How to Embrace Preventive Health Screenings for Older Adults to Promote Longevity

Posted :
January 5, 2024
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SF Care Services
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The importance of preventive health screenings for older adults becomes increasingly crucial as the years go by. These screenings aren’t the same as a routine check-up. They’re a proactive approach to ensuring longevity and a better quality of life. Embracing these health practices allows us to enjoy our senior years with vigour and vitality.

But what kinds of health screenings do you need to get?

There are a variety of different screenings you’re recommended to take depending on your age and medical history. We’re going to discuss the health screenings for Canadians over the age of 50, why you should get them, and when. Plus some handy tips on how to get ready for a screening.

What Are Preventive Health Screenings?

Preventive health screenings are key to staying ahead of potential health issues. That’s because they’re designed to detect potential problems before symptoms appear. Enabling you to get treatment for health conditions as soon as possible.

Not every condition merits a screening though. Doctors will only screen for health issues where the outcome is vastly improved by early treatment.

Preventive health screenings are particularly important for seniors due to the significant changes our bodies go through. A minor issue can quickly escalate into a serious concern if it’s not caught early.

If you are already experiencing symptoms, then you’ll need to have diagnostic testing done rather than a screening. Preventive health screenings are only meant for people who are at risk but have no symptoms.

Preparing for Health Screenings

Preparing for health screenings is a key step in the process of maintaining your health as you age. Here’s how you can get ready for various types of screenings:

  • Know Your Medical History: Be aware of your personal and family medical history. This helps your healthcare provider recommend the most appropriate screenings.
  • List Your Medications: Have a list of all medications you’re currently taking, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements.
  • Understand the Procedure: Ask your doctor what the test involves and how you should prepare. For example, some tests require drinking lots of water beforehand.
  • Fasting Requirements: Some tests, like certain blood tests, require fasting. Follow the instructions given by your healthcare provider.
  • Arrange Transportation: Ask your doctor if you’ll need to arrange transportation home or get someone to go with you. Some screenings require sedation or could leave you feeling unwell.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Understanding the purpose and process of each screening can ease your anxiety. Being prepared and informed, you can approach your preventive health screenings with confidence. Which makes the experience go much smoother.

Doctor and patient are discussing preventive health screening at the clinic

Key Preventive Screenings for Older Adults

In Canada, the guidelines for preventive health screenings are different based on factors like age, gender, and medical history.

This means the regimen of preventive health screenings for older adults can vary from person to person. Your current health status or additional factors like lifestyle will also affect which tests you need and how frequently. Always consult your doctor to discuss what’s right for you.

Here we’ll go over some of the most commonly recommended screenings for anyone over 50.

Heart Health

These screening tests will evaluate your cardiovascular health to see if you’re at risk of heart disease.

Heart-related ailments pose a significant concern for seniors. Through regular blood pressure monitoring, cholesterol checks, and diabetes screenings you’ll be able to manage these risks.

The recommended schedule for heart health screenings:

  • Blood pressure: every year
  • Cholesterol: every 4 to 6 years
  • Blood sugar: every 3 years

Cancer Screenings

Cancer screenings can identify changes in the body that may indicate the early stages of cancer. Early detection of cancer significantly increases the chances of successful treatment. Especially if surgery is needed.

Our risk of getting cancer increases with age. Making it particularly important for people over 50 to undergo regular screenings. Early detection is key in managing and treating cancer before it spreads.

The recommended schedule for cancer screenings:

  • Mammograms: every 2 years (for women)
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) test: every 5 years (for women under 65)
  • Prostate screening: every year (for men under 70)
  • Colon Cancer Screening: every 2 years
  • Lung screening: every year (for smokers)
  • Skin cancer screening: every year

Bone Health

Bone density preventive health screenings for older adults are critical for detecting conditions like osteoporosis. As we age, bone density in seniors decreases and can become more brittle and porous, increasing the risk of fractures. Seniors are especially at risk and it can lead to more severe consequences during a fall or some kind of impact.

Bone Mineral Density (BMD) tests are the primary method for evaluating bone health. These tests measure the density of your bones to determine if you have osteoporosis or are at risk of developing it.

The recommended schedule for bone health screenings:

  • Bone Mineral Density Test: every 2 years (for women over 65 or men over 70)


Examining the health of your eyes and assessing how well you can see is essential for maintaining quality of life. As we get older our vision begins to degrade. Some of these changes are natural, such as needing more light to see or colours becoming more dull. Other changes could be an early stage of eye disease.

The risk of eye diseases like cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration increases in our senior years. So it’s important to have preventive health screenings with an optometrist to catch these conditions early when they are more treatable.

