Boomers Wear Blinders About Preventive Care

OK, I admit it. I’m part of that famous (infamous?) “baby boomer” generation. You know, the one that was going to change the world, live in communes, and get back to nature.  Hey, times change. Most of us now are in the “real” world, with jobs, families, mortgages…and despite doing what we think is a good job of watching our diets, exercising, and managing stress, it turns out that most of us stink at getting enough preventive care.

A report put out by the CDC, American Medical Association and AARP found that only one-fourth of boomers, 50-64, got regular preventive care like cancer screenings, blood pressure screenings, or help with quitting smoking. Promoting Preventive Services for Adults 50-64: Community and Clinical Partnerships, focuses on opportunities to improve the health of the growing number of adults in the 50-64 age bracket to broaden the use of potentially lifesaving preventive services. In another five years, us boomers are going to be about 63 million strong, making up 20 percent of the US population – and many of us will have at least one chronic health condition. Heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity…yep, most of us are going to have to deal with some kind of ongoing medical issue. That’s why preventive care is so important. Not only will it save money, but it might save your life.

“Effective screening, counseling, vaccinations, and other recommended preventive services should be a routine part of health care for all Americans”

– E. Langston, AMA

The CDC Report identifies recommended preventive services such as influenza vaccines, cholesterol screening, breast and cervical cancer screening, as well as preventive screenings for behaviors that could negatively impact health like binge drinking and physical inactivity. Many chronic diseases are preventable and could save our healthcare system billions in projected treatment costs. So the report also calls for more community based partnerships to get the word out, and to get preventive services to where they’re most needed, such as in minority, rural, and low socio-economic areas. It also highlights proven strategies that clinics and communities have used to promote preventive services.

Are you up to date on all your preventive screenings? Do you know what screenings you should be getting? Do you know

  • When and how often women should be screened for breast and cervical cancer? Or men for prostate cancer?
  • At what age(s) should people be getting cholesterol levels checked?
  • Do you need a flu shot if you’re a boomer?
  • What about a pneumonia vaccine?

Not sure? Check here for the answers. Then go see your doctor.