Have you ever misplaced your keys or forgotten the main ingredients to your family’s homemade lasagna recipe? While forgetfulness is common for all of us, it can also be an early warning sign of dementia. We’ll discuss more about dementia and how Medicare’s annual wellness visits can help you stay healthy.

What Should You Know About Dementia?

Dementia is a generalized term that includes several diagnoses, including Alzheimer’s Disease, and occurs when brain cells experience difficulty in communicating with each other. This can affect mood, feelings, behavior, thinking skills, and memory loss. Dementia is usually diagnosed by a neurologist or psychologist based on medical history, examination, and laboratory testing.

Unfortunately, dementia is usually progressive, meaning it worsens over time, and currently, there is no cure for the disease itself. However, there are some prescription medications that can lessen some symptoms associated with dementia.

Experts agree that some risk factors for dementia, like advancing age and genetics, cannot be changed or avoided. However, they do recommend making healthy lifestyle choices, engaging in daily physical activity, and doing tasks like crossword puzzles to prevent cognitive decline and lower your risk for dementia. As a Medicare beneficiary, your primary care provider will conduct an annual cognitive impairment assessment at your wellness visit to look for early signs of dementia.

What is a Wellness Visit under Medicare Part B?

If you have Medicare Part B, then you will complete a wellness visit with your primary care provider every 12 months after the first year of enrollment. This visit is crucial to preventing chronic disease and keeping you healthy. Your provider will review medical history and lifestyle habits in order to create a comprehensive wellness plan based upon your risk factors and current health status.

At the wellness visit, your provider may recommend additional testing. These services, which may include laboratory and diagnostic testing, are usually provided at little-to-no cost to you, making it an easy decision to participate. Non-laboratory testing (think CT scans, MRIs, etc.) might require a fee-based upon where the testing is completed.

Medicare Cares About Your Mental Health

While mental health is often not prioritized as much as physical health, your mental well-being is important to maintaining independence as long as possible. Your provider will complete a depression screen at your annual wellness visit and can offer additional resources if needed. As a Medicare beneficiary, you are covered for outpatient mental health services, including psychotherapy, family counseling, medication, and diagnostic testing.

How Medicare Can Help You

While changes related to your health and wellness can be unnerving and scary, annual preventive and wellness visits serve to address your concerns as early as possible.  You should take advantage of these preventive services that are offered through Medicare at little-to-no cost to you. Through these visits and screenings, your provider can identify early signs of illnesses, like dementia.

Your provider may recommend lifestyle changes or medications to improve your health status. Luckily, Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) can be purchased at the time of open enrollment, and there are two options (Medicare Advantage and Part D) to meet your needs.

If you’re interested in more information about Medicare’s preventive services or how to select the right prescription drug coverage, feel free to fill out the form or give us a call anytime to ask any questions that may be lingering. We guarantee you that your licensed agent is focused first and foremost on providing you with information with zero pressure to enroll in a plan.