Christmas music can be nostalgic and put you in a holiday mood or—after endless repetition at the grocery store, gas station, daily commute, and gym—somewhat annoying. But there’s a yuletide logic to making a list and checking it twice, especially as the calendar year draws to a close. So in between mulled cider and gift wrap, shopping and gingerbread, make a healthcare checklist for yourself and your family. It’s a great time to start scheduling appointments for the new year because these resolutions are super easy to keep.
No matter your age, it’s a good idea to start with the important things. Log in to your insurance provider’s website and check if you have any vaccinations, immunizations, or booster shots due. Some things, like the flu shot, are done annually but others like tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (the Tdap) are only every ten years. Then there are vaccines tied to a specific age. Most are completed during school years but some, like the shingles vaccine, are administered to adults over 50.
While you’re scanning records, are you due (or overdue!) for a physical or check-up? They’re no longer recommended every year for healthy adults but it’s always a good idea to check in if anything changes or you have questions. They’ll discuss family medical history, ask about ongoing concerns, and possibly order lab tests for cholesterol, diabetes, or hepatitis C.
And don’t forget to visit the eye doctor as well. Doctors check children’s eyes as they grow but unless vision problems emerge, adults should have a complete exam by age 40 and start annual visits over the age of 60. Even if you don’t need glasses or contacts, exams can check for warning signs of glaucoma or damage due to diabetes or the medication you take
Then it’s tooth time. Dental visits should be scheduled annually, so dentists can keep accurate records and your teeth get a thorough deep cleaning. These trips do more than just keep your smile holiday-bright. Dental problems have been shown to put people at risk for heart disease, pneumonia, endocarditis, and pregnancy complications, says the Mayo Clinic.
While you’re digging through records, check the status of your HSA or FSA. Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts let you set aside money for medical use each year. HSA’s, say experts, “allow you to contribute up to $3,550 per year for self coverage and up to $7,100 for family coverage in 2020. And those funds, which you can choose to invest in mutual funds to potentially grow your savings, will roll over, year after year if you don’t spend them.”
FSA’s are similar but offered through employers and the cap is under $3,000. “But any money you put in this account operates under a ‘use it or lose it’ approach. That means you’re supposed to spend everything you put in the account within the calendar year, or else you could lose out on that money.” Funds for both types of accounts can be used for health, vision, and dental care costs, equipment, and medical devices.
Throughout this process, take a personal physical inventory too. What aches have you been living with too long? What pains do you regularly dull with ibuprofen and naproxen? It might be time to talk to your primary care doctor about setting up a visit to Pacific Surgical Center (PSC) and deal with the underlying issue for good.
PSC’s skilled team will happily sit down to discuss treatment and outpatient surgery options that can finally restore mobility, balance, and the spring in your step. Whether your needs require orthopedic, urology, gastroenterology, podiatry, or general surgery treatment, procedures are done safely with cutting-edge equipment and highly trained staff. You’ll be home the same day to rest and recover fully. And with clearly posted transparency pricing, there won’t be any springtime sticker shock.
And now that you’ve made your list and checked it twice, it’s time for the best part: checking vacation days. Have too many? Don’t let them expire! Taking a break is good for physical, mental, and emotional health and we could all use a boost. Don’t want to travel? Read a book, take walks, paint the kitchen, winter-proof your yard, or just binge your favorite holiday movies with a big bowl of popcorn.
The last few years have been doozies. We could all use a silent night and long winter’s nap. But at least you can make a healthcare list and check it twice before raising a glass of champagne to a happy, pain-free New Year.