NRS 434 Topic 5 Discussion Question one
Topic 5 DQ 1
Describe the characteristics of the aging process. Explain how some of the characteristics may lead to elder abuse (memory issues, vulnerability, etc.). Discuss the types of consideration a nurse must be mindful of while performing a health assessment on a geriatric patient as compared to a middle-aged adult.
Aging is an inevitable process in our lifecycle. Older adults are looked to for guidance and wisdom from those younger and far less wise than they are. When the mind or body starts to deteriorate younger generations tend to seek that guidance less and less. Some individuals tend to take in his or her parents when they get to the point where the body or mind start to diminish. After a time, these family members that take in the older aging adult can begin feeling the frustration of caring for someone else and not having them be the same person the family member remembers from younger years. Some examples of this frustration can be expressed through negative outlets such as verbal abuse, physical trauma inflicted, or lack of attention needed for daily living (bathing, eating, toileting, moving).
The population of older adults 65+ has steadily increased over recent years. According to Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, “The prediction is that older adults comprise 21% of the population by 2030” (2016). The aging process will likely bring about other chronic health conditions in that time. According to Green, “frailty includes the presence of biomedical factors that reduce the older adult’s ability to endure environmental stressors, such as hospitalization” (2018). Alarming numbers are reported by The World Health Organization in regards to elder-abuse or neglect; an estimated 1 out of 6 older adults fall victim. This is saddening because often times the abuser/ person neglecting is a close family member caring for the older adult. Memory loss and decrease physical abilities (different from findings of middle age adults) are a few reasons these older adults fall victim to the hands of caregivers, but identification of the fear and injuries is vital to ensure a safe and caring environment.
Nurses must utilize thorough assessment skills in order to identify signs and symptoms of elder abuse. Scattered bruising around the body that appear different colors. This indicates that the bruises are from different time periods. Elder abuse can also come in the form of malnourishment, pressure injuries, or the far less visible emotional/ verbal abuse. Though emotional and verbal abuse are less noticeable, asking many questions and just listening to the patient will que in certain details that nurses can likely pick up on to further evaluate the safety of his or her environment. Understanding that the older adult will likely not address any mistreatment. Patients and family members alike trust nurses and the care they provide; using that relationship and asking more personal detailed questions about findings is important to keep the patient(s) safe.
Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics. (2016). Older Americans 2016: Key Indicators of
Well-Being. Retrieved from https://agingstats.gov/docs/LatestReport/Older-Americans-2016-
Green, S. Z. (2018). Health assessment of the aging adult. In Grand Canyon University (Eds.), Health
assessment: Foundations for effective practice. https://lc.gcumedia.com/nrs434vn/health-
World Health Organization. (2018). Elder abuse. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/en/news-
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Thanks for your detailed assignment. I completely agree with you that aging is inevitable. It is a graceful period characterized by many
physical and psychological changes. Their health and body system changes. Hence, you see health issues dementia and amnesia. There is also decrease in function of most organs like the ears and eyes. The elderly is weak and usually dependent. Therefore, during assessment interview, the nurse should talk to the elderly alone and away from whoever brought them to the hospital. The nurse should provide privacy to be able to get the needed piece information from them especially when elder abuse is suspected. In addition, the nurse should be observant in order to get non-verbal cues in form of crying, checking to see if a relative is listening while trying to give an answer, etc. This is because the elderly is very scared of the loved ones and may not want to report them to healthcare providers so that they do not loss the care they get from such people.
The ageing of the global population is the most important medical and social demographic problem worldwide (Rudnicka n.d.). The population of adults in United States who are sixty- five and older increased by thirty percent between 2005-2015An anticipated population of eighty – five and older will reach by 2060 per Federal interagency forum on aging-related statistics (Grand Canyon University, n.d.). An individual body goes through lot of changes during the aging process such as hearing loss, normal loss of short-term memory, weak cardiovascular system, sensitive gastrointestinal system, limited range of motion to head, neck, legs, shoulder due to arthritis, graying, thinning of hair, wrinkled skin, thinning skin with loss of elasticity, skin turgor and eye may become sensitive to glare. These changes and conditions increase an older adult’s vulnerability to and injuries from abuse or neglect. Older adults often need assistance with activity of daily livings such as bathing, feeding, dressing and bathroom assistance due limited range of motion caused by arthritis. Older adults move slowly and take a long time for the caregiver to assist them. The care needs lot of resources to provide the needs of the elderly person and if there are lack of resources, it can lead to frustration to the caregiver and lead to elderly abuse.
The nurse should be mindful about the physiological changes that takes place due to ageing.
Bones become very brittle with aging and prone to fracture easily. At times, patient complaints of pain and unaware of the injury due to poor memory. In such scenarios, the nurse should be careful while performing the physical assessment to prevent further harm to the injured body part. Polypharmacy is another important consideration that the nurse should be mindful about assessing the patient. Elderly patient with multiple chronic medical conditions, takes several medications so the nurse should be aware of drug interaction and their effects. It is very important to understand these changes to be able to take care of the patient for their health safety and promotion of health.
Grand Canyon University. (n.d.). Health assessment of ageing adult.
Rudnicka, E., Napierała, P., Podfigurna, A., Męczekalski, B., Smolarczyk, R., & Grymowicz, M. (2020). The World Health Organization (WHO) approach to healthy ageing. Maturitas, 139, 6–11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2020.05.018