The average American visits the doctor around 4 times per year. Senior citizens are included in that average, although they should typically visit the doctor more frequently than the general population. It’s no secret that as we age our bodies break down and become more susceptible to issues and diseases. Preventative measures can help slow down the progression of many common diseases in seniors. Yet, if a condition isn’t caught early on, it can progress rather quickly.
According to the Aetna Health Care Guide, seniors that are between 65 and 70 years old should visit their doctor at least once a year, even if they do not have any underlying concerns. A general checkup is a great way to catch issues early before they have a chance to get worse and cause more overt symptoms.
As seniors age, recommendations for doctor visits increase. Seniors that are in their seventies should visit their doctor at least twice a year, while seniors in their eighties (and above) should visit the doctor at least three times per year – or once every few months.
Seniors should visit the doctor more frequently if they are experiencing any health issues, changes in mood, behavior, or overall feelings of wellbeing. If a new pain springs up and doesn’t go away on its own, it’s time to visit the doctor. Yet, even if nothing seems wrong at all, it’s important to get regular checkups, blood work, urine samples, and so forth. This helps to monitor any changes and act as needed.
How Often Do People Visit the Doctor in Other Parts of the World?
The average American goes to the doctor four times per year. That may sound like a decent number of visits, but in other countries people visit the doctor with far greater frequency. For instance, in Japan patients typically see their doctor around 13 times a year. In Canada, people visit the doctor around 7.4 times a year, and in France the average is 6.8 visits per year.
Researchers conclude that Americans visit the doctor with less frequency because of the cost. It is more expensive to see a doctor in America compared to other countries. Therefore, people ration their visits more carefully.
Why Many Seniors Don’t Visit the Doctor Enough
There are many seniors out there who are on top of their health and visit the doctor regularly. Yet, not everyone is a fan of visiting the doctor. Some common reasons seniors (and the general population) tend to avoid the doctor include:
- Don’t think anything is wrong – not experiencing symptoms or simply ignoring symptoms
- Unsure a doctor can offer any real solutions
- Lack of transportation, no one to take them or cannot drive themselves
- Trying to save money/ lack the funds to afford medical care
What Happens When You Don’t Go to the Doctor Enough?
- Health issues can balloon out of control and become much worse
- Overall quality of life and health can deteriorate
- Medications may be improperly taken or mixed
- Changes to medications may be necessary but without visiting the doctor there’s no way of knowing that
A doctor who closely follows your health with regular checkups can identify issues quicker and create a more comprehensive health care plan. Plus, they can create and monitor a plan of action to preserve your health, including physical exercise, diet, and so forth.
Removing Transportation Hurdles
One of the most common reasons seniors skip out on doctor appointments is because they lack the transportation to get there. Seniors often make appointments and then cancel them because they don’t have a ride. Hiring a non-emergency medical transportation service solves the transportation conundrum and ensures seniors get to the doctor as needed and can be pro-active about their health. Check out our pricing for non-emergency medical transportation, or contact us for a quote.