Hi! I’m Joanna Jackson, and we’re going
to talk about the aging process. Aging is
something that begins at birth. It’s not
something we typically associate in young
children, but by age 30, this death and dying
process is actually beginning. Chronological age
is not always the same as biological age.
Sometimes we think that by looking at someone,
we can kind of tell their age or even their
birth date tells their age. Truthfully, there
are things external to patients and individuals
that affect how old they really are.
I’m going to give you a brief overview of some
of the concepts we’ll discuss. We’ll discuss
theories on aging, expected age-related changes,
care and education for the newborn through
85 years old and plus, and the nursing process.
So there are several theories on aging.
These can be divided into two classifications. One,
our biological theories. The most common are
error theory, free radical theory, and wear
and tear theory. These relate to physiological
changes in regard to aging. It’s important
to review these theories only briefly before
taking the NCLEX. The other classifications
of theories on aging include psychosocial
theories. These are a lot more commonly used,
activity theory, disengagement theory, and
continuity theory. It’s important to review
this three prior to taking the NCLEX as well.
So let’s talk about some age-related changes. Your
bones and joints change. As I just mentioned,
at age 30, there are some physiological changes
within your bones and joints. It’s common
for them to constrict and shrink. It’s common
for them to lose their density and to be more
fragile. Eyes, ears, and senses are also affected
by aging. It’s perfectly common and normal
for your eyes to not see things as clearly as
before, for you to not hear things as clearly
before, and for your taste and smell to
also be affected.
It’s very common for the skin to undergo
a variety of age-related changes. Skin turgor,
for instance, if you just take a second and
pinch yourself, for those 30 years and under have
really elastic skin, it snaps right back.
As you age, that elasticity decreases.
Those are a perfectly normal response. Elimination
is also affected by age. One’s baseline,
normal GI function tends to slow as you age.
Now, we’ll talk about age-appropriate patient
education. This is a really important concept
to nursing. The NCLEX is filled with questions
in relation to which intervention is appropriate
for which age. It’s important for the nurse
to be able to design patient education for
each individual patient. Children, birth to
18 months, the education should be focused on
the parent or primary caregivers. For toddlers,
aged one to three years old, the focus is still
on the parents. However, a nurse can use toys
and dolls in order to demonstrate a certain
procedure or how to give a medication to a
patient. For children, aged 6 to 18,
for the nurse to consider their attention
spans. Keep teachings and education short.
Use age appropriate games and learning activities
to help demonstrate the procedure. For adults,
aged 18 to 85, it’s really important to individualize
the education. Consider their education level,
consider their mental status, and use self-direction.
The patient should be a participant in the education.
For older adults, 85 and up, allow
for adequate time for the lesson.
Consider size and font, and don’t make assumptions
about their learning capacity.
It’s important for nurses to consider medications
and the effects on aging. Be aware of the
effects aging has on medications. Some medications
have different doses depending on the patient’s
age. They also affect the patient differently.
It’s important to understand the body systems
and changes to help you be sure that you’re
giving the best patient care.
Now we’ll talk about aging and the nursing process.
Some nursing diagnosis that are important
to use in older adults are risk for powerlessness,
death anxiety, impaired social interaction,
interrupted family processes, impaired memory,
frail elderly syndrome or risk thereof, and
risk for falls are really important nursing
diagnosis when dealing with older adults.
Some appropriate nursing interventions to help
with those nursing diagnosis are: encourage
the patient to talk about their anxious feelings,
reinforce that it’s a perfectly normal
response, reduce sensory stimulation that
may be bothersome, encourage the patient to
rest, and inform the patient of appropriate
community resources. It’s also really important
not to make any assumptions about the patient’s
capabilities based on their age. If you remember,
chronological age does not always match
biological age. It will be perfectly okay
and normal for a patient who’s 85 years and
older not to have all of these physiological
changes and still be able to live independently
and like someone who’s 40.
Here are some quick tips for success. Always
assess, diagnose, plan, and then implement.
Always assess before action. If given a patient
scenario, before you can treat, even in an
emergency situation, the nurse should always
assess first. If two answers feel correct,
always choose the one that feels the most
correct. It’s very common to get the options
with two things that you may want to do. Pick
the one that feels like the best answer.
Lastly, opposites attract. If you have four options
and two are worded very similar or they’re
complete opposites of each other, you will
find that the answer is in one of those two.