This year, National Women’s Check-Up Day is the day after Mother’s Day! Whether it’s you, your daughter, or your mother, encourage the women around you to check in with their doctors about their health. Even if you live a healthy lifestyle and have no health conditions to worry about, visiting your physician is still a smart preventive measure.
Still not convinced? Read on to find out.
If you’re hesitating because of money, worry less with these tips.
It’s true, visiting the doctor costs money. But there are ways around this!
1. If you’ve been covered by Medicare Part B for longer than 12 months, in most cases, you qualify for a yearly “Wellness” visit free of charge. The newly insured can also enjoy a “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit.
2. Other women can find accessible, affordable, or even free healthcare through community health centers located across the nation.
3. Treatment can be expensive too! Consider buying medications from sources outside the U.S. Services like Canada Pharmacy Delivery can ship your prescription medications from licensed pharmacies abroad.
On the issue of finances, the best way to reduce medical costs — not to mention the emotional and physical costs of illness — is to prevent problems in the first place. That’s why it’s so important to invest in preventive health.
Health-care Needs of Older Women
From menopause hot flashes to empty nest syndrome, your senior years may come with unique challenges. If you are a mother, you may have put others’ health ahead of yours for many years, but it’s never too late to start caring for yourself.
Here are some good reasons to check in with your doctor after Mother’s Day:
Ask questions about menopause.
Menopause can mean odd physical changes for many women. While you may be happy that you longer have to deal with a monthly period, menopause may involve unpleasant symptoms like hot flashes, difficulty sleeping, and reduced libido. If you’re struggling with these symptoms, or if you’re wondering why you haven’t (or have!) reached menopause because of your age, talk to your doctor.
Get screened for cancers.
The U.S. Office on Women’s Health recommends women ages 50 to 74 to get regular, yearly screenings for breast cancer, even if they are considered low-risk. Women over the age of 40 are encouraged to talk to their doctor about their risk and whether to begin screening.
Women of certain ages are also recommended to get regular Pap and HPV tests to reduce the risk of cervical cancer. However, women over age 65 may ask their doctor whether they can stop having Pap tests.
If you have a family history of other cancers, ask your doctor about appropriate preventive measures for these as well.
Discuss cognitive concerns.
Being forgetful in older age can be alarming. Your annual check-up is a good time to ask your doctor if your forgetfulness is normal for your age. While some adults have mild cognitive impairment (MCI), most of them can still care for themselves independently and it’s not necessarily an indication of dementia.
Be aware that thinking problems can be due to a variety of things, such as infections, mental health, or even medication side effects.
Don’t forget about mental health.
Being an older woman, mother, or recently-retired adult, in general, can be challenging. You may struggle with the loneliness of empty nest syndrome, or miss the rush of an exciting career. Whatever it is that stresses you out, remember that your feelings are valid.
Talk to your doctor about mental health. Don’t wait for it to get worse. You don’t necessarily need a diagnosed disorder to see a mental health professional and benefit from it. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize mental preventive healthcare is just as important as physical preventive healthcare.
Ask about advance care planning.
If you are approaching an older age, you may also want to discuss advance care planning. This is when patients plan for how they want to be cared for should they become incapacitated (unable to speak for themselves). Advance care planning includes your wishes regarding resuscitation. Taking care of these issues early will allow you maximum control over your care later in life.
Invest in Tomorrow
Sometimes, medical issues have no symptoms. They may take us a surprise, causing sudden, overwhelming stress. The best way to prevent this from happening to be up to date on your screenings, vaccinations, and wellness visits. So see a doctor this National Women’s Check-Up Day and invest in a future that has you enjoying the company of your children and grandchildren for many years to come.