(BPT) - Taking care of ourselves and each other is critical at any age. A 2022 survey of members by AARP Services confirmed that adults 50-plus share that sentiment. Seventy-one percent agreed with the statement, "My health is my biggest concern," while 89% agreed with the statement, "Taking care of my family is my first priority."
Despite considering it important, though, the pandemic led many to fall behind on regular check-ups. In a Feb. 12-17, 2021 TIME-Harris Poll survey, 78% of respondents reported they had put off at least some medical services during the previous three months. It is likely these appointments seemed non-critical at the time, especially relative to the risk of exposure to more serious illness, but continually neglecting them can lead to other, more significant issues down the road.
With a new year underway, there’s no time like the present to get back into the wellness groove and stay there for good. Fortunately, AARP member benefits offer many ways to help make it even easier.
Did you hear that?
Mild hearing loss is common with age. In fact, it is one of the most common conditions affecting older adults. Hearing problems that are ignored or untreated can get worse. They can also lead to isolation, which in turn might lead to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, reduced mobility and falls.
Hearing issues are easily corrected with hearing aids, yet only one in four adults who could benefit from hearing aids has ever used them. Fortunately, getting a hearing aid is easier than ever. In October, over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids became available for adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss.
For adults with more severe hearing loss, OTC hearing aids might not amplify sounds enough. Taking a simple hearing test can evaluate your hearing, avoid future issues and improve quality of life. AARP members can save on hearing care and hearing aids. With AARP® Hearing Solutions™ provided by UnitedHealthcare Hearing, members receive a no-cost UnitedHealthcare Hearing’s test and personalized support through a large nationwide network of hearing providers. They can also save 20% on hearing aids and 15% on accessories.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) recognizes dentophobia, or fear of the dentist, as a specific phobic disorder in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). It’s little wonder, then, that in the TIME-Harris poll, dental exams or cleanings were the most frequently missed.
However, regular dental care is an important part of overall health. It can also monitor and prevent disease. Studies have increasingly found a link between dental issues like plaque, gum disease, gingivitis and other more serious conditions in the body, including memory loss. By visiting the dentist regularly, conditions can be monitored or even corrected before they get worse. Learn about dental insurance options designed for AARP members that include regular cleanings and coverage you can count on for the most common dental procedures to make keeping your dentist appointment even less painful.
Eye exams were another commonly missed appointment during the pandemic, ranking third of the listed skipped procedures. Poor eyesight is frustrating and can impact quality of life and safety.
Having an eye exam isn’t just for a vision test. Eye conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts become more common with age and can be treated if found early. The eyes can also be early indicators of conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, anemia and cancer.
AARP members enjoy vision care discounts through AARP® Vision Discounts provided by EyeMed to help them and their families save on lenses and frames at participating retailers and independent provider locations nationwide and online. Savings include 50% on prescription lenses with the purchase of a frame at LensCrafters, 30% on a complete pair of glasses (frames and lenses) at Glasses.com, and an additional $10 on a complete pair at Target Optical.
Self-care is primary
At one time, skipping that primary care visit may have seemed like a lower risk than a possible COVID exposure. Because people were feeling well, they might not have returned. Effective primary care can provide critical preventive care, especially if health problems aren’t causing symptoms.
AARP members and non-members have access to quality care with Oak Street Health, a primary care provider specializing in older adults on Medicare with a team of doctors, nurses and other professionals dedicated to keeping you well — physically, mentally and socially at more than 160 centers across 21 states. Benefits include personalized preventive care plans, same-day/next-day appointments where available, a 24/7 healthcare patient support line and more. Plus, you can download free comprehensive checklists to help you make the most of primary care visits. AARP membership is not required to visit an Oak Street Health location.
Keep up the momentum
Now that you’re seeing your provider regularly, you can reevaluate your medication needs and get your prescriptions up to date. Save on prescriptions and never miss a refill with AARP® Prescription Discounts provided by Optum Rx®. The program offers a free prescription discount card that can be used at over 66,000 pharmacies nationwide on FDA-approved prescriptions. Members receive additional benefits such as deeper discounts on medications, home delivery, coverage for dependents and more.
Getting your health in order could also mean more trips to stores like Walgreens. When you link your AARP and myWalgreens® memberships, you'll earn 10% Walgreens Cash rewards on Walgreens branded health and wellness products, 7% Walgreens Cash rewards on Walgreens branded beauty & personal care products and 3% Walgreens Cash rewards on other qualifying beauty & personal care products.
Stay on track by supplementing your visits with a healthy lifestyle — including your mental health along with your physical health.
A great way to step back and focus on your mental health is by traveling and experiencing something new. Booking your next trip is easy and affordable with the AARP Travel Center Powered by Expedia. Members get an extra 10% off at select hotels and up to 30% off select car rentals, along with many other rebates and credits for cruises, group bookings and more.
The last three years have disrupted our lives and routines in unprecedented ways, and finding our way back may sometimes be harder than anticipated. Take advantage of the new year as a time for a head-to-toe wellness check. By taking advantage of your AARP member benefits, it’s one resolution that will be easy to keep. Visit aarp.org/benefits for more details.
AARP member benefits are provided by third parties, not by AARP or its affiliates. Providers pay a royalty fee to AARP for the use of its intellectual property. These fees are used for the general purposes of AARP. Some provider offers are subject to change and may have restrictions. Please contact the provider directly for details.