Friday, September 14, 2018

Aging and Medicare: The Wonders of the Preventative Healthcare Exam

I had an aunt that did not tell the doctor about her problems. Her thinking was if the doctor did not ask about things, then it must not be important. She depended on a mind reader to help her. She died of a heart attack at the age of 65.

The State of Denial is not a
healthy state to live in!
It turns out that in her case it would have been a wonderful thing if there were a list of questions that might have inspired her to open up a little.

But now, because of  Obama Care, a yearly preventative health care screening is available free. That visit to the clinic is all about a professional asking the right questions.

The simple fact that those of us on Medicare are given the access to a yearly preventive healthcare check-up is a miracle in itself. It took me several years to figure out how wonderful that is. As it turned out it is was less than I thought but more than I needed, if that makes sense. (Medicare provided preventive healthcare exam guidelines listed here.)

In the sense that it is less, I had believed that the yearly physical exam was a part of the deal. Like so many others, I was surprised that a yearly physical was not included. But, in the end that did not turn out to be a bad thing.
Obamacare, cover[s] free preventive services and so-called wellness visits but [does not include] free annual physicals. (LA Times)
The "more" is what I really appreciate. A nurse practitioner can do so many things in that time they spend with us. Medications are discussed and can be updated if needed, a small memory test is given and other simple preventative measure are taken care of by a nurse practitioner. Lab tests can be ordered by that person if they are necessary too.

There is no complete physical in the sense that we experienced years ago. The healthcare profession realized that it was a costly process and didn't do much good. To many people were slipping through because the doctors weren't asking the right questions while they were looking up our nose and into our ears.

The doctor is given more time to deal with bigger issues. The cost is less for the insurance company I think.

I went to the doctor today so I could get acquainted with my new general practitioner. She asked all the right questions and took the time to discuss existing conditions.

So it turns out that it is the conversations that have made all the difference. Not only have those inquiries made the health care professionals more aware of what to ask, it has also forced someone like me to face what is wrong or bothering me. I forget that I need help until the question is asked.

At my age (almost 77) issues with aging are bound to pop up. Luckily for me everything can be fixed but even if they couldn't, just talking about what is needed does help so much.

My husband and I both agreed in our "after doctor appointment breakfast" that we go in the doctor's office  thinking to ourselves "I am fine. I feel great. I am so lucky. I honestly don't know why I am here."

We are in denial. That attitude kicks in the minute we walk through the clinic door.

We both have major health problems that need addressing but, because our doctors have things under control, we forget.

So when the assistant asked me if he could check my feet for numbness because I am pre-diabetic, I was surprised...I feel just fine! When my doctor suggested a visit with a specialist for joint pain, I was delighted that she saw that I was in pain. When she let me know that testing for blood sugar was a very good idea, and that I need to keep a record so she could see what was happening, I noted that and will do what she asked.

Grateful could be the only word I would use to describe how appreciative I am for all those people that worked to make our healthcare system better.

Living in the state of denial is not smart. There you have it.

I hope you are finding the positive in our health care specialists and are proactive if you feel you have a problem. Take good care of yourself.



  1. I'm of Medicare age, but I'm still working and still covered on my employer's plan. I had no idea of this annual wellness visit; I knew about the Welcome to Medicare exam. This annual wellness visit sounds much better than the "physical" I get under my private plan. I am prediabetic and never have gotten an offer to check my feet for numbness. I'm wondering - do they ask if you've ever fallen? My doctor (who is actually a NP) only has asked in the past year. I, personally, feel that question should be asked of every senior at every doctors visit of any type.

    1. Yes, falling did come up as a question. My provider gave me a list of suggestions for people that fall. Of course, the usual advice to remove rug came up. But she also suggested that I do not wear bifocals when taking a walk. I don't but that is a very good suggestions. I now do an exercise that required be to put a chair against the wall and stand up from the chair 10 times three times a week. Tai Chai is recommended. Balance is hard to maintain as we grow older so keeping fit will help. If we get so we cannot stand up without staggering, it is disabling and I don't want that ever.

      Come back soon.

  2. I have been going to my wellness check once a year, and I love the fact that my doctor covers it all with me. She is thorough and helpful. I've been on Medicare for more than ten years now and find I get pretty good care. I had cataract surgery last fall, and I paid less than $300 per eye! And my sight is wonderful! :-)

    1. Yes, I did the same thing. Medicare and the requirements we have now for certain procedures is a blessing.


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