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6 Essential Health Screenings for Older Adults

6 Essential Health Screenings for Older Adults

Nov. 20th, 2021

If you have a loved one over the age of 65, they may not show any signs or symptoms of any health conditions.

However, there are some health screenings that are critical for seniors to get done routinely, even if it’s just as a preventative measure. As your loved one ages, they are more susceptible to developing different medical conditions, and regular screenings can detect any underlying health issues early. This can help them receive the proper care and treatment before a condition worsens.

Here are 6 necessary health screenings your older loved one should get each year.

Eye Exam

Some people go most of their lives without needing glasses or contacts. However, your loved one’s vision will steadily decline as they get older, even if it’s not noticeable right away.

Eye exams are an important health screening for seniors because if their eyesight begins to decline, it can affect them while they’re driving, moving around the house, and performing daily tasks.

Furthermore, as you age, your risk for eye concerns such as cataracts and glaucoma increases.1

It is critical to have your older loved one go in for an eye exam. If the eye doctor does not see a decline in vision or any immediate eye health concerns, your loved one may not have to go in for another year or two.

Hearing Test

Hearing is another sense that declines as you get older. You may or may not have noticed your older loved one’s hearing declining already.2

It’s important to note that once someone loses their hearing, it’s not possible to get back. Ultimately, the ability to hear will continue to decline.

If there is a significant decline in their hearing, a doctor may suggest hearing aids. There are numerous kinds to choose from, such as being in the ear or behind the ear. Hearing aids also range in sizes and can fit whatever needs your loved one might have.

Blood Pressure Check

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is common among older adults, with more than half of the adults in the United States having it.3 This is because as you age, your arteries change and become stiffer.4

If hypertension goes untreated, it can lead to strokes, heart attacks, and heart disease. Regular blood pressure checks can help your loved one know if they are at risk for developing hypertension or if they should be taking steps to reduce their blood pressure.

Doctors will typically check a patient’s blood pressure at almost every appointment, even if it’s just a simple check-up visit. When your loved one goes to their yearly check-up, make sure they are checking their blood pressure.

Bone Density Scan

As you get older, your bones will become thinner, which can make you more prone to fractures or breaks.5 This can cause seniors to fall or have difficulty moving around the house.

A bone density scan is a significant health screening for seniors because it can show your older loved one’s strength and thickness of their bones. This is critical because it can show signs of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is the cause of many fractures among older adults, especially in the hips and spine.6

Osteoporosis is prevalent among seniors, especially women. If you have an older loved one and are concerned about their bones or fractures, take them to get a bone density scan.


Vaccinations are significant when it comes to preventing illnesses, especially in older adults.

There are multiple vaccinations your older loved one should consider receiving to help protect their health.7 Here are a few:

  • COVID-19 vaccine – COVID-19 is an illness that spreads easily and can lead to hospitalizations, particularly among older adults. If your loved one hasn’t already, talk to them about receiving the vaccine.
  • Flu shot – The flu mutates and circulates every year, and it is best for your loved one to get a flu shot each year to protect them from catching it. The flu can worsen and lead to hospitalizations for many seniors.
  • Shingles vaccine —Your loved one’s risk of shingles increases as they age. It is recommended for adults over 50 years old to get the shingles vaccine.
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) – This vaccine helps to protect against meningitis and bloodstream infections, and is recommended for adults 65 and older.
  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) – This vaccine helps to protect against pneumonia, and is recommended for those with a weakened immune system.

Cancer Screenings

As you age, there are some health risks that increase, such as certain types of cancer. Here are some different types of cancer you should be aware of, and tests that can be performed if your older loved one suspects any changes with their body.

Breast Cancer

The risk for breast cancer is higher among older women. To try and detect breast cancer, mammograms are recommend for women as a yearly test. A mammogram uses an X-ray to examine the breasts.8

Women around the age of 40 have the option to begin getting mammograms done annually if they would like. If you have an older loved one, you should encourage them to get a mammogram done annually to help detect any signs of cancer.

Women between the ages of 45 and 54 should get a mammogram done once a year.9 Women 55 and older can decide to switch to getting a mammogram every 2 years, or they can continue to get one annually. 

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a common disease among older men, especially over the age of 65. There are screenings available for men to help detect prostate cancer.

Doctors can check your older loved one for any cancer concerns with a physical examination and a blood test.

Some signs of prostate cancer include difficulty urinating, unintentional weight loss, or bleeding.10 If you notice any of these symptoms, take your loved one to see a doctor.

Colon or Rectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is more common among older adults. The average age when individuals are diagnosed with colorectal cancer is 68 for men and 72 for women.11

This cancer can be classified as colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where it starts. However, they both have a lot of the same characteristics.

If you notice your loved one experiencing changes in bowel habits, abdominal pain, or bleeding, make sure they see a doctor.

Saber Healthcare Encourages You and Your Loved One to Check on Your Health

Saber Healthcare encourages you and your loved ones to take care of your health and get the necessary medical screenings when needed.

Here at Saber Healthcare, our staff works hard to keep our residents healthy and at their highest level of functioning. Click here to learn more about what we do.

Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.


  1. Tubert, David. “Get an Eye Disease Screening at 40.” American Academy of Ophthalmology, March 1st, 2019. Accessed November 8th, 2021.
  2. “6 Ways to Protect Your Hearing as You Age.” Saber Healthcare Group, July 20th, 2021. Accessed November 10th, 2021.
  3. “Hypertension: What is it and How to Prevent It.” Saber Healthcare Group, September 23rd, 2021. Accessed November 10th, 2021.
  4. “Why Your Senior Loved One Should Get Regular Blood Pressure Checks.” Living Assistance Services, Visiting Angels. Accessed November 9th, 2021.
  5. “Bone Density Scan.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus. Accessed November 9th, 2021.
  6. “Osteoporosis: Signs and Risk Factors.” Saber Healthcare Group, October 20th, 2021. Accessed November 9th, 2021.
  7. “5 Important Immunizations for Older Adults.” Saber Healthcare Group, August 6th, 2021. Accessed November 10th, 2021.
  8. “Mammogram Procedure.” The Johns Hopkins University, Accessed November 8th, 2021.
  9. “American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer.” American Cancer Society, August 27th, 2021. Accessed November 8th, 2021.
  10. “Prostate Cancer.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Mayo Clinic. June 4th, 2021. Accessed November 9th, 2021.
  11. “Colorectal Cancer: Risk Factors and Prevention.” American Society of Clinical Oncology, Accessed November 9th, 2021.