Health issue of the Elderly
Older adults experience many challenges due to their declining health status. As their body grows weaker, they depend on the family member to care for them. In addition, older adults are prone to injury, illness, complications from medication use, social isolation, and mental health issues (Dury 2014; Warshaw, 2006). The focal point of this paper is to identify health problems and formulate intervention for the top three health issues in this population.
One of the health issue faced by the elderly is chronic illness, which includes hypertension, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, arthritis, hearing and vision disorders, diabetes, stroke, and cancer (Warshaw, 2006). Many elderly have experience complications and discomfort due to their chronic diseases. In the article, it states that the median age for developing cancer is 70 years old, while respiratory condition remains as the cause of death in the elderly (Warshaw, 2006).
Chronic illness places limitations on what an individual can and can’t do. Pain can impact the ways you cope and it can cause an increase in respiration, heart rate, and cardiac output, which can have a negative impact on the elderly.
Social isolation is another health issue in the elderly population. Elderly are more vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation, which puts them at risk for health and social issues (Courtin, 2017; Dury, 2014). According to (Fässberg, 2016) physical illness and functional disability may lead to a loss of autonomy, isolation, pain, increase the burden on social networks, and the development of depression. Depression can affect the ways you function, and it can cause a great impact on your overall health as well. Research by (Yoshimura, 2013) showed that there is a strong correlation between depression and nutritional status.
Elderly are more susceptible to nutrient deficiency due to chronic illness, mental illness, and physiological changes (Baker, 2007; Yoshimura, 2013). Having multiple chronic illnesses can be difficult when it comes to getting the right amount of nutrients the body need. The research by Baker (2017) stated that elderly should be at least getting, six servings of grain, two pieces of fruit, three vegetable servings, two serving of meats, three servings of dairy products, and drinking at least eight glasses of water daily. This can be energy demanding on the elderly, which can cause a lack of interest at mealtime, leading to malnutrition. Certain illness requires additional supplements or diet restriction, and without a proper balance in nutrients, it can cause worsening of an illness (Baker, 2017).
Health Interventions for the elderly
Elderly were found to have many health issues and some of those include chronic illness, social isolation, and malnutrition. The focal point of this section is to identify three interventions to address these health issues.
One of the health issue faced by the elderly is chronic illness, which includes hypertension, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, arthritis, hearing and vision disorders, diabetes, stroke, and cancer (Warshaw, 2006). One of the interventions for this issue will be offering a smoking and drinking cessation course to help educate the elderly and their family about the consequences associated with these habits (Warshaw, 2006). The course would include, the risk of smoking and drinking, the benefit of cessation, able to recognize sign and symptoms of withdrawal and healthy ways to cope through it, and healthy alternative methods to smoking and drinking. This will be a two hours course taught by students and doctor and nurses working in this fields. There will be three sessions available and the event will be held at the community center on Friday evening, Saturday morning and evening.
Another intervention would be setting up a screening booth for the elderly in the community (Warshaw, 2006). The screening will include vitals, weight, height, bone density, and blood glucose. Education will be provided to ensure understanding of the result. Advice will be provided as well to help promote health. A referral will be made for those if needed. Bronchus will be available for the elderly to take it will provide additional information on healthy living. The screening will be held all day Saturday at the elementary school cafeteria located at the center of the neighborhood.
Another intervention would be having an education session on nonpharmacological ways to cope with pain. This education session will include the benefits, the advantage, and disadvantage of using nonpharmacological techniques to manage pain, and how to perform these techniques correctly, along with addressing any safety concerns for certain techniques. The techniques that will be discussed in this session include ice and heat, music, yoga, meditation, massage, exercise, guided imagery, self-hypnosis, and deep breathing technique. The class will provide snacks and hands on activity such as how to correctly apply an ice or heat pack, as well as, practicing some meditation techniques. This education session will be about three hours long. The class is held once every week for a month, rotating from Saturday morning and Sunday evening at the community center.
