Thanks to technology and modern health care, seniors are living longer and enjoying a "second act" after retirement. To maximize this time, take a proactive approach to your health care.
"Preventive health care is not one size fits all," explains Dr. Timothy Strouse, a Sharp Rees-Stealy internal medicine physician. "It is very personal, based on your age, health status, family history and gender. Men and women have different needs, and it is important to review these needs annually with your primary care doctor."
Personalizing your preventive care
Some conditions — such as breast cancer and osteoporosis — are more common in women than in men.
Women: talk to your doctor every 12 months about whether you need a mammogram. If you are over 65, your doctor may recommend a bone density scan that can identify and prevent osteoporosis.
Men: it's important to talk about prostate cancer screening with your doctor to determine the screening timeline that is right for you. Your doctor may also suggest an ultrasound to screen for abdominal aortic aneurysm if you are age 65 to 75 and have a history of smoking.
Here are a few more recommendations for preventive care as you age:
Stay up-to-date on your vaccines:
- Influenza vaccine: annually in the fall
- Pneumococcal vaccine: once after age 65
- Shingles vaccine: once after age 50
- Tetanus vaccine: once every 10 years
Preventive health screenings:
- Blood pressure
- Colorectal cancer
- Diabetes — if your blood pressure is over 135/80
- Fall risk assessment
Take cover: understanding your insurance options
In addition to reviewing your preventive care needs, if you are eligible for Medicare (age 65 or older), open enrollment is the time of year to review your health insurance plan coverage and make changes. This year, the first day you can enroll in a 2016 plan begins Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7.