Your parent’s health is your wealth. As you show them love in different ways and languages, it is important to include their health concerns in your care plan. Sometimes the best gift you can give them is that of good healthcare. Getting health gifts for parents is a way to ensure that they are in the best state of health. It involves keeping a keen attention to details of their health and getting regular medical checkups for them. This would not only grant them a happy and independent life, but it would also reflect on their quality of living in the long run.
To help them, you need to know what tests older adults need and how to ensure they have access to them from time to time. This is because while some checkups are routine, some others are required only when there are certain indications for them.
Nevertheless, here are some thoughtful health gifts for parents.
What health tests should be carried out on older people?
1. Glucose check: This is a measurement of the level of sugar in the blood. This test is particularly essential for many reasons. First, if their blood sugar is higher than normal, that could mean they are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. Whichever case is manageable especially if it is detected early. Second, if their sugar is low, that might be a side effect of other medication they may be using. A review of these drugs by their healthcare provider can resolve the low blood sugar.
2. Blood pressure screening: Hypertension is a silent killer which is prevalent in Nigeria. Sadly, it shows no symptoms until it has become complicated. And these symptoms can be debilitating or even fatal. Enabling them to know their blood pressure numbers is thoughtful and will help them detect any drastic changes on time. As they try to inculcate a healthy lifestyle, it is also necessary that they are screened for hypertension routinely.
3. Kidney Function Test: Certain metabolites in the blood like urea and creatinine are used in monitoring kidney function. When there is an increase beyond the normal range, this could point to the presence of a renal disorder. Similarly, some enzymes and metabolites when mildly or excessively high could indicate a problem with the liver, bones, or elsewhere.
4. Blood cholesterol level: This screening takes note of the total cholesterol levels which includes the LDL (good cholesterol) and the HDL (bad) types. Excessive cholesterol levels are one of the major causes of heart attack and stroke. However, this can be managed with drugs, a healthy diet, and lifestyle adjustments.
5. Prostate and cervical cancer screening: Among the health gifts for parents, this stands out as a very important one. Most cancers are more common in older people than in other age demographic and prostate cancer is one of them. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancer types in men worldwide. As with many cancers, it does not show symptoms in the early stages, but screening can indicate its presence. Prostate screening is composed of a blood test and rectal exam. Blood is screened for PSA levels and elevated levels may suggest prostate cancer. A rectal exam is the use of fingers to palpate the prostate for any change in size and feel. This examination is not a definitive one as it could indicate other diseases of the prostate other than cancer.
6. Pap smear/HPV test: Pap smear involves taking a swab of the cervix and investigating it for cervical cancer. This cancer is quite common in this clime hence, the screening should not be taken lightly. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is also a notable cause of cervical cancer. It is incurable, but there are vaccines to prevent it. So if the test comes out negative, your mother is advised to take a vaccine.
7. Mammography: A mammogram is x-ray imaging of the breast. It is like a picture of the breast that is used to detect breast lumps which could be benign or cancerous. This radiological exam is highly sensitive as it can pick up breast tumors and cysts before they become palpable. Mammography is recommended for women above 50 years of age.
8. Eye screening: Sight is a vital part of every human and must be treated with utmost care. As people age, the muscle in their eyes loses some of their ability to focus and produce clearer images. On average, an annual eye examination should be carried out to assess for cataracts, glaucoma, and other eye conditions. Any defect caught early can be managed with the use of drugs, lenses, or surgical procedures.
Long-term positive outcomes can be achieved through regular medical tests, particularly in older adults. This, however, lies in consistency. Although the interval will be stated by their physician, it will be determined by several factors such as age and symptoms. If you schedule a health checkup for your parents twice a year, stick to this interval and ensure they show up too.
You should also consider convenience and ease when selecting a laboratory to cater to your parent’s periodic checkup demands. It is better to opt for a lab that integrates and offers all the necessary tests in one. Preferably, you may go to labs that provide home services. This will save your parents the hassle of locating the centre and navigating long queues. Convenience is what makes getting these health gifts for parents even more valuable to them.
Most importantly, periodic screening helps in early detection and early detection saves lives. Make it a habit to gift your parents medical tests and they will be better for it.