- It is important to regularly visit your doctor, even for basic yearly checkups, once you are over the age of 65
- Some screenings and checkups need to happen once a year, while others only need to be checked every couple of years
- Always check with your doctor about what you should be getting checked to keep on top of your health and wellbeing
But even if you have no known health conditions over the age of 65, you should still have regular checkups to prevent illness or catch issues early on.
Your health is incredibly important as you age and you should be regularly monitoring any issues that arise that could point to a more serious illness or disease.
Below is information on the checkups and screenings you should be getting regularly, including what you may need to get checked depending on your gender.
Once you are over the age of 65, it is unlikely you won’t have to see your General Practitioner (GP) or doctor at times during a year – whether it’s due to a cold, the flu, or something more serious.
Even if you don’t have many reasons to visit a doctor, you should be having one physical checkup a year, just to cover run-of-the-mill issues. This can include your moles and skin being checked, having your blood pressure taken or listening to your chest.
Other things you should be screened for, or have a checkup on at least once a year, include:
- Blood pressure screening, however, this may be more often if you live with diabetes, a heart condition, or other illnesses
- Vaccinations, like the annual flu vaccine, the latest COVID-19 vaccine booster, or a shingles vaccine
- Dentist appointment, to ensure your teeth are in good condition and to uncover any abnormalities in your mouth
- Eye test, which would be beneficial for your eye health, any vision problems, prescription changes, or to check for glaucoma or other eye diseases
- Hearing test, to ensure your current hearing is adequate or find out if you need additional aids to assist
Tests or screening for every two to five years include:
- Bowel cancer: You should be screened for this every two years once you are over the age of 60
- Diabetes: The blood glucose screening should be undertaken every three years and will help determine your risk. However, if you are considered more at risk due to your weight, you may need to get screened for diabetes more regularly
- Cholesterol and heart disease: This screening can be helpful for prevention of long term conditions or heart attacks and should be done every five years, however, if you have a history of high cholesterol, diabetes or other conditions, you may need to get this checked more often
- Bone density test: Osteoporosis can become a growing problem for women from the age of 45 and for men over 50, you should be assessed for risk factors or signs of osteoporosis every one to two years
- Falls assessment: If you are over 65 and your mobility has declined, you should have a falls assessment, when you think you need it, to determine your risk of having a fall in the home or out in the community
Depending on your personal circumstances, you may need to get some of these checks more often.
It is important you discuss this with your regular doctor, who will be able to provide you with a schedule of what you should be getting checked out for.
Extra checkups for women
There are a number of other things women need to be aware of and get checked every so often.
For instance, you should be getting a breast screening every two years between the age of 50 and 74. One mammogram screening every two years is free for a woman over the age of 50.
Similarly, as you get older you should continue to have cervical screening. You should have a screening two years after your last Pap smear (which has been replaced by cervical screening) and then a cervical screening every five years after that.
Extra checkups for men
Men have a number of health checks they should be keeping up to date with to uncover any risk factors as well as catch an illness early.
Prostate cancer affects a lot of older men over the age of 50, so you should be getting checked for this every two years.
Last minute checks
If you are in the doctor’s room getting something else checked out, there are a couple things you can also ask your GP to do on the spot.
Your doctor should be able to check:
- Your body mass index (BMI) to see whether it is healthy or something to work on
- Your waist measurement
- Blood pressure
- A quick urine test
- Mental health assessment
Your doctor should be able to squeeze some of these extra checks in while you are visiting them.
It can be ideal to have a regular doctor and allied health professionals to go to that understand your medical history. You can learn more about the benefits of a regular doctor, in our article, ‘Can I keep my regular doctor when I move into aged care?‘
*The above information should not be taken as medical advice and is general in nature. You should discuss with a medical professional for specific information and advice for your situation.
How do you manage your regular checkups over the year? Let the team at Talking Aged Care know and subscribe to the FREE weekly newsletter for more news, information and updates!