Numerous diseases affect old people. The cost of curing these diseases has for a long time been a burden to the economies of many countries in the world. There is a need to evaluate the problem. Currently, as eating habits and human activities change, there is an increased life span; however, it comes with its disadvantages. The body becomes weak by age and thus numerous diseases easily attack the elderly. Many of the diseases result in depression and lack of sleep.
Overall Purpose and Audit Objectives
The purpose of the research is to evaluate the health of the elderly. It is accepted that numerous diseases affect old people; with this in mind, this paper seeks to achieve the following objectives
- To find out the major diseases that affect the elderly
- To evaluate the quality of health care available in the country
- To evaluate the diseases suffered as a result of depression
- To gauge the extent to which lack of enough sleep affects the health of the elderly?
- To find out what should be done to improve the health of the current old people and the future generation of the old.
Getting old is inevitable in the life of human beings, each day that passes means that one has become older. A child has no issues with growing like the way a grown-up (those who are above forty-five) will have. Many issues come along with growing old; they range from diseases, more responsibilities, and deteriorated health. There are some things that an individual can do when young to reduce the negative impacts of old age and some things are meant to be. Many reasons can result in depression; but from a general perspective, it has been noted that it is influenced by a combination of environmental, and genetic factors. Our daily life may result in stress; since the way, people interpolate things is different a situation that may result in stress to one person may not be a stressful situation to another. As one grows he becomes more vulnerable to stress than when young; he becomes more sensitive to things that affect (and sometimes do not affect) his or her life. Statistics show that women are the ones that are more stressed but they overcome the condition more easily since they talk out their problems more often than not; despite the number of depressed being more on women the severe conditions that result from it are seen more in men (Richard Satahta, and Vemuri, 2004:9).
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) ten percent of the 35million people over the age of 65 years suffer from the depression-related condition. One of the major factors that make depression prevail in society is that it is seen as a normal situation of life and thus those suffering from it are seen as undergoing the normal way of life; this is though not so because the effect of depression especially in old age can be so severe that it leads to death. This brings us to the question of what is adequate sleep; most people sleep between three to ten hours a day, but medical experts suggest the six to eight hours a day are enough to leave one refreshed and rejuvenated for the next day (Thins, Costall, and Butterworth, 1994:67).
Statistics show that over 80% of those suffering from depression have sleeping problems; this shows the need to understand the connection between depression and sleep. When one is in a depression circumstance, the mind is not at peace and thus it is willing to work extra hard to attain an equilibrium of peace and comfort. It then interpolates the situation as a moment to think and deliberate the issues at hand. This leads to one not having sleep or staying for long before sleeping.
Sleep is important for the health and well-being of an individual, lack of sleep leads to health complications that lead to further costs and problems. What makes the diseases even more complicated is because they are not diagnosed and treated early enough. The symptom of a depressed person vary but in general, they are seen in moods swings, being nervous, having a feeling of emptiness, feeling unloved, restlessness, and irritability. The above signs are the resultant of the affected psychological situation of the depressed (Cathy, Christensen, and Katheleen 2005:56).
The importance/ effect can be discussed from psychological, medical, social, and economic angles
Depression is a condition of the mind, it is the mental aspect of the human being that is a danger and thus the psychological well-being of the person is not proper. The way he is going to take things and make choices is different. One of the major advantages of having adequate sleep is to relax our mind and body. The psychological well-being of the individual operates correctly if it is given adequate resting intervals after work. The way that the person perceives the world that surrounds him is different from the way other people perceive it and thus it results in cognitive dissonance; this is the feeling that a person gets when he or she is confronted with two opposing ideas at the same time. It happens when one is persuaded to do something contrary to his or her beliefs. It can be explained as embarrassment, guilt, or an uncomfortable feeling. The strength of the feeling is increased with the increase in the importance of the conflicting matter and the inability to make a rational decision on the best way of doing things. Since the elderly are depressed and have not had enough sleep, he is more likely to interpolate the world around him differently; this makes him have conflicts with other people as well as the inner being. Other areas are affected by being depressed (Harles, 2001:111).
When someone has not slept well, the mood that he has the following day is that that is not good; it goes further to affect the attitude of the person. According to the “law of attraction”, a person attracts those things that rhyme with the pulses that he is attracting; so when moody, the elderly does not go along well with those with who he interacts. This is more likely to accelerate the depression condition of the elderly (Freud and Strachey, 1976:45).
Lack of sleep and depression affects the health of an individual; this is because they both interfere with the normal functioning of the body. When one is depressed, the coordination of the body and mind is affected. Lack of sleep leads to a condition called insomnia (not sleeping enough). It leads to reduced appetite and eventually weight loss. This though is not for all people since some people have a boosted appetite when they are depressed and this leads to overweight. Lack of sleep as a result of one being depressed results in fatigue, memory problems, and confusion. Older people are more likely to display aches and pains in different parts of their bodies (Phillips and Penhale 2007:117-133).
Lack of sleep can lead to diseases; as much as there are no diseases that can be said to be caused by lack of sleep directly, the result of lack of sleep leads to diseases. Sleep interferes with immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Some of the diseases that can come as a result are cancer and high blood pressure. When one is depressed, the mind is compelled to work extra hard in the efforts of solving the problem at hand; this results in overworking the brain, and headache is one of the many resultants. On the other hand, if one had no adequate sleep, he will have not rested enough to relax the brain; this may lead to prolonged headaches (Steffens and Potter, 2008:7).
