Physical exercise and general health wellness are important for all age groups but more critical for older adults. However, since most seniors are battling chronic medical conditions, they often need guidance from nurses when exercising. So, how can a nurse promote wellness in older patients?
Debunk myths about aging
Many deep-rooted myths about the aging process and lifestyle change can hinder patients from staying active. As a nurse, you are able to share information on the importance of staying active to help boost the mental and physical state of the elderly.
Perform health assessments
Part of ensuring that the patient’s wellness is upheld, is performing comprehensive health assessments. Based on the findings, nurses can develop effective ways to help keep the elderly physically active. While a general nurse can carry out such health assessments, geriatric nurses have better training in dealing with the elderly. Moreover, such courses are easy to obtain online, with Wilkes University offering numerous online nursing degrees ranging from RN to MSN.
Benefits of exercise for senior and aging adults
Regular physical exercise for seniors includes walking, jogging, dancing, stretching, and yoga, among others. In addition to physical activities, the elderly can remain active through daily activities such as walking the dog or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Remaining active makes a huge difference in the quality of life. As a nurse, you can encourage your patients to be active by emphasizing the benefits of physical exercise. These benefits are outlined below.
Regularly exercising is effective in preventing common ailments such as diabetes and heart disease. It also improves overall immunity, which is crucial to the elderly, whose immune system is often compromised due to age.
Improve mental health
In addition to improved health, regular physical activities also help boost mental health. After exercising, the ‘feel good’ hormones released act as a stress reliever. When happy and relaxed, one can live a positive life. Physical activities are also linked to improved sleep patterns, which is crucial for elderly individuals dealing with insomnia.
Decreased risks of falls
Physical inactivity contributes to around 30% of falls and functional limitations in older adults. This is why nurses must enlighten their patients on the importance of regular physical activity. Exercises improve muscle strength and flexibility, which improves balance and coordination; hence, reducing the risk of falls.
Contributions as a nurse
As a nurse, you should only recommend exercises that are effective for your patients. If a client is immobile, you can recommend modified push-ups, seated shoulder presses, or side bends. Depending on your patient’s endurance levels, you can suggest cardiovascular exercises, strength training, or flexibility activities such as stretches. When developing an exercise routine, be sure to assess which exercise is most helpful and the activities to avoid. Also, take note of how certain health conditions impact the patient’s ability to exercise. In addition to physical activities, emphasize the importance of a balanced diet for overall health.