CANNON FALLS, Minn.—Vern and Bonnie Holt know the importance of taking proactive steps to maintain their home — and their health. Lifelong residents of Cannon Falls, the retired couple has been married 56 years and lives together independently in their own home. Thanks to some health tips and home safety suggestions they received during a free preventive screening known as the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit at Mayo Clinic Health System, the Holts’ can continue to enjoy their independent lifestyle.
What is a Medicare Annual Wellness Visit and who is eligible?
“It’s a great preventive measure,” says Bonnie Holt, age 80. “By sharing more detailed information with the nurse, it really enhances the visit and the time we spend with the physician.”
During the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit, a registered nurse meets once a year with a patient to create a personalized prevention plan. The visit also entails establishing medical and family history, current medications, vital signs and a screening of the individual’s functional ability and level of safety. The prevention plan and health concerns noted by the nurse then are shared with the patient’s primary care provider prior to the annual exam. People age 65 or older who are enrolled in Medicare Part B are eligible for this screening.
Safety at home
Mary Pat Danckwart, a registered nurse in Cannon Falls, meets with both Bonnie and Vern Holt. At their most recent visit, they discussed some positive changes the couple has made to their home recently that will allow them to safely stay in their home, which was one of their identified goals from their last visit. The couple has modified their home by:
- Moving the laundry room from the basement to the main level
- Adding a shower on the main level
- Installing a chair lift from the main level to the upper level of the house
During their visit, the couple learned about strategies to improve physical and mental health including smart nutrition choices, ways to improve memory, upcoming vaccinations needed and other preventive screenings.
“Some people choose to let their health slide, but we look forward to this visit every year,” says Vern Holt, age 88.
To learn more about the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit, a free presentation will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19 at Mayo Clinic Health System in Cannon Falls in the lower level conference room. Light refreshments will be served. To learn more, call 507-263-6000.
Vern and Bonnie Holt visit with Mary Pat Danckwart, a registered nurse, about proactive health measures and home safety during the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit.