It’s often repeated, but it’s true – prevention is better than cure. Even if your parent is healthy, a regular wellness checkup is essential to ensure that their good health is maintained. Here, we break down the benefits of regular checkups, how often adults should have one, and how to prepare for them.
How Often Should Healthy Adults Get Checkups?
It is recommended that adults above the age of 50 visit their doctor for a checkup at least once a year – and this is if they are healthy. If your parent has a chronic disease such as diabetes, they should be seeing a doctor more frequently, and your doctor can better advise you on this.
The Benefits of Regular Checkups
Some key benefits of regular wellness checkups include:
- Early treatment of health conditions, which increases the likelihood of good outcomes.
- Being able to detect potentially life-threatening health issues early and before they pose problems
- Regular monitoring of existing health issues
- Staying up to date on vaccinations
- Keeping up to date on healthcare developments so that your parent can learn new ways to live a healthier and longer life
What Should a Wellness Checkup Include?
During a checkup, your parent’s doctor should review their existing health history, assess their current health status and schedule screening tests where necessary. The typical checkup should include a review of your parent’s:
- Medical history
- Family medical history
- Medication list and allergies
- Vaccination and screening test history
During a physical checkup, your parent’s doctor will ask your parent questions based on information in their records. They will share the findings from their screenings and assessments and might even provide lifestyle advice to optimize your parent’s health, which can include anything from suggesting balance exercises to stress management tips. Take this opportunity to ask the doctor any questions that you may have.
Before arriving at the doctor’s, ensure that your parent’s medication list is up-to-date, and includes supplements, over-the-counter medication, vitamins or herbal medications. If your parent is seeing a new doctor, make a record of any medical information you have and bring it along. This includes vaccination histories, old records, insurance cards and a list of allergies. If you are returning to a regular doctor, sit down with your parent and review any changes that you might need to bring up. It is also a good idea to ensure that your parent’s living will is updated. Finally, you should also call the doctor’s office ahead if your parent has any special needs, such as a wheelchair or interpreter.
Open and honest communication is essential in a wellness checkup. Don’t be afraid to ask the doctor to clarify anything that you’re not sure of. They may need to simplify certain terms, or to provide more information on certain matters. Repeating what the doctor has said is also a good way for you both to ensure that everyone is clear on the information that has been exchanged. If you or your parent has any issues with your doctor’s recommendations, discuss these calmy and comprehensively. If your parent needs privacy, always step out so that they can be comfortable speaking to the doctor alone.