Seniors get a free cognitive exam as part of Medicare’s yearly wellness exam

Take advantage of this free cognitive exam. If you are a senior, it could make a huge difference in your overall well-being.

Despite clear signs that their memory and thinking abilities have gone downhill, more than half of seniors with these symptoms haven’t seen a doctor about them, a new study finds. 1

University of Michigan researchers and their colleagues say their findings suggest that as many as 1.8 million Americans over the age of 70 with dementia are not evaluated for cognitive symptoms by a medical provider, which in some patients can lead to a failure to uncover modifiable causes of thinking or memory impairment. 1

The study, published online in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, documents a clear lack of clinical testing for seniors with signs of cognitive problems.

“Early evaluation and identification of people with dementia may help them receive care earlier,” says study author Vikas Kotagal, M.D., M.S., who sees patients at the University of Michigan Health System and is an assistant professor in the U-M Medical School’s Department of Neurology. “It can help families make plans for care, help with day-to-day tasks including observed medication administration, and watch for future problems that can occur. In some instances, these interventions could substantially improve the person’s quality of life.”

For instance, knowing that a stroke or vascular issues in the brain caused dementia means patients can work to control risk factors like blood pressure that might otherwise cause it to keep worsening. If your physician suspects Alzheimer’s disease, there are drugs that can help delay the onset of full-blown dementia, and the possibility of placement in a memory care facility, which can help offset the catastrophic cost of the disease.

If you’ve had Part B for longer than 12 months, you can get the free Medicare Annual Wellness Exam to develop or update a personalized plan to prevent disease and disability based on your current health and risk factors. The exam includes:
• A review of your medical and family history
• Developing or updating a list of current providers and prescriptions
• Height, weight, blood pressure, and other routine measurements
 Detection of any cognitive impairment
• Personalized health advice
• A list of risk factors and treatment options for you
• A screening schedule (like a checklist) for appropriate preventive services. Get details about coverage for screenings, shots, and other preventive services.
This visit is covered once every 12 months (11 full months must have passed since the last visit).

Don’t delay. Call and make an appointment today. It’s free for all people with Medicare, and it’s to your and your family’s benefit.

Reference

  1. In addition to Kotagal, the study’s authors include Kenneth Langa, M.D., Ph.D., who holds professorships in both the U-M Medical School and Institute for Social Research; U-M neurologist Roger Albin, M.D., U-M neuropsychologist Bruno Giordani, Ph.D. and U-M researcher Mohamed Kabeto, M.S. Authors from other institutions are Brenda Plassman, Ph.D. of Duke University, who directs the ADAMS study from which the data on dementia patients was obtained; and James Burke, M.D., Ph.D., Gwenith G. Fisher, PhD, Robert B. Wallace, MD, MS, David C. Steffens, MD, MH and Norman L. Foster, MD. Langa is a member of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.
    The study was supported by the University of Michigan, the National Institute on Aging (AG027010, AG009740, and AG007137), and University of Utah. Reference: Neurology,doi/10.1212/WNL.0000000000001096

 

 

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