According to the World Health Organization (2020), healthy ageing is achieved if there is maintenance and development of the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age. Functional ability includes a person’s ability to: contribute to society, build and maintain relationships, to be mobile, to learn, grow and make decisions, and meet their basic needs. The registered nurses are found to play a key role in promoting and maintaining mental wellness, social engagement, physical, and functional health of older Australians. The following sections of the essay will discuss healthy ageing and critically analyze the role of registered nurses in empowering older adults. This essay will also discuss the approaches to promote healthy ageing in older adults in Australians.
According to Perry, Gallagher & Duffield et al. (2016), every individual has the right to live a healthy lifestyle, but the environment in which we live is found to have a great impact on the life that might affect the health of the adult. The healthy ageing is about creating the opportunities and environment that enable people to do and to be what they value throughout their lives. Anyone can experience healthy ageing if the individual is free of diseases and live a healthy lifestyle. The environments include community, broader society, the home and all other factors that constitute the environment of the individual. The two key considerations in healthy ageing are diversity and inequity. According to Halcomb, Stephens & Bryce et al. (2017), if the adults or older adults focus on their healthy diet with vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, nonwhite bread, beans and legumes, low-fat dairy, and many others so that their body mass index is maintained. This helps them to focus on their body weight and body size because many diseases are associated with diets like diabetes, cardiovascular health complications and other issues. Moreover, the ageing adults should continue to involve in physical activities, exercises, no smoking habits, no drinking habits, and visit doctors for regular health check-ups (Happell, Bennetts & Tohotoa et al., 2017).
According to Furunes, Kaltveit & Akerjordet (2018), the role of a registered nurse (RN) in ensuring healthy ageing is very important. The RN ensures that the needs and services of the old adults are met and supported. This will ensure that the preferences are fulfilled and they are promoted for independency. If the RN performs effective monitoring, assessments and evaluation of the patients then the signs of cognitive decline, functional decline, and other health-related deterioration can be timely reported and treated. As with ageing the cognitive and other functions start deteriorating so the RN should perform tests for these by conducting assessments for testing the cognitive, behavioral and physical functioning of the patient (O’Loughlin, Kendig & Browning, 2018). According to Schwartz & Pell (2017), cognitive skill tests gives information about the candidate’s motor, orientation, language, and attention skills. (Briggs, Slater & Hsieh et al., 2019). For social function assessments, the RN should motivate and develop courage among the older adults to join social gatherings and take part in community activities and programs. All these activities will encourage the old adult to talk to friends, and participate in cultural functions or family functions. The nurses are not supposed to judge the patient instead they should provide self-less and continued care.
If the RN encourages the ageing adult for body balance activities, set the steps-target which the old adult should cover per day, exercises; a regular check-up should be performed to ensure that whether adult is performing the activities or not. It will result in improved health of the old adult. The RN should educate the old patients about their health-related issues, self-management, the importance of healthy diet, importance reporting elderly abuse, and others (Johnstone, Hutchinson & Redley et al., 2016). Such information will result in patient-centred care and ensuring that the rights of the old adults are not violated. If the RN is not performing effective communication and professionalism in his/her duties then the patient will not be able to maintain healthy ageing on his/her own (Andrews, 2016). If RN uses spiritual and cultural approaches like prayers, and others with safe, respectful and continued care then the old adults will also get empowered to live their lives with healthy ageing and without depending on others for their care. For this, the RN can introduce the patients to digital systems like My Health Records or others to get their visit or medication alerts, information about signs or symptoms of diseases, and other report or prescription-related information (Willetts, Aberdeen & Hood et al., 2017).
