Age Related Changes in the Elderly
Aging is a natural physiological process every human being goes through in his or her life. Some people may show the effects of aging at a relatively young age than others. Some may look older than their chronological age, while others may remain younger due to their active and healthy lifestyle habits (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeon, 2015). Aging leads to changes at the cellular level. This in turn affects the functioning of the body as well. In order to distinguish between normal and abnormal aging, it is important to understand the normal aging changes. Forgetfulness and confusion was considered as normal aging process in the earlier times, but now scientists have proved that an elderly person can remain equally alert as a young person. Any deviation from the normal memory functions can be called as sign of Alzheimer’s disease. This is quite common, but not a part of the aging process (Nlm.nih.gov, 2015). The severity may vary from person to person, depending on which the necessity of treatment is decided.
Changes in vision, to digest too rich food, slight impairment of hearing; all these are considered as normal aging processes. These may seem to be bothersome for the elderly person, but they are the part of aging everyone has to go through. Differentiating between normal and abnormal aging will require a thorough physical assessment of the person. a person having difficulty in viewing far off objects is considered normal, but having cataract or glaucoma is not. The skin sensitivity may reduce as a result of aging, but total loss of sensation is abnormal. Slight decrease in the height, affecting the stature is considered to be a normal aging process, but osteoporosis or repeated falls is not normal. Hence, one has to undergo a proper physical assessment in order to distinguish between normal and abnormal signs of aging (Easynotecards.com, 2015).
Medication Adherence in the Elderly
Medication adherence refers to if a patient is taking the medication prescribed to him in the proper dose and for exact number of days he has been asked to take the medicine by the physician (Ho, Bryson & Rumsfeld, 2009). It is quite common to find non adherence to the medications in the elderly patients. Sometimes they may exhibit adherence to one medication and non adherence to the other. The reasons stated by the elderly patients for not adhering to the medications could be cost of the medication, less relief from the medications, forgetfulness, fear of addiction or other associated side effects (Wick, 2011). Non adherence to the medicines has significantly negative impact on the health of the elderly. Not taking medicines properly increases the disease process the patient is already suffering from. They may undergo more organic damage and the whole disease process may hasten.
The elderly people must be encouraged to take medicines in a timely manner. They must be explained the implications of avoiding medications. They should know how the medicines act and how much relief they should expect. Many a times they expect the disease process to revert back and they expect to return back to their normal state as in the young age. But it is not possible always. Some processes are part of the aging mechanism. Hence they cannot be reverted back. This thing needs to be well explained to them. They should know how much to expect. They should be asked to keep a medicine chart by their bedside which they should tick daily after taking the dose. This will ensure that they do not skip any dose and are taking the medications at the right intervals. Finally, they need to be assured that aging is a normal physiological process, it cannot be stopped, but can be postponed if the person inculcates healthy habits and take proper care of themselves. They can delay the aging process by remaining active and taking medications at proper intervals in the prescribed way.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeon,. (2015). Effects of Aging -OrthoInfo - AAOS. Retrieved 25 June 2015, from http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00191
Easynotecards.com,. (2015). Normal and Abnormal changes in the elderly Flashcards | Easy Notecards. Retrieved 25 June 2015, from http://www.easynotecards.com/notecard_set/5080
Ho, P., Bryson, C., & Rumsfeld, J. (2009). Medication Adherence: Its Importance in Cardiovascular Outcomes. Circulation, 119(23), 3028-3035. doi:10.1161/circulationaha.108.768986
Nlm.nih.gov,. (2015). 8 Areas of Age-Related Change. Retrieved 25 June 2015, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/winter07/articles/winter07pg10-13.html
Wick, J. (2011). Adherence Issues in Elderly Patients. Pharmacytimes.com. Retrieved 25 June 2015, from http://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2011/january2011/rxfocus-0111