Nutrition, Exercise, Stress Management: Clinical Prevention Intervention and Evaluation
Physical changes associated with aging include loss of muscle tissue and an increase in body fat, dehydration, and alteration of metabolism and absorption of particular nutrients. As older adults struggle to manage their aging process and stay healthy, economically vulnerable seniors face particularly daunting and complex challenges due to malnutrition and the necessity to choose between food, housing, and appropriate medical care.
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There is a growing need to help such people begin lifestyle changes with nutrition, physical exercise, and stress management. In the given essay, suggestions for a healthy diet, physical activities, and techniques to deal with stress are discussed in relation to an economically disadvantaged senior.
Many older adults do not know what types of food they should consume in order to stay healthy and prevent some diseases. Malnutrition in the elderly may lead to various health concerns, including a weak immune system and muscle weakness. The nutritionally adequate diet should meet the nutritional needs of older adults, as well as prevent cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure. A healthy eating pattern includes various vegetables, whole fruits, grains, fat-free or low fat-free dairy products, different kinds of protein foods, and oils (United States Department of Agriculture, 2015).
For older adults, it is important to consume more Calcium and Vitamin D in order to maintain bone health and prevent osteoporosis. Fortified cereal, seafood, and eggs should be included in a diet, as they are the sources of vitamin B12, zinc, iron, and iodine. A variety of protein-rich foods should be eaten per day to keep muscles healthy. The risk of high blood pressure may be reduced by limiting sodium intake.
However, economically disadvantaged people may be unable to acquire an adequate amount of nutrient-dense food because of low income. Therefore, it may be feasible to consider some food assistance programs that help feed Americans struggling with malnutrition. In particular, the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provides older adults with coupons that may be exchanged for fruits and vegetables through farmers’ markets (“Nutrition Programs for Seniors,” 2018). Another possible option is the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) that supports low-income older persons with a monthly food package (United States Department of Agriculture, 2018). CSFP helps seniors to supplement needed sources of nutrients and avoid health problems associated with food insecurity.
Older adults who are generally fit and do not have health conditions restricting mobility should do regular physical exercises in order to improve health and increase longevity. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (2018), seniors should avoid inactivity and do at least 150 minutes a week of aerobic activity of medium intensity. Walking, riding a bicycle, swimming, and playing tennis are examples of activities that require moderate effort.
They would improve the strength, flexibility, and balance of an older adult. A weekly routine for an economically disadvantaged client may include a 30-minute walk on Monday, 30-minute cycling, or swimming on Tuesday, a 30-minute walk on Wednesday, rest on Thursday, and a 30-minute walk on Friday. On weekends, a person may perform 30-minute cycling or swimming.
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Apart from that, an older person should do strength exercises several days a week in order to work major muscles. This kind of physical activity is necessary for maintaining strong bones and regulating the level of sugar and blood pressure. Examples of such activities include moving or lifting heavy things, push-ups and sit-ups, yoga, and pilates. A muscle-strengthening workout should be performed additionally to the aerobic activity of medium intensity.
A person should do a 7-minute strength routine that may include several exercises, such as abdominal contractions, wall push-ups, shoulder blade squeeze, knee lifts, and neck and upper back stretching. Since accidental falls may result in seniors having injuries, it is important to incorporate balance exercises, such as sideways walking, simple grapevine, heel-to-toe walk, and a one-leg stand, in the everyday regimen. These exercises should be done near a wall or a stable chair in case an older person loses the balance.
Chronic stress may significantly affect the health of older adults by lowering their immune system, causing heart problems and digestive issues, and leading to a temporary decrease in hearing and vision. Commonly recognized stressors for seniors include deteriorating health, lack of social support, and increased dependence on others. Stress management techniques include doing regular exercise and having a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, spending more time with family, doing breathing exercises, and learning relaxation and meditation strategies.
With regard to economically disadvantaged people, the additional stress factors may include financial problems and poor quality of life. In some cases, poverty may act as the leading cause of stress and anxiety. Some counseling and therapy approaches that may help economically vulnerable people deal with stress include behavior therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy, and rational emotive behavior therapy.
To sum up, in the given essay, lifestyle changes regarding nutrition, physical activity, and stress management for an economically disadvantaged older adult have been discussed. A healthy eating pattern has been suggested considering the senior’s needs in nutrients. Since physical activity plays a critical and complementary role in promoting good health, an exercise regimen has been elaborated. Finally, stressors and stress management techniques for older adults have been identified.
Nutrition programs for seniors. (2018). Web.
United States Department of Agriculture. (2015). Dietary guidelines for Americans 2015–2020. Web.
United States Department of Agriculture. (2018). Commodity supplemental food program (CSFP). Web.
United States Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Physical activity guidelines for Americans (2nd ed.). Washington, WA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.