The Elderly as Targeted Population for Health Education

Population Chosen for an Educational Program

  • The population of elderly individuals (65-80);
  • Rapidly increasing segment of the population (Stokes & Preston, 2013);
  • Vulnerable to multiple health issues;
  • Life expectancy is on a decline;
  • Lack of socioeconomic/environmental support resources.

Description of the Chosen Population

  • The baby boomer generation is getting older;
  • Increased mental and physical impairments;
  • Limited access to financial/technological resources;
  • Overlooked population in healthcare process planning;
  • They cannot overcome challenges on their own.

Demographics of the Chosen Population

  • 46 million people (aged 65 – older) (Mather, 2016);
  • Expected to double: 98 million in 2016 (Mather, 2016);
  • Diversity: decreasing number of non-Hispanic whites;
  • 23% men and 15% women work (Mather, 2016);
  • Rural Midwest ages as youth moves.

Problem Background

  • The population is continuously growing rapidly;
  • Health care needs to expand;
  • Little is known about care quality;
  • The elderly have numerous medical conditions;
  • High risks of death rates are increasing.

Problem’s Effect on Public Health

  • Decreased quality and adherence to healthcare (Cutler, Fernandez-Llimos, Frommer, Benrimoj, & Garcia-Cardenas, 2018);
  • Failure to prescribe recommended medicine;
  • Preventive care suffers the most;
  • Physicians lack information about the elderly;
  • Patients are uneducated about care adherence.

Cultural Background of the Population

  • Most come from Baby Boomer Generation;
  • Less come from the Silent Generation;
  • Conservatives and individuals welcoming change;
  • Television influence the generation’s cultural development;
  • Developments in science, art, and music.

Relevant History of the Population

  • Lived through dramatic social change;
  • Experienced the impact of the Cold War;
  • Vietnam War had a significant impact;
  • Anti-war, environmental, women’s, and other movements;
  • The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

Psychosocial Concerns and Norms

  • Stress and anxiety decrease life quality;
  • Poor relationships with family and friends;
  • Lack of socialization with other people;
  • Mental issues contribute to physical impairments (Ross, Jennings, & Williams, 2017);
  • Difficulties with adapting to the environment.

Economic Concerns of the Population

  • Inability to work and earn money;
  • Increased costs of health care;
  • Increased ratios of dependency on others;
  • Economic changes leading to instability;
  • Lack of financial support from governments.

Health Concerns of the Population

  • Chronic health issues (e.g., heart disease);
  • Physical injury (e.g., fractures due to falls);
  • Malnutrition leading to weaker immunity;
  • Substance abuse (e.g., alcohol, drugs);
  • Depression and other mental health issues.

Health Risk Factors

  • Increased likelihood of physical health issues;
  • Side effects from inappropriate medication;
  • Isolation from the society: mental problems;
  • Loss of relationships, independence, income;
  • Chronic pains that decrease life quality.

Prevention and Control of Health Risks

  • Evidence-based practice guidelines for care;
  • Regular evaluations of patients’ conditions;
  • Exercise programs to prevent falls;
  • The inclusion of free care services;
  • They enhanced dietary programs to prevent malnutrition.

Role of a Public Health Nurse

  • Educating patients on appropriate care procedures;
  • Monitoring patients’ progress in treatment adherence (O’Quin, Semalulu, & Orom, 2015);
  • Helping patients’ families care for the elderly;
  • Identifying gaps in health care access;
  • Recommend community support programs to the elderly.

Functions of Public Health

  • Raise awareness of issues elderly experience;
  • Provide economic and social support;
  • Promote community engagement to support the elderly;
  • Address psychological challenges of elderly;
  • Provide resources for improved well-being.

Local Agencies Delivering Services

  • Meals on Wheels: elderly’s nutritional support;
  • Adult daycare centers: safe places;
  • Elderly Pharmaceutical Assistance Program: medication support;
  • Free phones for the hearing impaired;
  • Free legal help: assistance to elderly.

Additional Resources Needed for Improvement

  • Companion care services to encourage socialization;
  • Affordable medication programs for low-income patients;
  • Educational programs to promote independence;
  • Government-funded nursing homes for patients;
  • Visual and hearing aid programs.

References

Cutler, R. L., Fernandez-Llimos, F., Frommer, M., Benrimoj, C., & Garcia-Cardenas, V. (2018). Economic impact of medication non-adherence by disease groups: A systematic review. BMJ Open, 8(1), 1-13.

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Mather, M. (2016). Fact sheet: Aging in the United States. Web.

O’Quin, K. E., Semalulu, T., & Orom, H. (2015). Elder and caregiver solutions to improve medication adherence. Health Education Research, 30(2), 323-335.

Ross, L., Jennings, P., & Williams, B. (2017). Psychosocial support issues affecting older patients: A cross-sectional paramedic perspective. Inquiry: A Journal of Medical Care Organization, Provision and Financing, 54, 1-6.

Stokes, A., & Preston, S. H. (2013). Population change among the elderly: International patterns. Population and Development Review, 38(1), 309-321.

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