Biological Theory of Aging
The first case concerns a 65-year-old woman who has had a heart attack five days previously and also has a history of diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis. She is confused, scared of the changes in her body, and does not understand why she has so many physical issues when she knows that her parents have not had any of the issues she does. An informed caregiver should help her understand the biological aging theory. She requires a definite care plan established by caregivers and supported by her relatives to remain an active member of the society even if she already does not work due to her age or the condition of her health.
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Biological theories explain aging either by a programmed switching of different phases in the development of the body or by the damage inflicted by the environments. Both explanations suggest that aging is a natural process and should not be feared. Nevertheless, aging people need special attention and care from their relatives and medical workers. According to Bengtson and Settersten (2016), “aging is the biggest risk factor (and one likely cause) for a wide range of chronic diseases that the majority of global disease burden” (p. 108).
In their work, caregivers should consider several aspects intertwined in the aging process: adaptation to stress, epigenetics, inflammation, macromolecular damage, metabolism, proteostasis, and stem cells and regeneration (Bengston & Settersten, 2016). Therefore, in the case above, an informed caregiver should minimize the stress of aging, telling the woman about the means to address her physical issues. The caregiver should explain to her in an understandable way that her illnesses are connected with genetics, and the example of her parents is not enough to assess her current state.
According to Naidoo and Wills (2016), “care workers have a key health promotion role to improve fitness and nutrition and thereby minimize illness and dependence” (p. 140). The second case of this study concerns Sally, who is also 65, and she is worried about her state of health and age. She wants to discuss with her caregiver how best she can promote good health as she becomes an elder. An informed caregiver should provide her with a complete plan that includes needed immunizations and encourages regular physical activities, a balanced diet, and socialization in groups of her age. Naidoo and Wills (2016) claim that “care workers also have a role in positive mental health promotion and empowering older people to have a degree of control over their lives” (p. 140).
The complete health promotion plan for the aging woman, in this case, should include at least twelve recommendations. Medical workers should inform her about all people who can help her. A caregiver should organize a group or individual physical exercises to keep her fit. Medical workers should give Sally information on how she can maintain her health herself to keep her confident in her strengths. Caregivers and relatives should address the everyday needs of Sally including shopping possibilities for elders.
Safety at home and prevention of falls is a crucial aspect of health promotion for elders. Caregivers should organize for a healthy diet on a budget. Sally should have information about local transport schemes. Caregivers should provide her with various mental activities based on her interests. Communication with other older people in groups should be organized for Sally because it is crucial for her socialization. Introduction to computer technologies will help Sally to keep in touch with caregivers and relatives. Medical workers should discuss new aims in life with her to keep various activities. The immunizations plan should be introduced with a clear explanation of how it will benefit her.
Bengtson, V. L., & Settersten Jr, R. (Eds.). (2016). Handbook of theories of aging. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
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Naidoo, J., & Wills, J. (2016). Foundations for health promotion. Shanghai, China: Elsevier Health Sciences.