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Prevention for the older person includes maintaining quality of life, preserving function, preventing collapse of family support systems, and maintaining independence in the community. Older women often have substantial responsibilities caring for spouses, siblings, children, and grandchildren. Significant levels of depression are seen in caregivers of Alzheimer's patients. Women access the health care system more frequently than do men. They receive more health services and prescriptions, undergo more examinations, laboratory tests, and blood pressure checks than men. Depression is the most commonly diagnosed mental illness in older adults in the primary care setting, although it often goes unnoticed. Abuse is best correlated with the emotional and financial dependence of the caregivers on the geriatric victims. By attending to the differing risk factors of older women and following a systematic periodic evaluation, physicians can assist older women in maintaining their health and functional status.
Primary preventive measures for older women must be accomplished early in life to make an impact later in life. Prevention for the older person includes maintaining quality of life, preserving function, preventing collapse of family support systems, and maintaining independence in the community.
Primary preventive measures are optimally accomplished early in life to make an impact later in life.
Goals of preventive care for the older woman
The percentage of US adults older than age 65 years is growing rapidly and expected to almost double between 1995 and 2030 (12.8 to 20 percent).
Life expectancy for women is longer than that of men, at all ages older than age 65 years. By age 85, only 45 men will be alive for every 100 women. This significantly changes the social environment in which older women live. Understanding the specific needs and circumstances of an individual woman helps to guide preventive health decisions.
The annual physical examination encompasses screening and preventive counselling. Both primary preventive measures (i.e., interventions targeted at preventing specific conditions in asymptomatic persons) and secondary preventive measures (i.e., screening for early detection and treatment of modifiable risk factors or preclinical disease) are described.
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