The two most prevalent age-related changes that affect the lifestyles of the elderly are cognitive impairment and physical limitations, which are often caused by diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis. While age is the primary factor that could trigger cognitive impairment and physical limitation, the two can also be caused by family history, education level, brain injury, physical inactivity, Parkinsons disease and stroke. This essay discusses the two age-related changes, cognitive impairment and physical limitation, which can affect the lifestyles of the elderly.
Cognitive Impairment Changes
Cognitive impairment can create a shattering effect on an individuals emotional as well as physical well-being (Casel, 2002). Currently, there is no cure for cognitive impairment caused by Alzheimers or other related dementias. In order to help a patient and his/her family to adjust to these changes, it is imperative to understand the problems linked with the cognitive impairment changes, how they can be cured as well as how to cope up with them. This aids the patients to learn how to live with this form of impairment. Cognitive issues affect an individuals ability to recall past events, to concentrate on a task, to learn new information as well as to make simple decisions.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) approximates that there are more than sixteen million individuals in the U.S. living with cognitive challenges (CDC, 2011). Although the diagnosis of cognitive impairment can be difficult to accept, there are scientifically proven nursing interventions that can help patients manage the condition. Nurses can recommend lifestyle modifications to the older adult population, so as to enhance their cognition ability and memory. Community programs such as adult day care centers can also offer patients the opportunity to socialize and enjoy peer support in a safe and familiar environment (Ball et al., 2012).
Adult day care services offer the affected persons supervised care services, and small group activities such as computer training. They also offer games that improve the patients memories and reasoning skills, such as chess, bridge, crossword puzzles and bingo. In addition, the day care services offer patients physical exercise programs, meals and transportation. This program is beneficial because it provides a break to the caregivers that are responsible for the affected elderly patients. Normally, these are patients who cannot be left on their own, even though they may not require a twenty-four hour nursing care in a residential facility.
Physical Limitation Changes
The second, most prevalent age related change in the older adult population is the physical limitation change. This is due to immobility and inactivity associated with osteoporosis and arthritis. Osteoporosis causes the weakening of the bones, which makes the older adult population highly susceptible to bone fractures (Hurd, Zieve & Ogilvie, 2014). Arthritis, on the other hand, attacks the body joints and causes them to swell, inflame, stiffen and become severely painful. The diseases affect the elderly persons immensely by limiting their ADLs such as walking, climbing the stairs, bending or shopping. The affected persons are also limited to participate in regular social activities such as going to church, visiting their family and friends and participating in hobbies such as sewing and knitting.
Exercise programs are among the best ways to manage the pain caused by the diseases. They achieve this by slowing or preventing further complications with the patients bones and joints. A moderate exercise program can help the patient to maintain strength, balance and flexibility. Balancing exercises are essential for building leg muscles. Consequently, this helps the patients to stay independent by avoiding disabilities that could result from falls.
In addition, stretching exercises provides the patients with the freedom of movement, and also improves their endurance or strength. An endurance exercise can be any physical activity such as walking, jogging, swimming, biking and raking leaves. It is also essential for the patients to eat a well balance diet with plenty of calcium. Women, especially, requires more calcium and vitamin D as they continue to age. In addition, adequate rest can provide a better quality of life to the elderly during their aging process.
In summary, there are two primary changes that can affect the lifestyles of the elderly in the society. These include cognitive impairment changes and physical limitations. Cognitive impairment can be caused by Alzheimers disease among other related dementias. Elderly physical limitations, on the other hand, could be caused by diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis. However, proper nursing interventions can be employed to manage the two changes among the affected elderly population. Some of the most effective strategies may include undertaking physical exercising, eating a balanced diet, living in adult day care centers among others.
Ball et al. (2002, November 13). Effects of cognitive training interventions with older adults: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association. 288(18), 2271-2281. Retrieved August 13, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12425704
Cassel. (2002, November 13). Use it or lose it: activity may be the best treatment for aging. Journal of the American Medical Association, 288(18), 2333-2335. doi:10.1001/jama.288.18.2333
CDC. (2011, February). The number of people living with cognitive impairment in the United States is equal to twice the population of new York City. Cognitive Impairment: A Call for Action, Now! 1-4. Retrieved August 13, 2016, from https://www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/cognitive_impairment/cogimp_poilicy_final.pdf
Hurd, R., Zieve, D., Ogilvie, I. (2014, September 15). Aging changes in the bones - muscles - joints. Retrieved August 13, 2016, from University of Maryland Medical Center: http://umm.edu/health/medical/ency/articles/aging-changes-in-the-bones-muscles-joints
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