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?
One of the most prevalent age related changes I have noticed over my career is changes to the skin. Skin loses elasticity over time and decreased mobility can cause pressure ulcers to the patient. This is compounded as aging also reduces the ability for wounds to heal. Pressure ulcers affects the patient’s quality of life and can increase morbidity and mortality (Mervis, Phillips, 2019). It is important for elderly people to inspect their skin routinely and notice any breaks in the integrity of the skin. Teaching for these individuals would include making sure they reposition at least every hour while sitting or lying to offset pressure points. It is also important to have the elderly inspect pressure points over bony prominences.
The second age related change that many elderly patients face is bowel function. Aging can cause decreased motility of the GI system and dietary changes affect the amount of fluids the individual have in their body. Many elderly people are very aware of the frequency and consistency of their bowel movements and become anxious when they do not have a bowel movement at least daily. It is important with these individuals to encourage a high fiber diet with adequate fluid consumption. The addition of dietary supplements such as fiber supplements or stool softeners can also help these individuals with regularity in their bowel functions.