question: What do you think are the two most prevalent age-related changes that affect the lifestyle of the elderly? How would you help an elderly patient adjust to the two changes you identified? answer: 1.) Differentiate between age-related changes and risk factors. A unique challenge of caring for older adults is the need to differentiate between age-related changes and risk factors, because the interventions for age-related changes differ from those for risk factors. Age-related changes cannot be reversed or altered, but it is possible to compensate for their effects so that wellness outcomes are achieved. By contrast, risk factors can be modified or eliminated to improve functioning and quality of life for older adults. In the Functional Consequences Theory, age-related changes are the inherent physiologic processes that increase the vulnerability of older people to the detrimental effects of risk factors. From a bodymindspirit perspective, however, age-related changes are not limited to physiologic aspects but include potential for increased cognitive, emotional, and spiritual development. Thus, nurses holistically focus on the whole person by identifying age-related changes that can be strengthened to improve the older adults ability to adapt to physiologic decline. For example, nurses can work with older adults to strengthen their coping skills. In addition, nurses have many opportunities to build on the wisdom of older adults, especially their everyday problem-solving skills, by teaching about interventions to address risk factors (Miller). 2.) Address the risk factors in relation to prevention and treatment of their medical conditions. A major focus of wellness-focused nursing is to identify risk factors that can be addressed through health promotion interventions. For example, from a health promotion perspective, nurses routinely assess for risks associated with stress, smoking, obesity, poor nutrition, and inadequate physical activity. An aspect that is unique to caring for older adults is the need to identify myths or ageist attitudes that can affect health care. For example, if urinary incontinence is mistakenly attributed to normal aging, then the older adult will not receive appropriate evaluation and interventions. Environmental risks are also particularly pertinent to older adults because additional risk factors, such as sensory, mobility, or cognitive impairments, can compromise their safety and functioning. Identification of risk factors is an integral aspect of the Functional Consequences Theory because nurses have numerous opportunities for promoting wellness by identifying and addressing the many modifiable factors that affect functioning and quality of life for older adults (Miller).
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