12 things senior women can do to take care of their health (and how Medicare can help)

Written by Ari Parker Updated: Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Part of aging gracefully involves paying closer attention to your health. Although women and men can develop most of the same conditions, there are certain issues that affect women more often. If you’re an older woman, you’re more likely to experience mental health disorders, certain types of cancer, stroke, and weakness in your bones or joints. It’s important to take preventative measures against these conditions and manage existing conditions you may have. 

Medicare covers many services for women’s health—from mammograms to physical therapy for osteoporosis. Learn about your coverage options so you can prioritize your wellbeing and live the full life you deserve.

1. Get checkups regularly

Creating a habit to see your doctor at least once a year (more if you have a chronic condition or injury) can help you detect symptoms or issues early on. Medicare covers an annual Wellness visit where you can:

  • Review your personal health history with your doctor

  • Create a plan to manage a condition

  • Take a cognitive exam to check for early signs of dementia

  • Check standard vitals, like blood pressure

  • Get personalized advice about your health

  • Get help with advance care planning

  • Create a screening schedule or checklist for preventative services for the year

This is the perfect time for you to take advantage of the preventive services that Medicare covers and form a consistent action plan to focus on your health.

2. Take care of your bone health

Hormonal changes can drastically impact women’s health. Osteoporosis, for example, is more common in women than men because of the hormonal changes that occur during menopause. Many women with weak bones or osteoporosis don’t know they have the condition until they fracture or break a bone. 

Medicare covers osteoporosis screenings and medications to manage your bone health. Medicare also covers physical therapy.

3. Manage arthritis or osteoarthritis 

Women are more likely to develop joint issues like arthritis or osteoarthritis because of how joints are structured in a woman’s body. For example, wider hips in women can change knee joints over time, potentially increasing the risk of knee osteoarthritis.

Medicare covers medications to treat joint problems, physical therapy, doctor visits, and even joint replacement surgery in more severe cases. 

4. Keep your mind engaged

Because women generally live longer than men, women are more likely to develop dementia in older age. Although you can’t completely prevent dementia, keeping your mind sharp is important for maintaining your health. 

If you have a family history of Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, regular doctor visits and screenings are important. If you develop Alzheimer’s, medications can help you slow down the progression of cognitive impairment.

Medicare covers many services for Alzheimers, but it’s important to note that it does not cover long-term nursing home care or caregiver services. Certain Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans may provide coverage for institutional care if you are eligible. Give us a call at 855-900-2427 to get help finding the best coverage for your needs!

5. Pay attention to your heart

Heart-related conditions are more common in women and men past age 65. While men are more likely to develop heart-related health problems, women are at a higher risk of death from heart failure and heart attack. You can take preventative measures with your Medicare benefits. Medicare covers:

  • Cardiovascular screenings

  • Doctor visits and consultations for high blood pressure

  • Doctor visits to diagnose heart abnormalities 

  • Cardiac ablation services

  • Medications to treat heart problems

6. Schedule regular screenings

Scheduling regular preventative screenings can help you catch health complications and potentially save you from serious health consequences. Your risk of developing breast, cervical, and colon cancer increases as you age. As an older woman, you may want to think about getting screened for:

  • Cervical and cancer screenings

  • Colorectal cancer

  • Diabetes

  • Breast cancer

Medicare has comprehensive coverage for breast cancer. Your insurance will cover mammograms, breast reconstruction surgery, devices you need post surgery, and medications for recovery.

For extra preventative protection, Medicare also covers all CDC recommended vaccines for adults over 65.

7. Eat well and exercise 

Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise is important for living a longer and more fulfilling life. Eating a diet with high saturated fats and cholesterol can lead to cardiovascular disease, heart failure, and diabetes. The same goes for living a sedentary lifestyle. To help you learn about and maintain a healthy lifestyle, Medicare provides some nutrition and planning services.

You can get the following services covered by Medicare:

  • Nutrition therapy services for people with diabetes and kidney issues

  • Medicare Advantage plans can cover fitness programs, like SilverSneakers

  • Medicare covers weight loss counseling and weight loss surgery for people with certain BMIs

8. Use sunscreen often

Your chances of developing skin cancer increases as you age, and you’re particularly vulnerable if you have lighter features. Older adults should use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher for the best protection from UV rays that cause skin cancer. 

Some Medicare Advantage plans include over-the-counter (OTC) flex benefits that could help you pay for sunscreen. Additionally, while Medicare doesn’t cover regular screenings for skin cancer, it will cover a screening if you show signs of cancerous skin growths. Medicare also covers additional services you’d need to treat skin cancer. 

9. Stay in tune with your mental health

It can be more difficult for older adults to take care of their mental health, but your emotional wellbeing is a vital part of your health. Women are two times more likely to have anxiety and depression, which can lead to other health issues like digestive problems, chronic pain, and cardiovascular disease. 

Stay on top of your mental health with Medicare. Medicare covers mental health services, including therapy sessions and mental health screenings. 

10. Prioritize sleep

Quality sleep plays a role in supporting cognitive function, boosting immunity, and feeling healthy. However, sleep apnea, which is common in older adults, can often get in the way of a good night’s rest. If sleep apnea is hindering your ability to sleep, Medicare covers studies to diagnose the condition. Your insurance will also help pay for any at-home equipment for tests and sleep apnea machines.

11. Receive care for dental, vision, and hearing

Our needs for dental, vision, and hearing care increase as we get older. Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t cover these needs well unless you develop a condition that needs medically necessary treatment, like cataracts. Some Medicare beneficiaries pay for these services out of pocket or secure private insurance to get routine dental, vision, and hearing care covered. Many others enroll in Medicare Advantage plans that cover routine services for dental, vision, and hearing. 

12. Organize your medications

It’s natural to take more medications as you age. Managing multiple prescriptions can be difficult to handle at first. You have to know which medications to take at certain times and how often to take them. Keeping them organized in a system you understand can be helpful to ensure you’re managing any existing conditions you have.

Medicare Part D is responsible for covering prescription medications. You can get Part D coverage either through a standalone plan or included as part of your Medicare Advantage plan. The list of drugs that your insurance covers is included in your plan’s formulary. This is the best place to check whether or not your Part D insurance covers a drug you need. 

Get help choosing and using your Medicare insurance

Whether you’re just getting started with Medicare or are already using it, it can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, making the wrong Medicare choices can also cost you thousands of dollars. Chapter provides Medicare assistance to help you understand your Medicare insurance options, choose the right coverage to fit your needs, and use your plan’s benefits as needed. Give us a call at 855-900-2427 or schedule a time to talk to get free advice and support, so you can feel confident in your Medicare coverage!

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