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Healthy Living

Annual Health Screenings for Every Senior

Your Annual Wellness visit

  • As part of your Medicare Benefits, Medicare covers an “Annual Wellness Visit” to your primary care physician (PCP).
  • This visit is not the same thing as your Annual Physical Exam. First of all, there’s no copay. Secondly, its goal is to help your doctor better understand your medical history as well as your potential risk factors for illness.

“It’s important that you schedule an Annual Medicare Wellness Visit in addition to
your Annual Physical Exam.”

Your Annual Physical each year should include:

  • Checking height and weight
  • Screening for alcohol and tobacco use
  • Screening for depression
  • Screening for the risk of falls or medication interactions
  • Screening for hearing loss.

You should also receive:

Blood pressure screening:

  • Get your blood pressure checked every year
  • If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be watched more closely.

Diabetes screening:

  • Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure.

Cholesterol screening:

  • Get your cholesterol checked every year
  • If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be monitored more closely.

Colon cancer screening:

One of the following screening tests should be done:

  • A stool test every year
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years along with a stool occult blood test
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years. Patients with risk factors for colon cancer, including ulcerative colitis, a personal or family history of colorectal cancer, or a history of large colorectal adenomas may need a colonoscopy more often.

Osteoporosis screening:

  • Have a bone mineral density test once. Then talk to your doctor about repeat testing.

Dental exam:

  • Go to the dentist every year for an exam and cleaning.

Eye exam:

  • Have an eye exam every 2 years, especially if you have vision problems or risk factors for glaucoma.


senior patient

Prostate cancer screening:

  • Have a rectal exam every year
  • Have a blood test to check your PSA every year.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening:

  • If you ever smoked you should have an ultrasound done once to screen for abdominal aortic aneurysms.


senior patient

Cervical Cancer:

  • If your most recent Pap smear was normal, you do not need an annual Pap smear
  • If you have had a total hysterectomy for cancer, you should get an annual Pap smear.

Breast cancer screening:

  • Get a mammogram every 2 years through age 74. Age 75 and older, ask your doctor about repeat testing