DESCRIBE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE AGING PROCESS NRS 434
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-
Mayreth Gonzalez Pena
replied toThomas Leen
Feb 25, 2022, 6:22 AM
Replies to Thomas Leen
I agree with Florence, older adult patients may not provide proper history of their illness due to their age. Often times verbal and non verbal clues help nurses determine patient’s condition. eg, the way the story is told, tempo of speech, tone of voice, eye contacts can help provide information to the nurse. Older adult patients may omit or deny symptoms of anxiety or depression, but betray them by a lowered voice, subdued enthusiasm or even tears. Nurses should not any changes in weight by changes in the fit of clothing or denture.