Importance of the Topic
Many changes happen to humans' bodies as they age. The demands on the body also change. A significant portion of America's healthcare expenditure goes to taking care of older adults' healthcare needs. The healthcare needs have increased because of the poor diet of the older population leading to chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart diseases and certain types of cancers. A healthy diet is important for all age groups, but for the older adults, the situation becomes dire because of their lifestyle changes. The older generation has a sedentary lifestyle that encourages obesity. A healthy diet could help reduce the risk of them developing obesity. A healthy diet also helps them avoid chronic diseases like diabetes and heart conditions. Organs such as pancreas get weak with age. Therefore, a healthy diet will reduce the amount of work that the pancreas needs to do to regulate blood sugar. A healthy diet also enables older adults to get the nutrients they need. Their weakened immune system requires a boost from consuming healthy food. Alemayehu & Warner (2004) say that 79% of a person's lifetime medical expenditure will occur above the age of 40 and 60% of the medical lifetime expenditure will occur above the age of 65. I, therefore, think teaching older adults to eat healthily is the best way to reduce lifetime healthcare expenditure.
Methods and Strategies to Meet the Health Literacy Learning Needs for Older Population
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009) indicates that the age group above 65 have the lowest number of people with proficient learning skills. The same organization shows that 71% of people above the age of 60 have a problem with using print materials. This figure means that print materials such as books and handouts are not the best way of reaching out to older adults. My mode of teaching will, therefore, have little print materials because the literacy needs of the older generation do not support such teaching and learning techniques.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009) also indicates that 80% of older adults have difficulty with materials such as forms and charts. The CDC also says 68% of older adults have difficulty interpreting numbers and doing calculations. These are materials that require some form of thinking and analysis. Forms, for example, require a great deal of thinking from the respondent's part. Charts and other forms of data analysis techniques such as graphs require high data interpretation skills. My teaching project will, therefore, avoid these types of teaching materials because they do not favor the group that the project is targeting.
Unfortunately, the largest portion of older adults belongs to below basic literacy skills level. Therefore, powerpoint representations will be the main form of teaching for the project. Like most powerpoints projects, the content will be in point form. The presentation will be direct as possible by using little writings. Powerpoint presentation is also preferable because it allows for some form of interaction between the learner and the presenter. Since it is a presentation, those with impaired eyesight can depend on their hearing ability by listening to the presenter. With some few adjustments in the form of color, clarity, and size of the slides, those with eyesight problems can have a clearer view. The ones with impaired hearing can depend on their eyesight to understand the presentation.
The slides will depend on pictorial representations rather than graphs. According to Growing Leaders, (2014), visual learners make up 65% of the human population. That means if the project is seeking to reach a majority of the population, it has to depend on visual learning as its main mode of teaching. Based on the learning needs of older adults it is also important to use demonstrations. Demonstrations are part of visual learning, but they play a different role. Demonstrations allow the learners to interact with the teacher and the project. Interaction is important because it increases the probability of the learner to remember. Poor memory is among the learning problems that older adults have, and if this project can manage to tackle the issue of memory, then it will turn out to be a success.
The project will address three main areas of a healthy diet. The first section is a healthy weight where it will define what healthy weight is. According to NIDDK (2012), a Body Mass Index(BMI) of 18.5 to 24.9 is the score for an adult with a healthy weight. The project will, therefore, discuss how to maintain a good BMI using healthy eating. The (NIDDK, 2012)advises older adults to eat a wide variety of foods that include fruits, vegetables, fat-free, low-fat foods, seafood beans among others. The same organization advises against sugar, foods with butter, white bread, rice, pasta that come from refined grain. The project will also discuss healthy eating plans for the older generation. People are likely to eat a lot when they are distracted. It is therefore advisable for the older generation to avoid eating while, watching, or using other gadgets like computers (NIDDK, 2012). It is also advisable to cook ahead of time and keep the food frozen to cater for the days when one is not in the mood to cook. These are among the information that the project will present using the sources referenced.
Alemayehu, B., & Warner, K. (2004, June). The Lifetime Distribution of Health Care Costs. Health Services Research, 39(3), 627-642. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1361028/#!po=2.63158
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2009). Improving Health Literacy for Older Adults: Expert Panel Report 2009. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthliteracy/developmaterials/audiences/olderadults/index.html
Growing Leaders. (2014, January 1). "In Other Words" - Why is Teaching with Images so Effective? (Part 1). Retrieved from Growing Leaders: https://growingleaders.com/blog/why-is-teaching-with-images-so-effective-part-1/
NIDDK. (2012, August). Health Tips for Older Adults. Retrieved from National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/health-tips-older-adults
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