Project for Mind Your Screens and Cues

The Basic Steps

Step 1: Review the Staying Healthy Checklist

Review the staying healthy checklists (for women: www.ahrq.gov/ppip/women50.htm; and for men: www.ahrq.gov/ppip/men50.htm; also listed under Additional Resources) to see which screenings and vaccines your friends, family or people in your community should be getting. Healthy working adults who receive flu shots report fewer respiratory illnesses, fewer days of sick leave and fewer visits to a doctor.

Healthy working adults who receive flu shots report fewer respiratory illnesses, fewer days of sick leave and fewer visits to a doctor.

Step 2: Persuade Someone to Get the Needed Screens and Vaccines

You might need to turn on your powers of persuasion to get people to agree to tests and shots. Show them the “Staying Healthy” checklist for their age and sex (under Additional Resources). Share some statistics from the Tip Sheet in this guide on how preventive care really helps people stay healthier later in life.

Many people have a long list of reasons for avoiding medical visits. Don’t fight them on every point. Just ask them to do it for you and for their family. Tell them that the people who love them want to enjoy their company for many more years to come, and this is one quick, easy step in helping to make that happen. See the Tip Sheet in this guide for more suggestions.

Make note of all the medications the person is taking so they can share that information with the health care provider, if asked. This is more important with vaccines than with screenings, but could be useful information in either case.

For additional tips on helping someone prepare for a checkup, see Create the Good’s Take a Loved One to the Doctor how-to guide.

“Here I am, the health and fitness ambassador for AARP, speaking to millions each month about staying healthy, and I let my annual checkups fall to the bottom of my to-do list. It's not all about eating right and exercising: preventive steps can make just as much — or in some cases more — of a difference. Getting my mammogram literally saved my life.”

— Martina Navratilova AARP Health and Fitness Ambassador

Step 3: Identify Locations for Services and Help Someone Get There

Doctors’ offices, hospitals and health clinics offer screenings and vaccines, but they’re not your only options. Your local pharmacy, community center and other gathering places often will offer flu shots, cholesterol screenings and other simple preventive services. Many employers offer such services as well. Check with your human resources department to see if they have anything planned for the year. Even if they don’t, they may have suggestions for efficient, reliable and affordable screens and vaccines.

Also check with your local health department and read the local newspaper; both should have information on screenings and vaccines in your community. Another option is The AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour (www.wellnesstour2010.com/). The Wellness Tour buses are driving across America offering free screenings in many communities. Some sites may require an appointment, so call before taking or sending anyone there.

Find out from a web search or a quick call to the provider what to expect at the visit. Quick, noninvasive screening? Taking a drop of blood? A mildly painful shot? A few minutes on a treadmill? Then share this information with the person who will get the care. If people know what to expect at the visit and don’t encounter any unwanted surprises, they are more likely to appreciate the value of the care — and that means they’ll be more willing to return for screens and vaccines in the future.

Make sure the person knows the appointment dates and times, and remind them a day or two in advance. If they do not have their own transportation, help ensure that they have reliable transport to and from the visits — from you, one of their family members or public transportation.

Screenings can help doctors detect and treat breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Hispanic/Latina women are more likely to die from breast cancer than from any other cancer. Breast cancer is also the second leading cancer death among black women. African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely than people in other racial groups to die from colorectal cancer.

Screenings can help doctors detect and treat breast cancer and colorectal cancer.

Step 4: Encourage Others To Get Services

Share your enthusiasm for screenings and vaccines with your community! Use email lists, electronic newsletters, social networking websites and other online communications to reach a lot of people quickly and easily.

Encourage people to become familiar with the screenings and vaccines checklists, and let them know how you found places to get services.

Think of places you gather with friends and family and how you might help others in your group make themselves a priority. Take the checklist to family gatherings, church groups, neighborhood card games or garden clubs and talk to your friends about why it’s important to get immunized and screened. Include a reference in your annual holiday letter or add a tag line in your email signature (like “Get routine vaccines and screenings: Preventive care now saves lives later.”).

Step 5: Follow Up

Many screenings and shots need to be done annually. Here are some tips to continue with your screening and shot routines:

  • Schedule the next appointment at the end of their visit.
  • Have the doctor, clinic, or health provider send them a reminder in the mail or give them a call when the time for their next screening or immunization nears.
  • Keep in touch with family and friends and remind each other of their next service.
  • If eligible, have them enroll in Medicare to have a free annual well-visit to a doctor and receive a personalized disease prevention plan.
  • Mark their calendar.

Step 6: Inspire Others on Createthegood.org

KEEP UP THE GOOD!

Visit www.CreateTheGood.org for a range of opportunities to use your life experience, skills and passions to benefit your community.