Saturday, September 28, 2002: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM

Health Promotion in At-Risk Older Adults

As persons age, they become more susceptible to chronic illness, thus placing them at greater risk for disability. Consequently, this cohort is more focused on treatment than prevention of disease. In this context, health promotion must focus on improving health-related quality of life, even given serious chronic conditions. Nurses play an important role in ensuring that patients are able to achieve optimal quality of life, given their particular health challenges. This symposium focuses on strategies that can be used to promote the health of older adults with specific health-related impairments. In this symposium we will discuss health promotion strategies implemented at both the individual and the community levels. The two researchers that focus on individual health promotion strategies examine methods for assisting older adults in preventing or coping with problems associated with disease. The first of these researchers describes the use of herbal products by older women to treat illnesses and to maintain and promote health. She also discusses the benefits and risks of the use of herbal products. The second researcher presents the results of his study on using dyadic intervention as a strategy to prevent depression following radical prostatectomy for treatment of cancer. The three remaining researchers focus on strategies that can be used in different community settings to assist at-risk older adults. The first focuses on systems and strategies for ensuring that cognitively impaired elders who become lost in the community can be safely returned to their caregivers. This study represents the first empiric analysis of the problem of unattended wandering; the researcher will describe application of the findings to assisting communities improving the chances that lost cognitively-impaired individuals will be found safely. The second of these participants details health promotion activities that can be taught to older women living in retirement communities or other community settings to increase postural stability and maintain bone density. These strategies are particularly relevant for older women with osteopenia, as these activities may prevent the development of osteoporosis. The combination of a decrease in balance and a loss of bone density puts this population at great risk for falls and subsequent hip fractures. And finally, using the nursing home setting as the community of interest, the third of these researchers presents methods that health care personnel can use to assess pain in cognitively impaired adults. Because dementia affects elders' memory and language skills, observational measures of pain are crucial for detecting pain in this population. The discussions and findings presented at this symposium will assist nurses working in a variety of health care environments--from the bedside to community settings--to improve the health-related quality of life of at-risk older adults.
Organizer:Meredeth A. Rowe, RN, PhD, associate professor
A Model of Health Promotion in a Retirement Community
Claydell Horne, RN, PhD, associate professor, James Vernon Jessup, RN, PhD, associate professor
Are Herbal Products and Home Remedies Beneficial for Health Promotion in Older Women?
Saunjoo L. Yoon, RN, PhD, assistant professor
Assessing Pain in Cognitively Impaired Elders
Ann L. Horgas, RN, PhD, Sue Hooper McLennon, ARNP, MSN, doctoral student, Amanda Floetke, BSN, doctoral student, Cheryl Rudnytsky, BSN, doctoral student
Health Promotion after Radical Prostatectomy: The Effects of Dyadic Intervention on Depression
Bryan A. Weber, ARNP, PhD, assistant professor
Preparing the General Community to Assist in the Safe Return of Cognitively Impaired Individuals
Meredeth A. Rowe, RN, PhD, associate professor

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