The recommended schedule for eye health screenings:

  • Eye exams: every 2 years.


An audiologist evaluates your ability to hear different sounds, frequencies, and volumes. They can identify hearing loss and conditions like presbycusis (age-related hearing loss).

Hearing loss is common in older adults. Its loss can affect our ability to communicate as well as our overall quality of life.

Early detection can lead to effective management strategies, including hearing aids.

The recommended schedule for checking your hearing:

  • Hearing test: every 2 years

Cognitive Health

Cognitive screenings are designed to detect potential issues related to memory, problem-solving, attention, and other aspects of cognitive health. They’re usually the first step in identifying potential cognitive issues and are used to indicate if further tests are needed.

As we age, our cognitive functions can naturally decline. However, significant cognitive decline or changes in cognitive functions could indicate a more severe condition like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Early detection helps to improve your quality of life by managing the progression of any cognitive impairments.

The recommended schedule for cognitive screenings:

  • Cognitive screenings: Only if there are symptoms suggestive of cognitive decline


Preventive health screenings also include vaccination. Seniors are more vulnerable to illnesses as the efficiency of our immune system declines with age. Vaccination helps to restore any waning immunity and protect against diseases more prevalent in older adults.

The recommended schedule for immunization:

  • Diphtheria and Tetanus: every 10 years
  • Herpes Zoster (Shingles): 1 or 2 doses starting at age 50
  • Influenza Vaccine: every year
  • Pneumococcal Vaccine: 1 dose at 65 years or older
  • COVID-19 Vaccine: every year

Health Tech for Home Screenings

Senior man checking his blood pressure with upper arm monitor in the kitchen

Seniors can perform their own tests at home with commercially available health tech for preventive health screenings. Using these machines or phone apps you can test from the comfort of your own home. Making regular monitoring of various health conditions simple and easy.

Seniors should discuss the use of these technologies with their healthcare providers. Just to ensure they are appropriate for your specific health needs and conditions.

Overcoming Barriers to Screenings

Navigating the world of health screenings can feel challenging. Especially for seniors. Understanding and overcoming common barriers will make the process smoother and more accessible.

  • Addressing Fears and Misconceptions: Discuss any fears or concerns with your healthcare provider. They can provide accurate information and reassurance about the procedures and why they’re necessary.
  • Mobility and Transportation Issues: Use mobile health services or telehealth services for seniors with mobility issues. Some healthcare providers might also offer at-home testing kits for certain screenings.
  • Navigating Healthcare and Insurance: Seek assistance from healthcare navigators or social workers who can help explain your coverage, including what’s covered and any costs.
  • Staying Informed: Set reminders for when screenings are due, and keep a record of past screenings and their results.
  • Seeking Support: Don’t hesitate to reach out to support groups, senior centers, or community resources. These can offer valuable information and support in managing your health screenings.

By addressing these barriers, seniors can better access and benefit from preventive health screenings. This will ultimately lead to better health outcomes for you.

Lifestyle Choices to Supplement Preventive Health Screenings

Preventive health screenings are great for the early detection of health issues. However, it’s equally important to lead a healthy lifestyle:

  • Nutrition: A balanced diet can support senior health.
  • Physical Activity: Regular exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, heart, bones, and muscles.
  • Mental Well-being: Engaging mentally stimulating or emotionally beneficial activities.
  • Brain Health: Cognitive exercises to prevent dementia and mental decline.
  • Sleep Quality: Adequate sleep is essential for overall health.
  • Avoiding Harmful Habits: Refraining from smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.
  • Regular Check-ups: Regular check-ups with a healthcare provider to monitor your health status.

It all plays a crucial role in enhancing your overall well-being. By combining regular health screenings with a healthy lifestyle, seniors can significantly improve their chances of living a longer, healthier life.


Embracing preventive health screenings is a key step toward ensuring a long, healthy life for seniors. These screenings offer a powerful tool for early detection and management of health issues. Helping seniors get timely intervention and better outcomes.

By staying informed, addressing barriers to screenings, and making positive lifestyle choices, you can take charge of your health. Every effort made in preventive care and maintaining a healthy lifestyle helps maintain your independence.

Although the Earl Haig Retirement Residence we’re committed to empowering our residents with the tools and support they need to live their best lives. While our independent living facility does not have on-site nursing staff, we understand the importance of regular health monitoring. To support this, our residents benefit from regular visits by Fraser Health Care Aids. This arrangement ensures that our residents have access to the necessary health support, complementing their proactive health measures.