your dad should have his prostate checked. Both parents need to talk about a colonoscopy or, at the very least, have a fecal blood test each year to look for signs of colorectal cancer. If either of your parents smoke, a lung x-ray may also be recommended.
A blood panel to check cholesterol counts should be completed every few years. Most adults should have it done every four to six years, but after the age of 40, doctors may recommend it more often. At the same time, the doctor may use that blood sample to check liver and kidney function and see if blood sugar levels are okay.
Yearly eye exams are encouraged. As your parent’s age, they’ll need to be checked for common eye diseases older adults face. Glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy are among them.
Are you having a hard time making sure your parents get to their appointments? If they can’t drive, transportation services from an elder care agency are helpful. Arrange to have caregivers provide transportation on appointment days. You can also have elder care aides help out with housekeeping, laundry, and other daily activities of living.