The attitude of an individual can be influenced by the internal surroundings that are; family, friends, and parental training. The external factors are social interactions, educational institutions, and church or other social groups. Your personality grows as you learn about “self, ” as you learn to be an individual with your own identity, as you begin to learn to accept responsibilities, as you learn to possess ideas and thoughts; you, therefore, learn to express your ideas, beliefs, and thoughts. The case is different in a depressed person; this is so because he perceives the world around her as a threat in one way or another. He is thus likely to repel interaction with people and the resultant is getting even more depressed. The mood swing also affects the way the depressed interact with others, since he is unpredictable, one of the ways to have peace with such a person is to keep him off (Nuttin, 1966:88). This is seen as if society is fighting back a situation that may make the patient’s condition even more badly. To make the situation, even more, worse, those people that the elderly are more close to may keep him off in their efforts to keep peace with her, the elderly may interpolate this as a negative move by those that he believes should be on her side always; these are the extremes that you hear one has committed suicide (George and Robert 2009:90).
- Conduct a literature review on major diseases that affect the elderly that are a result of depression.
- Conduct a review on the causes of depression.
- Spend some time in elderly homes as we discuss what they are going through, this will be a time that I will record some statistics on the things that trouble them.
- Get information from caretakers of elderly homes regarding the health of the elderly. I will also take depression as a health issue and get as much information from the caretakers on the number of depressed women.
- I will analyze national statistics data that give information about disease conditions of the elderly.
- Initiate discussion with elderly about their health life as I record the outcomes.
Some of the guiding questions will be:
- How often do you go to the hospital?
- Do you have a private doctor?
- Do you know the disease that you are suffering from?
- How many hours do you sleep on average per day?
- Are there some foods that you are restricted from taking?
- Since when was your condition diagnosed by a doctor?
- Do you think there is adequate medical attention for your health conditions?
7. Analyze the observations made and review the “interview” made.
8. Write a research report that portrays my understanding and aims to make a recommendation that will add value to the new sector.
Prepare research proposal by 26 July 2010 9am
A complete literature review by August sixth
Complete fieldwork by September 6
Complete analysis by 19 October
Give a presentation on 3 November
Complete final report by 16 December
Time constraint – the semester is so squeezed that making comprehensive research is not possible together with other classwork. The period that I will be with the organization is not good enough to give me a full analysis of the health conditions of the elderly; I will have to use a sample. Some of these aspects cannot be revealed by mere observation. Being an outsider may also limit what is revealed to me. I am also warned that some information that I may get may be directed by my presence and maybe manipulated to fit a situation.
I am aware that taking a close analysis of more than one country’s elderly may be of great assistance and give more input to the subject as well as offer a chance for comparison. However, I choose to only concentrate on one country- my home country. Secondly, I will not use the structured interview to assist me to stay in course, as much as it is important, I consider my situation not ideal for one (Rozakis, 2009).
Old age is an inevitable part of our life that comes with its challenges. Depression is one of these challenges, as much as it is seen as a part of life; it is a medical condition that calls for the attention of the doctor. It is one of the factors that lead to lack of adequate sleep and the cycle is endless since lack of sleep on its part fights back and leads to further depression. There are other complications i.e. social, physical, and mental/ psychological that result from the conditions. As much as there is not much that can be done to stop stress or lack of sleep at a certain time in life, there is the need to always be alert to extreme cases and seek a physician’s advice. Writing the above research proposal has assisted in appreciating the structure and the steps that are followed when developing a research proposal.
- Cathy J., Christensen, H. and Katheleen M., 2005. Effectiveness of treatments for depression in older people. Medical Journal of Australia 627-632.
- Freud, S. and Strachey, J., 1976. The complete psychological work of Sigmund Freud (standard edition) vol. (1-24).New York: W. W. Norton &Company
- George, S. and Robert, E., 2009. Research advances in geriatric depression [Review], World Psychiatry 140-149.
- Harles, J., 2001. Cartwright: Evolutionary explanation of human behavior. Canada: Routledge
- Nuttin, J., 1966. Albert Edouard Michotte van den Berck: 1881-1965. The American Journal of Psychology 79 (2): 331–3.
- Phillips, J. and Penhale, B. (eds) 2007. Reviewing Care Management for Older People. London: Jessica Kingsley chapter 10 pp. 117-33.
- Richard, B. Birrer, and Satahta P. Vemuri, 2004. Depression in Later Life: A Diagnostic and Therapeutic Challenge. American Family Physician 2004, 69(10), 2375-2382.
- Rozakis, L., 2009. Schaum’sm quick guide to writing great research papers. New York: McGraw-Hill Press
- Steffens, D. and Potter, G., 2008. Geriatric depression and cognitive impairment [Review]. Psychological Medicine 163-175.
- Thins, G., Costall, A., Butterworth, G. 1994. Michotte’s Experimental Phenomenology of Perception [Review]. The American Journal of Psychology (University of Illinois Press) 107 (2): 275–6.