Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Older Adults

Nurse’s Role in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Older AdultsMany countries experience rapid aging throughout their population. As aging comes with declining psychological and physiological functions, an older population is more vulnerable to various acute and chronic health conditions. Regardless of health status, healthy aging is critical and promotes the wellbeing of the aging population. Nurses have a pivotal role in promoting aging health which involves enabling people to take control and improve their health (Hanssen & Alpers, 2010). Nurses also play a central role in disease prevention efforts that focuses on measures aimed at reducing the development of chronic illnesses.Nurses are the central pillar of a nation’s healthcare. The nurses operate in different settings to provide health promotion and disease prevention throughout a lifespan. As the nurses’ knowledge scope expands and disease spectrums change, the role of nurses is increasing from the traditional role of following physicians leads to a more diverse role with responsibilities for preventive care (Meiner & Yeager, 2018). Nurses are positioned to pay special attention to health promotion efforts, provide lifestyle counseling, enforce educational programs, and provide strategic intervention to prevent exacerbation or complications for elderly persons.Nurses in preventive care are engaged in activities that enhance the health of older adults through evidence-based interventions while encouraging them to adopt preventive measures such as counseling, precautionary medication, and screening. Nurses can use public health education to inspire an aging population to embrace healthy living and ultimately improve their quality of life (Meiner & Yeager, 2018).

Nurses are involved in continuous efforts to equip people with knowledge to prevent the emergence of targeted conditions. The nurses assume the role of health educators to educate older adults on the benefits of healthy behaviors.As a Registered Nurse at home healthcare, I have always encouraged and educated older adults in effective weight management interventions and fall prevention. Controlling and maintaining weight through physical exercises and observing healthy habits is a form of preventive care that averts disorders such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and osteoarthritis. At the beginning of my practice as a new graduate I  visited one of my patients, when I got there was really sad, she was on the floor since 5:00 am because she was unable to reach the cellphone and call her son or the rescue, but all the time she had the hope that I would be there at any moment before 8:00 am as usual, after multiple teachings she now how to identify hypoglycemia and techniques to avoid any falls or other kind of complications; from that moment I realized that we are their hope, voice and guide and those who daily can help them to move forward and improve.

Three Screening Procedures that must be done in Older AdultsHigh Blood Pressure ScreeningAging increases the risks of developing high blood pressure which affects over thirty percent of the adult population, and it is one of the commonly diagnosed conditions at outpatient visits. Routine screening is essential as the condition acts as a catalyst to other conditions such as stroke, heart attack, and chronic kidney diseases.Cholesterol ScreeningHigh cholesterol levels increase the risks of heart diseases and strokes. Older adults should have their cholesterol levels checked regularly. Checking cholesterol levels is a critical aspect of staying healthy.Diabetes ScreeningDiabetes is a prevalent disorder in the elderly population. It is associated with morbidity and the elderly are at an elevated risk of pre-diabetes and diabetes. Therefore, it is recommended that they seek diabetes screening regularly.Common End-of-Life documentsNurses must be familiar with the various documents to help educate older adults on their options. Four of these documents are a living will, medical power of attorney, Do Not Resuscitate, and the last will. The contents of these documents help older adults prepare for the inevitable, and nurses should familiarize themselves with these documents to be able to educate the patient and their relatives.

ReferencesHanssen, I., & Alpers, L.-M. (2010). Utilitarian and common-sense morality discussions in intercultural nursing practice. Nursing Ethics, 17(2), 201–211. (Links to an external site.).Meiner, S. E., & Yeager, J. J. (2018). Gerontologic Nursing – E-Book (6th ed.). Mosby.Edited by Machin Triguero, Tania on Oct 26 at 9:41pm


Health promotion refers to the science and art of assisting the population to improve on their lifestyle, so that they can move towards optimum health. Disease prevention entails activities that enable people to reduce the risk of contracting various illnesses. Nurses have a role to play in health promotion and disease prevention in older adults. For example, nurses help geriatrics to improve on health literacy through education to them (Meiner & Yeager, 2019). Health illiteracy is one of the barriers that older people face in their health promotion. Nurses also advocate for them to access health insurance coverage, so that they can access health services easily and meet the associated costs.

At the same time, some of the geriatrics suffer from language barriers. In such instances, the problem is solvable through nurses interpreting for them the information which they need to understand as far as health promotion is concerned. Geriatrics are prone to health problems as they advance in age (Meiner & Yeager, 2019). Nurses play a role in bone health for the older people as a way of disease prevention. They also recommend that the geriatrics may attend annual screenings to enable them to check on their health statuses. Through the screenings, secondary disease prevention is possible as it enables them to prevent the disease before it progresses to advanced levels. Nurses further help the patients to manage the long term impact of diseases such as cancers and chronic pain.

From my experience as a RN, I have come across several cases of health promotion. An example is where one patient of Chinese descent came to the hospital with chronic pain. She could not understand English, and so understanding her was a challenge. The nurses handling her used an interpreter to address her case and she was assisted accordingly.

Screening Procedures that must be Performed on Older Adults

Geriatrics require screenings for blood pressure, colonoscopy, and mammogram. Blood pressure screening enables the doctors to address the hypertension problem, which is common among the geriatrics. Mammogram helps in identifying the early signs of breast cancer among the older women. It is important for them to undergo this screening, so that they can prevent the onset of the disease early enough. Colonoscopy helps in early detection of colon cancer, which is common among aged people (Mori et al. 2017). This screening is helpful because it helps to check for abnormalities existing in the colon and rectum.

Common End-of-Life Documents

Nurses need to be familiar with the end-of-life documents that are commonly used among the elder people. Understanding the documents is essential because it enables the nurses to educate the elderly accordingly. As a nurse I need to be familiar with documents such as the Last Will, durable power of attorney, and advance directive. The Last Will contains details such as the people to inherit the property upon the demise of the patient. I would use this document to educate the patient on the importance of the document to his psychological health. The durable power of attorney and advanced directives are essential in determining the care that is appropriate for the elder person. The documents would help me to advise the patient on the type of treatments available for them.


Meiner, S.E., Yeager, J.J. (2019) Gerontologic Nursing 6th Ed. Elsevier. St. Louis. MO. ISBN: 9780323498111

Mori, Y., Kudo, S. E., Berzin, T. M., Misawa, M., & Takeda, K. (2017). Computer-aided diagnosis for colonoscopy. Endoscopy49(8), 813.

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