If you haven’t already gotten your flu shot this year, it is time to put it on your “to do” list.  Health care professionals recommend you get the flu shot early so you can avoid symptoms before they appear.  For seniors, vaccines such as the flu shot are particularly important due to greater vulnerability.  Elders and others who have multiple health conditions may have compromised immune functioning, making them more susceptible to the flu and its effects.

Talk to your health care provider about recommended vaccinations, such as the flu shot, shingles vaccine (recommended by the CDC for adults over age 60) and pneumococcal vaccine.  Your health care provider can also review recommended preventative health care screenings.

Why is this issue so important?

About 85% of flu-related deaths are in persons age 65 and older.

More than 31% of older adults reported not getting a flu shot in the past year.

Influenza vaccinations in older adults significantly reduce hospitalizations, costs and deaths.

About 33% of older adults report not receiving the pneumococcal vaccine, though it is associated with increased chances of survival, reduced chance of respiratory failure and decreased length of hospital stay for those with community-acquired pneumonia.

**CDC report, Clinical Preventative Services.

Starting in 2011, Medicare began covering recommended preventative elder health care at 100% (no copays), providing better access for good elder health.  Medicare bases coverage on recommendations by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, and some of these services are only covered/recommended for certain groups (such as over a certain age group or with risk factors).  Medicare coverage also includes a “welcome to Medicare” physical and an annual “wellness visit” to create a plan and review what screenings are needed.

Here are the preventative services covered under Medicare B:

Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening

Alcohol misuse screenings and counseling

Bone mass measurements (bone density)

Cardiovascular disease screenings

Cardiovascular disease behavioral therapy

Colorectal cancer screenings

Depression screenings

Diabetes screenings

Diabetes self-management training

Glaucoma tests

HIV screenings

Mammograms (screening)

Nutrition therapy services

Obesity screenings and counseling

Pap tests and pelvic exams (screening)

Prostate cancer screenings

Sexually transmitted infections screening and counseling

Shots: Flu shots, Hepatitis B shots, Pneumococcal shots

Tobacco use cessation counseling

How can EasyLiving help you with preventative care and elder health care?

  • Transportation to doctors appointments, to get vaccines and to screening tests
  • Grocery shopping and meal preparation for good nutrition (or extra help when you are feeling ill or recuperating)
  • Shopping for supplies, medications and other needs
  • Medication management and reminders
  • Helping you stay active and follow up on exercise plans/physical therapy recommendations
  • Assistance keeping active by maintaining activities and socialization
  • Watching for changes/signs/symptoms of illness or health issues and communicating to your family/responsible party
  • Companionship and support for socialization and good mental health
  • Brain stimulation through games, discussions and other activities to encourage brain health and functioning
  • Home assessments and care plans for in-home safety

Preventative care is important for all ages, but especially for elder health care.  The risks for many conditions increase with age and it becomes more important to stay updated on screenings and monitor for changes.  Work closely with your healthcare professionals and find out what else you can do to maintain good health.  Even individuals with multiple medical conditions can improve functioning and outcomes by adhering to regimes prescribed by their healthcare providers and taking steps such as exercise and a good diet.

Want to talk to someone about ways that EasyLiving can help you or your loved one maintain good elder health?  Contact us at 727-447-5845.