As adults, the consensus is that we should see our primary care physician once a year for a physical exam. As we get older, however, medical needs change and require more attention, and this annual exam may not be enough to stay proactively healthy. After all, “the goal for medicine should be prevention and wellness [instead of] chasing medical problems after they come up,” says Amber Tully, M.D., a family medicine physician at Cleveland Clinic.
With all the different types of senior care and specialists out there, it can be confusing and overwhelming to know which ones you should see regularly. Brickmont Assisted Living, with senior living communities throughout the Atlanta area, is sharing how to know which specialists you should see to ensure a proactive and healthy lifestyle.
Please note that the following are recommendations and should not be perceived as medical advice. It’s important to speak with your primary care physician to determine the appropriate level of care and the best course of action for your health and circumstances.
Specialists you should Consider Seeing After age 60
The older population is more at risk for developing certain skin-related disorders; in fact, almost 50 percent of adults over 65 develop skin cancer. Not only is this a concern, but older adults are also more at risk for developing dry skin, bruising, growths, shingles, and more.
These skin problems can range from simply irritating and painful to potentially severe, so it’s best to regularly see your dermatologist. It’s generally recommended to visit the dermatologist once a year, but at-risk adults may need to go more frequently. Talk with your dermatologist about a schedule that is right for you.
Heart problems are another area of concern as adults over 65 are more likely to have heart attacks, strokes, or heart disease. A cardiologist can not only treat and manage any heart disease but can also carry out tests and provide information on how to prevent these things from happening.
You should consider seeing a cardiologist if:
- You have a family history of heart disease
- You have high blood pressure or high cholesterol
- You have a history of smoking
- You are experiencing chest pain
Whether it’s a lack of insurance or concern over a more pressing health issue, oral health is often something that can be neglected by adults. However, dental health is still important, and potentially even more critical, as you age. Certain medications can result in a dry mouth, and conditions like arthritis or Parkinson’s may make it difficult for someone to brush their teeth.
Not only can poor dental hygiene result in cavities and gum disease, but there is also evidence that oral health is connected to heart health, so it’s important not to let dental health fall to the wayside. Most insurances allow for two dental visits per year, but there are other options available for those without insurance, including free dental school clinics.
Orthopedic doctors specialize in preventing and treating conditions of the bones, joints, and muscles. Older adults are at a higher risk of developing issues with these areas, including osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, fractures, and dislocations. If you’re experiencing chronic joint or muscle pain, it can be a good idea to see an orthopedic specialist on a regular basis. They may recommend treatment options to reduce pain and increase range of motion.
Other Specialists To Consider
The above suggestions are merely some guidelines to consider when determining the best senior care specialists for you. Since everyone has a different health history, there are specialists that some should see, and others shouldn’t. Here are some additional specialists to consider based on your personal health history:
- If you have ever had cancer, visit an oncologist
- If you have diabetes, visit an endocrinologist
- If you have glaucoma or cataracts, visit an optometrist
- If you have COPD or lung disease, visit a pulmonologist
Navigating senior healthcare can seem overwhelming, but finding what specialists are right for you and seeing them regularly can help you be proactive about your health—preventing disease and illness, increasing longevity, and staying healthy and happy!
Brickmont Assisted Living, with senior living communities throughout the Atlanta, Georgia, area, including Roswell, John’s Creek, and beyond, encourages a healthy and informed lifestyle. We’ve created a variety of free resources to help you learn more about senior health, navigate care options, and discover our communities!