Ageing and Gerontological Nursing

The Meaning of Ageing

The increased elderly population both at the national and global level has placed the aging concept at the center of public debate. To provide a clear understanding of the concept, scholars have provided distinct definitions of ageing. Hirst (2012) defined the term ageing as the loss or decline of adaptation with increasing age. In his definition, Hirst (2012) argued that ageing came because of the progressive time drop of Hamilton’s natural selection force. This definition of ageing is consistent with the former evolutionary biologists’ definition. Moreira and Palladino (2009) defined ageing as the collective natural variations that take place with age. This definition inclines to the fact that the environment and diseases do not affect the ageing process. Moreira and Palladino (2009) added that not all changes associated with ageing have adverse clinical effects. Lastly, Schiller, Lucas, Ward and Peregoy (2012) defined ageing as the progressive, generalized weakening of function that results in loss of an individual’s adaptive reaction to anxiety. In this definition, elderly people are at an increased risk of age-related diseases. Despite this definition of ageing, the World Health Organization (WHO) has promoted an ageing process where individuals grow old by maintaining physical, spiritual, as well as social accomplishments during their lifetime.

Gerontological Nursing and its Application to Community Nursing

In technical terms, gerontology comprises the medical and biological branches of aging education. Moreira and Palladino (2009) defined Gerontological Nursing as a field in nursing that concerns providing care to the elderly. In Gerontologic Nursing, nurses work in partnership with the elderly, their respective communities, as well as families in providing care to the elderly. Because of the availability of extensive management advice and clinical information, Geriatric Nursing provides nurses the skills needed to provide quality care to the elderly at the community level.

As a field, Gerontological Nursing provides practicing nurses with the skills related to specialized medical care for older persons, hospice, and palliative care. Among other skills learned in this field are specialty referrals such as podiatry, wound care, and in-home medical attention (Hirst, 2012). Gerontological Nursing provides gerontologists the appropriate Skills and knowledge needed to provide quality care to the elderly in the community. Once students in Gerontological Nursing have completed the eligibility necessities to take the accreditation exams and succeed, they get the appropriate credential to participate in community nursing (Scharlach & Lehning, 2012). Qualified gerontological nurses can apply skills and knowledge learned in Gerontological Nursing to provide care to the elderly in the community.

Aging Statistics Based on 2010 National Census and Healthy People 2020 Target Goals

As the number of seniors in America continues to increase, it is important to understand population growth trends. Statistics on the ageing population help policymakers to create a framework for addressing the implications of ageing within the community. U.S. Census Bureau recognizes individuals aged 65 years and above to be the senior part of the American population (Schiller, et al., 2012). According to the 2010 National Census, people aged 65 years, and above were more than the rest of the population. Comparing the growth rate of 9.7 percent of the rest of the population, American Seniors grew at a faster rate (51.1). Besides, America’s male elderly population recorded the highest growth rate in America. Such an uneven increase in older men has made a significant contribution to the growth of the total seniors’ population. The uneven growth in the elderly male population has also lessened the gap between elderly men and women (Scharlach & Lehning, 2012). As a national disease prevention and health promotion government initiative, Healthy People 2020 helps people and agencies is a platform used to improve the overall health of the elderly population. In line with its vision, the Healthy people 2020 initiative is committed to improving health among the elderly.

Community Issues Affecting the Elderly Population

America’s elderly population faces a broad range of issues. Understanding health problems among the senior population are critical to the American National policy. As the aging population continues to expand, there is a need to understand the issues that affect the elderly population in America (Scharlach & Lehning, 2012). The three critical issues that influence the elderly population include multiple chronic conditions management, low numbers of educated nurses, and financial matters. To begin with, elderly people are in constant need of help in multiple chronic conditions management. Between 2008 and 2009, life expectancy in men increased from 48 to 74 years, while that of women rose from 51 to 80 years (Hirst, 2012). As more Americans continue to age, they face multiple exposures to chronic conditions. These conditions limit them from taking part in community activities.

Another problem faced by America’s ageing population is the small number of educated nurses who can provide geriatric-centered care. The shortage of qualified nurses is accelerating problems faced by the aged population. The lack of qualified nurses presents a challenge in providing quality care to the elderly. The government should recruit more gerontology nurses to meet future challenges. The financial issue is another problem faced by the elderly population in America (Hirst, 2012). America’s seniors together with their families are facing economic issues such as getting access to treatment as well as resources that will support their health. Financial issues faced by the elderly have a close association with the increased spending on multiple prescriptions for chronic diseases. Lastly, cultural values have not given elderly people in the American Society enough support. Despite the recent health improvements, the American people are living in trepidation and fear of their seniors.


Hirst, S. (2012). Grandparenting Today Is Changing Gerontological Nursing Practice. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 38(4), 3-4.

Moreira, T., & Palladino, P. (2009). Ageing between Gerontology and Biomedicine. Biosocieties, 4(4), 349-365.

Scharlach, A., & Lehning, A. (2012). Ageing-friendly communities and social inclusion in the United States of America. Ageing and Society, 33(01), 110-136.

Schiller, J. S., Lucas, J. W., Ward, B. W., & Peregoy, J. A. (2012). Summary health statistics for US Adults: The national health interview survey, 2010. Vital and Health Statistics. Series 10, Data from the National Health Survey, 10(252), 1-207.

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