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Aging Process and Elder Abuse: Considerations for Nurses in Geriatric Health Assessments

Aging Process and Elder Abuse: Considerations for Nurses in Geriatric Health Assessments


Aging is marked by a steady deterioration in physical and cognitive functions, making older persons more vulnerable to elder abuse. Some of the aging traits that may contribute to elder abuse include:

1. Memory problems: As people age, they may develop cognitive impairments such as memory loss or recall difficulties. As a result, they may be more vulnerable to manipulation, coercion, and financial exploitation by others.

2. Vulnerability: Due to physical limits and health concerns, aging individuals may rely more on others for aid and support. Because of their greater reliance, they are more vulnerable to abuse, such as neglect, physical abuse, or emotional abuse.

3. Decreased physical ability: Physical abilities such as balance, coordination, and strength naturally deteriorate with age. This increases the danger of falls and injuries, leaving older people more vulnerable to physical abuse or neglect by caretakers.

4. Social isolation: Older persons may feel social isolation due to the loss of loved ones or reduced mobility. Isolation can raise the likelihood of elder abuse because fewer people are monitoring their well-being or spotting indicators of abuse.

When doing a health evaluation on geriatric patients versus middle-aged adults, nurses must keep various factors in mind. Among these factors are:

1. Sensory impairments: Age-related sensory impairments, such as hearing or vision loss, may occur in older persons. To guarantee accurate information gathering, nurses should modify their evaluation approaches to accommodate these impairments and use appropriate communication methods.

2. Cognitive decline: Nurses should be aware of potential cognitive deficits and modify their assessment strategy accordingly. Allowing more time for responses, providing reminders or cues, and involving family members or carers for further information may be necessary.

3. Polypharmacy and medication management: Because older persons frequently take many drugs, the risk of drug interactions, adverse effects, and non-adherence increases. Nurses should complete medication reviews and assess patients’ capacity to manage their prescriptions appropriately.

4. thorough functional evaluation: Besides the standard health exam, nurses should perform a thorough functional assessment to evaluate ADLs, IADLs, mobility, and fall risk. This evaluation assists in identifying functional limitations and informing relevant solutions and assistance.

When assessing middle-aged persons, nurses may focus more on risk factors linked with their age, such as preventative health screenings, lifestyle choices, and psychological issues. Middle-aged adults may have different health problems and priorities than older adults; therefore, the assessment should consider this.

National Institute on Aging (NIH) is a source of information. (2020). Aging and the condition of your eyes. Obtainable at

National Library of Medicine of the United States, 2021. Age in the middle. URL:

With aging, humans start experiencing lots of physical limitations and cognitive impairments. The aging process is gradual and as a result one may start to notice a decline in functionality of the senses and activities of daily living, and increased susceptibility to disease, frailty, as well as disabilities associated with aging, such as arthritis, frailty, decreased in physical activities and generalized Weakness to name a few(National Institute on Aging [NIH], 2020). Also, almost all the parts of a human body from hairs to toe with noticeable changes, such as hairs first turns gray and white. Different body systems and reflexes like digestion, nervous system, overall cardiac output and renal functions slows down. The elderly can begin to develop eye problems like cataracts and glaucoma, hearing loss, fatty deposits over coronary arteries, wrinkles, looses bone density and muscle shrinkage and other sensory impairments(NIH, 2020). As a result, elderly people are mostly dependent on others for help and support. This increases their risk of being abused and often face inadequate support from their caregivers and often experience episodes of depression and emotional stress. Due to these conditions, the elderly are more vulnerable to physical imbalance, impaired body coordination, falls and bone fracture. The abuse might continue if the elderly person becomes more dependent on others for support he/she can no longer provide like before(NIH, 2020).

There are lots of considerations that a nurse must be mindful of while performing a health assessment on a geriatric patient as compared to a middle-aged adult. While assessing an elderly patient, a nurse must take an account of patient’s sensory functions like hearing, speaking, vision and taste. Vital signs must be assessed including glucose and sodium levels, bowel and bladder pattern, motor evaluation and most importantly nutritional assessment. Elderly people have a lot of limitations and issues with memory, a nurse should wait on the time for proper response(NIH, 2020).

In the case of the middle-aged adult the nurse should consider and focus on the following in order to obtain a comprehensive assessment. Begin by assessing the age-related changes, such as past medical history, allergies or past surgery if any, medications, cultural views on health, dietary habits, mobility and physical challenges, use of folks medicine or alternative/traditional treatment , use of illicit drugs or alcohol, psychosocial assessment etc(U.S National Library of Medicine, 2021).

Respond using 250-300 words APA format with references to support the discussion.

Describe the characteristics of the aging process. Explain how some of the characteristics may lead to elder abuse (memory issues, vulnerability, etc.). Discuss the types of consideration a nurse must be mindful of while performing a health assessment on a geriatric patient as compared to a middle-aged adult.

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