Health screenings are important for everyone, especially for seniors who may have chronic health problems that need to be monitored. The purpose of health screenings is to detect certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure, as well as potential health conditions, such as prostate cancer or type 2 diabetes. Doctors will also use these appointments to monitor existing health conditions. They may recommend more regular health screenings depending on your parent’s health.

It’s important to stay up to date on your parent’s health screenings because doctors can catch problems early on and address underlying issues. The trouble is that there are nearly 50 million Americans living without health insurance and millions more that are underinsured. If you’re concerned about your parent’s own health insurance, don’t let it stop you from getting the care you deserve.

Fortunately, there is a wide range of low-cost or free health screenings offered at national, state and local organizations, hospitals, pharmacies and senior centers. The best way to find low-cost screenings is to visit your state health department. If your parent does have good health insurance, they can visit their doctor for regular health screenings.

Here is a list of health screenings recommended for adults over 50 years. Also, remind   your parent to give themselves a breast/testicular self exam each month.  One way to bring up this subject is to tell them that you are following the advice they gave you years ago and you want to make sure they are doing the same.


  • Vision Screening

  • Blood Pressure

  • Breast Exam

  • Fecal Occult Blood

  • Prostate Exam

  • Dental Exam (6-12 months, X-rays are not recommended unless your parent has cavities or dental pain)

  • Mammogram (1-2 years)

3-5 Years

  • Pap Smear

  • Sigmoidoscopy (3-5 years)

  • Cholesterol Screening (5 years)

Additional Screenings

Ask your doctor about the following screenings as well:

  • Hearing

  • Depression Evaluation

  • Osteoporosis Screening (for women over 65 years to detect bone strength)

  • Vaccinations (Vaccinations for flu shots, shingles, pneumonia, tetanus and whooping cough are often recommended for seniors)

The old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” still holds true and is especially important as we age. This is made even easier since  most screenings are covered by insurance or Medicare at little to no cost to the patient.

Screen early and stay healthy!