NRS-434VN Health Assessment-W5 Q1Describe the characteristics of the aging process. Explain how some of the characteristics may lead to elder abuse (memory issues, vulnerability, etc.). Discuss the types of consideration a nurse must be mindful of while performing a health assessment on a geriatric patient as compared to a middle-aged adult. Aging is associated with changes in the biological, physiological, environmental, psychological, behavioral, and social processes. Some age related changes result in the decline of senses, activities of daily living, and increase in the susceptibility to disease, frailty, or disabilities. Advancing age is the major risk factor for chronic disease [ CITATION NIA19 \l 1033 ]. The most common change in the cardiovascular system is stiffening or hardening of the blood vessels. Bones become weaker and muscles lose strength, the bladder may lose elasticity and weaken as well. Changes in the GI tract may lead to more constipation due to medications or dehydration. The brain goes through changes that may have minor or even major effects on memory and thinking skills. Hearing and eyesight may diminish. Teeth may become more vulnerable to infection and decay and gums recede. The skin thins and loses elasticity and fatty tissues just below the skin decrease causing bruising. The skin may appear drier due to decrease in oil production. Age spots, skin tags and wrinkles appear and the hair may grey. Body metabolism slows leading to weight gain in those less active [ CITATION May18 \l 1033 ].Any of the characteristics of aging could lead to elder abuse. Most often, the elderly who have decreased cognition from dementia or Alzheimer’s are the victim of some form of abuse, be it neglect, physical violence, emotional, psychological, sexual, financial, abandonment, or loss of dignity. Due to the frail nature and sometimes dependence on others for assistance, the elderly are left extremely vulnerable to abuse [ CITATION WHO18 \l 1033 ].When performing a health assessment on an elderly adult patient, the nurse must be mindful of the aging process. The head to toe assessment proceeds in the same manner as for an adult patient but care must be taken during the assessment to note the underlying causes of abnormalities found. An example would be the elderly patient is expected to have decreased elasticity and dryness of the skin. What the nurse needs to further assess, is the underlying cause.
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- Fall '14