Estate planning and elder law go hand-in-hand with health planning to ensure that Massachusetts seniors age comfortably and according to the plan they have chosen for themselves. And just like in estate planning, preventative health care is always a better option than waiting to react until an emergency occurs. With that in mind, I’d like to share a recent TIME magazine article that shares some keys to preventative care for seniors.
According to the article, just 7% of adults past the age of 65 receive simple low-tech services in each of six recommended areas of elder care. The six areas of service that are recommended for all seniors include:Yearly doctor review of prescriptions, medicines and treatments.Professional screening for depression.Yearly doctor inquiry of falls and periodic instruction on how to avoid falls.Frequent discussion of lifestyle issues like the ability to go shopping, drive or prepare a meal.Discussion of one’s ability to perform personal tasks like showering and using the bathroom.Periodic review of community resources and support available to seniors.
A key piece of this preventative plan includes discussing your concerns and plans for the future with your doctor. I suspect, and the article confirms, that many Massachusetts seniors do not realize they are entitled to an annual wellness checkup with no co-pays and no deductibles if they are covered by Medicare.
If you’ve had Medicare Part B for longer than 12 months, you can get a yearly “wellness” visit to develop or update a personalized plan to prevent disease based on your current health and risk factors. This free visit is covered once every 12 months.
Staying proactive and informed can be crucial both to your estate plan and to your health. Act before an emergency arrives to ensure you have the most options available to you.