The patient can not only be empowered if educating him about his diseases, self-management, rights or health care services; but he/she can also be empowered by increasing the level of involvement in decision-making and ensuring that their preferences and values are met. According to Halcomb & Ashley (2017), the approaches like Making a Move, Home and Community Care, Well for Life, and others are used in Australia for promoting healthy ageing. The active and healthy ageing advisers (AHAAs) are also funded by the National Ageing Research Institute Victoria for promoting healthy ageing. The Healthy Ageing Online Network (HAnet) is an online platform for older adults to promote healthy ageing and healthy well-being. The heath and ageing program was launched by World Health Organization in 1997, with the following components: intergenerational relationships, culture, gender, and promotion of wellbeing, promotion of health, life course, and ethics. This program resulted in a broader outcome as it as a community-focused not individual focused and take account of the various determinants of health in old age like economic, mental, social, and environmental determinants (Mueller, Rajkumar & Wan et al., 2018). The national governments have pushed the policies and programs so achieve effective outcomes in healthy ageing and promoting health in old age. The policies have addressed health services, healthy child development, coping skills, personal health practices, biology and genetic endowment, physical environments, working and employment conditions, education, social support networks, and income and social status (McMurray & Cooper, 2017).
It is found that with age if the patient did not take care of the environment in which he/she lives then it can affect his healthy ageing. The RN can help in empowering the old adults by educating them about their diseases, self-management, rights or health care services, by increasing the level of involvement in decision-making, and ensuring that their preferences and values are met. The RN can help in empowering the old adults to encourage them for healthy ageing by assessing, monitoring, evaluating them and encouraging them to live an independent life. Many approaches have also used for promoting healthy ageing like Making a Move, Home and Community Care, Well for Life, and many others.
Andrews G. R. (2016). Promoting health and function in an ageing population. BMJ (Clinical Research), 322(7288), 728–729. DOI:10.1136/bmj.322.7288.728
Briggs, A. M., Slater, H., Hsieh, E., Kopansky-Giles, D., Åkesson, K. E., Dreinhöfer, K. E., & Woolf, A. D. (2019). System strengthening to support value-based care and healthy ageing for people with chronic pain. Pain, 160(6), 1240-1244. DOI: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001526
Furunes, T., Kaltveit, A., & Akerjordet, K. (2018). Health‐promoting leadership: A qualitative study from experienced nurses’ perspective. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 27(23-24), 4290-4301. DOI:10.1111/jocn.14621
Halcomb, E., & Ashley, C. (2017). Australian primary health care nurses most and least satisfying aspects of work. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 26(3-4), 535-545. DOI:10.1111/jocn.13479
Halcomb, E., Stephens, M., Bryce, J., Foley, E., & Ashley, C. (2016). Nursing competency standards in primary health care: An integrative review. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 25(9-10), 1193-1205. DOI:10.1111/jocn.13224
Happell, B., Bennetts, W., Tohotoa, J., Wynaden, D., & Platania-Phung, C. (2017). Promoting recovery-oriented mental health nursing practice through consumer participation in mental health nursing education. Journal of Mental Health, 633-639. DOI:10.1080/09638237.2017.1294734
Johnstone, M. J., Hutchinson, A. M., Redley, B., & Rawson, H. (2016). Nursing roles and strategies in end-of-life decision making concerning elderly immigrants admitted to acute care hospitals: An Australian study. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 27(5), 471-479. DOI:10.1177%2F1043659615582088
McMurray, A., & Cooper, H. (2017). The nurse navigator: An evolving model of care. Collegian, 24(2), 205-212. DOI:10.1016/j.colegn.2016.01.002
Mueller, C., Rajkumar, A. P., Wan, Y. M., Velayudhan, L., Chaudhuri, K. R., & Aarsland, D. (2018). Assessment and management of neuropsychiatric symptoms in Parkinson’s disease. CNS Drugs, 32(7), 621-635. DOI:10.1007/s40263-018-0540-6
O’Loughlin, K., Kendig, H., & Browning, C. (2017). Challenges and opportunities for an ageing Australia. Ageing in Australia, 1-10. DOI:10.1007/978-1-4939-6466-6_1
Willetts, G., Aberdeen, S., Hood, K., & Cross, W. (2017). The dynamic role of the graduate nurse in aged care: An Australian experience of delivering an aged care graduate nurse program. Collegian, 24(4), 397-402. DOI:10.1016/j.colegn.2016.07.002
World Health Organization. (2020). What is healthy ageing? Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/ageing/healthy-ageing/en/
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