The Role of Nurses in Promoting Healthy Aging

The Role of Nurses in Promoting Healthy Aging
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Aging is a natural part of life, and as we grow older, our bodies start slowing down. We start requiring help with essential functions such as mobility or everyday activities. Nurses have both the skills and the expertise to ensure that aging gets carried out naturally. Nurses can render support in numerous ways. They can study individual patients and chart proper treatment routes for them.

There's nothing wrong with asking for help. Some of us aren't ready to embrace old age, and some have many age-related problems. So here's how nurses can pave a path for healthy aging:

1. Help Patients Chart Their Family History

Family history plays a significant part in aging. If the patient has a family history riddled with illnesses, it can make aging hard. They may start showing premature aging and even start regressing early. In such cases, nurses start early with patients. They help them study their family history. That means if there is any condition that needs immediate addressing, nurses can make it happen. For example, if a patient has Huntington's in their family history, nurses can help a patient prepare for their condition. Nurses can ensure that a patient gets taken care of properly.

2. Specialize In Gerontology or Geriatrics

Nurses can choose to go for a specialization in geriatrics in which they deal with aging issues. They can learn about chronic illnesses and what to expect as patients age. The knowledge they gain is vital in providing patients proper care. With the benefits of self-paced learning, nurses can easily pick up these skills by studying online MSN nursing to specialize in the field. It also makes them skilled enough to act without a physician on board. They can also become the primary care provider for their patients when they come for a checkup.

3. Exercise Regime

Nurses can help patients get a proper exercise regime. As patients age, they can start having problems in their joints. These can quickly get worse and make it difficult for them to walk. Exercise can help keep their joints in a mobile shape. As patients age, even more, they will have fewer physical hurdles. They will also have no trouble keeping their posture straight and moving without aid. You can also connect them to a physical therapist to help them when their bodies need help. A physical therapist can ensure all the limbs are in good shape, and the patients can look after themselves better.

4. Help Patients Cope With Mental Health Issues

Patients may have severe mental health issues as they age. Depression, anxiety, and even paranoia stem from different sources. In some cases, patients may already be taking medicines that bring out these side effects. In other cases, they may start feeling depressed due to their age. Mental health cases are fragile. If a patient doesn't care for their health, they can crumble. For senior patients, their health can take a turn for the worse if their mental health gets worse. They may stop taking their medicines and allow their health to collapse further. With the proper counseling, nurses can help patients accept their condition and get better.

5. Address Skin Conditions

Aging can bring an onslaught of skin conditions. A patient's skin can start wrinkling or begin to have spots, moles, and even protein-deficient skin. In such cases, they need help since their skin can get sensitive. They may get prone to skin cancers and even accidental wounds. It can make it difficult for healthcare administrators to insert injections or even a cannula. So a nurse can help patients take care of their skin and make sure it's supple. If they feel a patient needs extra help, they can help them see a dermatologist.

6. Help Them Get A Proper Diet

Older patients need a steady diet. They need to eat foods they can digest and don't take a toll on their system. Diet also impacts the way our body functions. Nurses can ensure that the patient is getting enough nutrients in their diet. In case they're unable to eat solid food, they can get alternates prescribed. A nurse can always ensure that if the patient can't keep solid food down, they should take liquids. They may even ask a nutritionist to step in and help the patient have a proper diet plan. Individual needs are different. Some people may need more food and some less.

7. Consult The Family

Counseling is a part of medicine. Nurses will need to educate the caregivers on proper caretaking. They may inform the family if their family member is showing trouble taking care of themselves. It is easy to trip and get hurt as you get older. In some cases, a patient may not even take the proper diet. Intervention can help nurses ensure that the family receives the right house help. There may also be nurse attendants and support within the hospital that you can connect families to.

8. Monitor Their Symptoms

Some patients start showing signs of diseases that come with aging. They may begin to show early onset of dementia, Alzheimer's, and even Parkinson's. It is essential as a nurse when patients come in. You monitor their brain activity. Study the way their neurons are moving and make notes if you do anything unusual. It is a good idea to keep tabs on a patient even more so when they're older. You never know when their condition starts depleting.

9. Clarify Medical Misunderstanding

Not every patient you meet will accept their condition. Some may get defensive and claim that older appointments said they were fine. Getting defensive is a natural process of medical treatment. It is your job as a nurse to make sure you clear all misunderstandings. Please encourage them to ask questions and explain as clearly as you can. If you feel like they need more help, you can walk them through the service available. Getting older is a process, and sometimes it can get overwhelming. You can't hold that against patients.

Wrap Up

As a nurse, you'll play a vital role in aging. Patients will come to you to help them with changes in their health. While aging is a natural process, it can get scary. Patients may start getting more frustrated and agitated about their health. As a nurse, you can provide care for patients in numerous ways. You can help assess their mental capabilities and even keep tabs on their health. If you feel like they need additional help, you can connect them to the right resources. Finally, don't forget to take the time to explain what your patient is going through to them. The more you're able to get through to them, the more they'll respond to aging.



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