Aging is marked by increased degenerative processes and decreased generative processes. It is a normal biological process that differs from a disease process. Unlike the disease process, aging affects everyone who lives past a certain age. People begin to experience age-related changes at different ages depending on their lifestyles and genetic composition. That said, this paper documents the results of an interview that solicited the views of an elderly person regarding aging compares the age-related changes identified during the interview with those learned from the class reading materials, identify the outstanding preliminary issues, and proposes the most common health alterations that come with age and their possible solutions. Assessing an Elderly Person:
The elderly that was interviewed was an 80-year-old Latino female. The respondent was first diagnosed with hypertension twenty years ago and five years later, she was diagnosed with diabetes. In addition to hypertension and diabetes, the respondent has other age-related changes that made her the most suitable person to be selected for the interview.
The predominant age-related changes documented in class readings include various systemic changes like changes in the skin, a decline in hearing, blurred vision, memory loss, and a high risk for age-related chronic illnesses like diabetes. Some of the age-related changes, like the changes in the skin leading to wrinkles and age spots, were observable in the respondent. Besides, the respondent is diabetic and hypertensive, which confirms that the risk for age-related chronic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, and arthritis increases with age, as documented in the reading materials. Lastly, during the interview, the respondent attested to having impaired hearing, using a visual aid, and memory loss.
A lot of preliminary issues were identified during the interview that clearly showed that the respondent was experiencing age-related changes. To start with, all through the interview, the respondent struggled to remember certain important dates that most people often have at their fingertips. For instance, she could not figure out the exact year she had her firstborn. Secondly, the respondent had wrinkles and age spots all over her face. Thirdly, the respondent frequently excused herself to go and empty her bladder during the interview. Fourthly, despite using a visual aid, the respondent still struggled to read the questionnaire, although the questionnaire was purposedly written in bold and conspicuous letters. Lastly, the respondent requested on several occasions for the questions to be asked again louder. These preliminary issues confirmed that the respondent might be having memory loss, hearing impairment, blurred vision, and various systemic changes like changes in skin and bladder. According to Li et al. (2021), the changes in the skin with age can be attributed to the decrease of the fatty tissue beneath the skin resulting in a decrease in the natural oil that keeps the skin moist. This, in turn, causes wrinkles and age spots. Besides, aging causes the walls of the bladder to become less elastic, making one urinate more frequently.
A decline in cognitive skills is one of the most common occurrences in elderly people. The deterioration of cognitive health in the elderly can be attributed to a decrease in mental stimulation, as most elderly people do not engage in activities that stimulate their minds (Mioni et al., 2019). In their youthful years, their minds were always stimulated by activities such as work, creating friendships and relationships, and taking care of their young ones. However, as they retire from work and watch their children settle into their own lives, the elderly tend to cease taking part in most of these activities that stimulate the mind. This results in a loss of cognitive skills, which predominantly affects their memory and thinking.
The first intervention that can help improve the elderly’s cognitive skills is committing to regular little to moderate physical activity. Regular physical activity stimulates the production and release of neurotransmitters that are often depleted in people with reduced cognitive skills (Mioni et al., 2019). Besides, regular physical activity also helps relieve stress, anxiety and depression that greatly reduce the function of the brain. Secondly, various mental stimulation exercises like listening to music, reading a book, and playing board games can also help sharpen one’s cognitive skills. Lastly, a healthy diet based on fruits and vegetables can also help improve brain function (Mioni et al., 2019). Besides, foods such as green, leafy vegetables and fatty fish can help boost brain function.
Another organ that is largely affected by aging is the heart. The walls of the arteries often become less elastic with age and stiffen. This is further worsened by the deposits of lipofuscin, an aging pigment. With stiffening of the arterial walls makes it harder for the blood to flow through them easily. This causes the heart to adjust by pumping blood with an additional force that is proportionate to the resistant force in the walls of the arteries. As a result, the heart adjusts to the new arrangement and continues to pump blood with the additional force even when one is at rest. This results in high blood pressure and increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
The remedies for a change in the cardiovascular system include regular physical activity, a healthy diet, and adequate sleep. Regular physical exercise and a healthy diet result in a healthy heart, and as usual, a healthy heart pumps blood with less force. Regular physical exercise prevents conditions such as overweight and obesity that increase one’s risk for developing cardiovascular problems. Besides, basing a diet around fruits and vegetables in addition to avoiding saturated fats and salts reduces one’s risk for cardiovascular disease. Lastly, adequate sleep is necessary as it helps repair the heart muscles and the walls of the blood vessels (Li et al., 2021).
The Musculoskeletal is the other body system that is mostly affected by aging. With age, the bones tend to shrink in size and density, making them susceptible to fractures. The muscles become less flexible and weak. The changes in the bone and muscles affect one’s stability, balance, and coordination (Li et al., 2021).
Regular physical exercise is one of the best remedies for a change in the musculoskeletal system. Regular physical exercise strengthens the bones and muscles in addition to preventing bone loss. In this case, various weight-bearing exercises such as weightlifting and staircase climbing are recommended. Secondly, a healthy diet with lots of calcium and vitamin D also helps in bone growth and prevents bone loss (Li et al., 2021). There exist an array of foods that are rich in calcium. These include tuna, tofu, broccoli, and dairy products. On the other hand, vitamin D can naturally be obtained from the sun. It also exists in foods such as eggs, salmon, and tuna.
One cultural factor that will be put into consideration when devising a health promotion plan for the respondent will be the diet. There will be a need for the respondent to work with a dietitian to devise a dietary plan that is based on healthy Hispanic foods to increase the respondent’s adherence to the dietary plan. Besides, it will be appropriate to know when and how certain foods are prepared and taken in Hispanic culture.
In conclusion, nearly all the age-related changes learned from the reading materials overlap with those identified during the interview. Besides, some of the most common health alterations that occur with age include a decline in cognitive health and a change in cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems. These age-related changes can easily be corrected through regular physical activity and a healthy diet.
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