Assisted Living of New Jersey, LLC
Advocacy for Older Adults and Families
As adults age, they often become frail, experiencing chronic ailments such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes, in addition to physical, sensory, and mental disabilities. The U.S. Census stated that “forty-two percent of the population 65 and over reported some type of long lasting condition or disability,” with physical disabilities being reported as the most prevalent, and the
percent of disabilities increasing notably with age.
As the elderly population grows in New Jersey and across our nation, protecting older citizens continues to be one of the most important responsibilities of caregivers and families. Far too often, scam artists perceive senior citizens as vulnerable and relatively wealthy due to their ability to access retirement accounts and pensions. As a result, seniors are a frequent target of a wide range of consumer fraud scams.
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Assisted Living of New Jersey, LLC
Sometimes, people dismiss the voice of the older adult because they may seem confused, or unable to interact in away that we are accustomed to. But as a future nurse, you must comprehend that advocating for the older adult without truly understanding them isn’t going to achieve quality care. We cannot advocate for choices for the patient based on prejudices or stereotypes. Rather, we need to listen to the older adult and their family to ascertain their values and beliefs. Whether in the home, hospital, community, or long-term care settings, older adults require comprehensive care that focuses on the individual. In your practice, you will need to embrace the complexity of care for this population by understanding the issues, listening, providing them with informed treatment choices, and being attuned to their values. The older adult is a major constituency in the health care arena, and all of us will eventually care for the aged. Particularly, nursing students need to be knowledgeable regarding the care of the older adult, and act as their advocates to ensure quality health care for this population.
We use the term “aging population” constantly, and with good reason. The face of America is rapidly changing. Over the next 30 years, the number of older adults will grow at an accelerating rate, and this population will be more diverse than in the past. The baby boomers, (those born between 1946 and 1964) will start turning 65 in 2011, causing a dramatic shift in the population during 2011- 2030. Projections indicate that the older population will represent 20% of the total population in the United States during this period.
Concerns and solutions to finding the right living enviorment for a family member.
Common problems among the elderly...
Due to the effects of aging, the elderly are at increased risk for falls. A fall can change your life forever. Falls cost the health care system billions of dollars each year. Approximately 9500 deaths among older Americans are associated with falls every year.
Causes of Falls
In the event of an emergency from a fall, an elderly person can protect himself by having a medical alert system. The cost of such a system is around $35 per month. Here is a link to a page that offers a medical alert system:
When doctors talk about depression, they mean the medical illness called major depression. Someone who has major depression has symptoms like those listed in the Symptoms section nearly every day, all day, for 2 weeks or longer. There is also a minor form of depression that causes less severe symptoms. Both kinds of depression have the same causes and treatment.
Depression can affect people of all ages and is different for every person. A person who has depression can’t control his or her feelings. If you or your child, teen, or older relative is depressed, it’s not his or her fault. Women are twice as likely as men to experience depression. The reason for this is unknown, but changes in a woman's hormone levels may be related to depression.
Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias are common among the elderly. Currently, approximately 5 million Americans have this disease. The Alzheimer's Association has a web page which offers tips on how to care for an elderly person with Alzheimer's. Links to the caregiving activities of communication, eating, dental care, bathing, dressing and grooming, incontinence, etc. are provided. Please review these tips carefully.
Protection from hot weather...
In the summer of 2003, a heat wave swept over Western Europe. An estimated 35,000 people, mostly elderly, died. In France alone, approximately 14,800 died. Heat waves kill more people than any other weather-related event, including hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, snowstorms, etc. Please listen to your local meterologist for reports of hot weather. If you have an elderly parent who is living alone, please check on him/her during a heat wave. The Red Cross has developed a page which lists what to do during heat waves.
Show respect to the elderly...Understand their needs...
Every year in the United States, 500,000 to 1 million cases of elder abuse are reported to law enforcement. Many other cases go unreported. Abuse can be physical, emotional or sexual; financial exploitation or neglect can occur. Nursing homes may abuse their elderly residents. Abuse of a senior should be reported to the police, or you may call Eldercare Locator at 862-202-5932. The person who answers can refer you to a local agency that will help. To us, elder abuse is caused by frustration or a lack of patience. Helpguide.org has an excellent web page that explains elder abuse and what can be done about it.
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