Social isolation is another health issue in the elderly population. Elderly are more vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation. One intervention is to use the mentoring model discussed in this article (Dury,2014). This method help provides social support to the elderly to combat loneliness. Volunteers will be mentoring the elderly and support the elderly through a difficult time or changes. The mentoring can be held by phone calls, videos chat or messaging. Volunteers will be required to check in with the elderly at least once per week.
The second intervention is having an education session on coping strategies. The topics will include: identifying the signs and symptoms of loneliness, addressing different types of coping strategies, and discussing the advantage and disadvantage of each comping strategies. The class will last about 2 hours and in the afternoon at the community center. The class will be offered on Friday late afternoon, Saturday and Sunday at noon.
The third interventions are using the befriending method (Dury, 2014). Volunteers will be visiting the elderly at their home and provide services such as shopping, transportation, and medication delivery. Some elderly cant’ leave the house because of their illness. Befriending can also provide the elderly with the socialization they desire which can also help reduce loneliness. Volunteers will visit the elderly at least twice a week for at least an hour per visit.
Elderly are more susceptible to nutrient deficiency due to chronic illness, mental illness, and physiological changes (Baker, 2007; Yoshimura, 2013). One intervention can be working with nutritionist and dietitian to hold a seminar for the elderly and caregiver relating to diet. Content that will be covered are, the daily amount of nutrient intake, food pyramids, the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, oral hygiene, positioning while feeding, and identifying ways to increase caloric needs. This seminar is a two hour course and will be offered in the lobby at the senior living facility. The best time to offer this course will be discussed with the manager at the facility.
The second intervention will be having a Body Mass Index (BMI) screening session set up at the elementary school cafeteria. Volunteers will be recruited to help with this event. The screening will include measuring height, weight, and each individuals BMI will be calculated. Educations will be offered to the individuals based on their results. Also, pamphlet will be provided with information about healthy living, tips on weight management, and information for caregivers to better care for their patients. The screening will be held all day Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Another intervention is to work with students and professionals to prepare a presentation on how to maintain adequate nutrition when dealing with chronic illnesses. Courses will contain diet related to hypertension, heart disease, kidney issues, osteoporosis, diabetes, stroke, and cancer. This presentation will be 2 hours long and it will be offered in the lobby at the senior living facility. The best time to offer this course will be discussed with the manager of the facility.
Baker, H. (2007). Nutrition in the elderly: Nutritional aspects of chronic diseases. Geriatrics, 62(9), 21–25. Retrieved from http://webpro.ctx.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=hch&AN=26602540&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Courtin, E., & Knapp, M. (2017). Social isolation, loneliness and health in old age: a scoping review. Health & Social Care in the Community, 25(3), 799–812. https://doi-org.webpro.ctx.edu/10.1111/hsc.12311
Dury, R. (2014). Social isolation and loneliness in the elderly: an exploration of some of the issues. British Journal of Community Nursing, 19(3), 125–128. Retrieved from http://webpro.ctx.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=hch&AN=94885770&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Fässberg, M. M., Cheung, G., Canetto, S. S., Erlangsen, A., Lapierre, S., Lindner, R., … Wærn, M. (2016). A systematic review of physical illness, functional disability, and suicidal behaviour among older adults. Aging & Mental Health, 20(2), 166–194. https://doi-org.webpro.ctx.edu/10.1080/13607863.2015.1083945
Warshaw, G. (2006). Introduction: Advances and challenges in care of older people with chronic illness. Generations, 30(3), 5-10. Retrieved from http://webpro.ctx.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.webpro.ctx.edu/docv iew/212228495?accountid=7023
Yoshimura, K., Yamada, M., Kajiwara, Y., Nishiguchi, S., & Aoyama, T. (2013). Relationship between depression and risk of malnutrition among community-dwelling young-old and old-old elderly people. Aging & Mental Health, 17(4), 456–460. https://doi-org.webpro.ctx.edu/10.1080/13607863.2012.743961
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