At the start of the pandemic, life as we knew it came to a screeching halt – including, in many cases, our health care needs. Dr. Ned Sharpless, director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, shares, “There was a time, early in the pandemic, when we didn’t know much about this virus. So at that time, I think hospitals and clinics closing – that made sense.”
But he goes on to explain that we know more now – and now is the time to get back on track with our medical appointments and procedures. We have evidence now that the health risks of avoiding important medical appointments for seniors outweigh the risk of contracting COVID-19. Experts have outlined three key in-person appointments we should all take care of immediately:
Mental Health Care
Most (if not all) of us have suffered a mental and emotional toll while living through a global health crisis. Even with virtual mental health care available, the statistics show that mental health crises are skyrocketing. Medications prescribed for mental health concerns involve blood tests and other in-person interactions to allow doctors to best monitor reactions, side effects, and drug levels. And keep in mind that if you or someone you love is having thoughts of suicide, immediate medical intervention is necessary. The Canada Suicide Prevention Service can be reached 24/7 at 833-456-4566.
Time is of the essence in diagnosing and treating cancer. If you’ve put off routine screenings for cancer, especially if there is a genetic history of a certain type of cancer, it’s crucial to schedule them now. A reduction in cancer screenings due to COVID restrictions in Canada, “will lead to additional cancer deaths, additional advanced cancers diagnosed, and a surge in demand for downstream resources,” explains one study in the Journal of Medical Screening.
Chronic Disease Management
Managing a chronic disease, such as diabetes, kidney disease, or heart problems requires ongoing monitoring of medications and treatment plans by the prescribing physician. Nearly half of a surveyed pool of diabetics revealed that they’ve put off routine care for their condition due to pandemic-related fears. A number of long-term complications can arise from improperly managing chronic health conditions – including skipped exams and blood work.
It's critically important for seniors with chronic health issues to continue routine medical care. If visiting in-person is still a concern, contact your health provider and ask about making a telehealth appointment. It is also important to have at least two weeks of prescription and non-prescription medications and supplies on hand in case of quarantine.
The Windsor senior care professionals at Amy’s Helping Hands are happy to provide transportation and accompaniment to any medical appointments or procedures, as well as provide seniors with companionship at home. Just give us a call at 519-915-4370 and let us know when you need us!