Get Started. It's Free
or sign up with your email address
Older adult by Mind Map: Older adult

1. Respiratory

1.1. Loss of elasticity and increased rigidity of lung tissue

1.2. Forced expiratory volume reduced

1.3. Blunting of cough and laryngeal reflexes

1.4. Increase in residual capacity

1.5. Alveoli fewer in number and size

1.6. Thoracic muscles more rigid

1.7. Pathology

1.7.1. COPD Asthma Higher rates of mortality and cardiac problems Nebulizers create risk of cardiac arrhythmia as Chronic bronchitis productive cough, wheezing, SOB Goal is to remove bronchial secretions Emphysema From chronic bronchitis and respiratory irritation Tx: postural drainage, bronchodilators, breathing exercises Stop smoking

1.7.2. Pneumonia S&S:minimal/no fever or pleuritic pain- confusion, restlessness, cough, fatigue, rapid respiration Pneumococcal vaccine available for over 65

2. Endocrine

2.1. Thyroid gland undergoesfibrosis

2.2. Lower basal metabolic rate

2.3. Reduction in triiodothyronine (T3)

2.4. ACTH Secretion decreases

2.5. Pituitary gland decreases in volume

2.6. Delayed and insufficient release of insulin by beta cells


2.7.1. Diabetes mellitus Affects 20% of older population Diagnosis: fasting blood glucose >126, random blood glucose >200, HbA1c>6.5% Patient education is critical in treatment Drug therapy includes oral anti diabetics (metformin, sulfonylurea, acarbose, Can lead to: PVD, retinopathy to blindness

2.7.2. Hypothyroidism Primary: low T4, high TSH, secondary: low T4, low TSH More common than hyper, more common in women SX: fatigue/weakness, depression, Anorexia, weight gain, impaired hearing, edema, constipation, cold intolerance TX: replacement of thyroid hormone (low dose initially to higher dose)

3. Urinary

3.1. Decreased size of renal mass

3.2. Decreased tubular function

3.3. Decreased bladder capacity

3.4. Decrease in nephrons

3.5. GFR decreases

3.6. Weaker bladder muscles


3.7.1. urinary tract infections Most common infection of older adults Result from poor hygiene, prostate problems, catheterization, dehydration, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, neurogenic bladders SX: burning, urgency, fever, incontinence, delirium Carefully watch intake and output! Severe UTIs can lead to septicemia and prostatitis (men) Avoid catheterization at all costs

3.7.2. Incontinence Stress Weak support in pelvic muscles Urgency Spasms of bladder Overflow Bladder neck obstructions or meds Neurogenic Reflex, problem with neural pathway Functional Inability to reach bathroom Mixed Combination

4. Nervous

4.1. Decreased conduction velocity

4.2. Decreased brain weight

4.3. Reduced blood flow to brain

4.4. Changes in sleep pattern

4.5. Slower response and reaction time


4.6.1. Parkinson’s disease Impaired function of basal ganglia, imbalance of dopamine and acetylcholine cause problems with motor control More common in men, most frequently after 5th decade Faint tremor is first sign, followed by muscle rigidity and weakness Bradykinesia and poor balance, shuffling gait is key sign Meds: carbidopa/levodopa, dopamine agonists, anticholinergics Active/passive ROM, warm baths, massages all help with muscle rigid diet and prevention of contracture

4.6.2. Cerebrovascular accident Third leading cause of death, major cause of disability RF: HTN, severe arteriosclerosis, diabetes, gout, anemia, hypothyroidism, TIAs, smokers Ischemic (thrombus/embolus) more common, also hemorrhagic from ruptured cerebral blood vessel SX: hemiplegia, hemianopsia, aphasia, dizziness, headache, drop attack Recovery: after acute care, physical/speech therapy

5. Sensory

5.1. Eyes

5.1.1. More opaque lens

5.1.2. Decreased pupil size

5.1.3. More spherical cornea

5.1.4. PATHOLOGY Cataracts Clouding of lens Leading cause of low vision Proper use of sunglasses helps to prevent cataracts SX: night vision decreased, feeling of film over eye, glare from sunlight/bright lights, eventually pupil turns from black to cloudy white Glaucoma Acute (closed angle) Chronic (open angle)

5.2. Smell

5.2.1. Impaired ability to identify and discriminate among odors

5.3. Taste

5.3.1. Taste impairment

5.3.2. Usually from reasons other than normal aging

5.4. Touch

5.4.1. Reduction in tactile sensation

5.5. Ears

5.5.1. Atrophy of hair cells of organ of Corti

5.5.2. Tympanic membrane sclerosis and atrophy

5.5.3. Increased cerumen and concentration of keratin

5.5.4. PATHOLOGY Hearing loss Exposure to noise, recurrent otitis media, certain drugs can all impair hearing Vascular probs, viral infections, presbycusis affect inner ear Encourage audio metric examination Hearing aids: come in variety of forms, help with issue do not completely solve it

6. Sexuality

6.1. Menopause

6.2. Andropause

6.3. Decrease in sexual responsiveness and a reduction in the frequency of orgasm

6.4. Older men are slower to erect, mount, and ejaculate

6.5. Older women may experience dyspareunia (painful intercourse) as a result of less lubrication

6.6. Many older women gain a new interest in sex


6.7.1. HIV Incidence increasing twice as quickly in patients over 50 44% are among gay/bisexual men Less use of condoms because no risk of becoming pregnant Many embarrassed to seek treatment, symptoms may not be recognized as HIV because of common aging problems

7. Immunity

7.1. Decline in immune function

7.1.1. Reduced antibody response

7.2. High prevalence of chronic conditions

7.3. Thymus gland decreases in size

7.4. T-cell function declines

7.5. Reduced thickness of skin, decreased circulation of skin


7.6.1. Cancer Changes in immune system impair body’s ability to recognize cancerous cells and destroy them Prolonged closure to carcinogens Additional screening with increased age Conventional treatment: surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, biological therapy Complementary therapy: special diets, psychotherapy, spiritual practices, vitamin supplements, herbal remedies

8. Cardiovascular

8.1. Aorta becomes dilated and elongated

8.2. Cardiac output decreases

8.3. Resistance to peripheral blood flow increases

8.4. Less elasticity of vessels

8.5. Valves become thicker and more rigid

8.6. Stroke volume decreases

8.7. Less efficient oxygen utilization

8.8. Pathology

8.8.1. Hypertension SX: Dull headache, impaired memory, disorientation, confusion, epitaxis, slow tremor Reduce sodium intake, possibly reduce weight as well (DASH diet) Medical Tx: antihypertensives, diuretics Nonpharmacologic tx: meditation, yoga, exercise, relaxation fish oil supplements, diet

8.8.2. Coronary Artery Disease Angina: pain may be diffuse and less severe than younger adults SX: vague pain under sternum, coughing, syncope, sweating, episodes of confusion Nitroglycerin is effective- watch for orthostatic hypotension Myocardial Infarction: can be delayed or missed in older adults because of atypical SX and less severe pain SX: pain radiating to left arm, entire chest, neck, jaw and abdomen. Confusion, pale skin, decreased BP Encourage early ambulation after MI- prevents immobility complications and better for heart workload Close observations for signs of bleeding, edema or CHF

8.8.3. CHF Leading cause of hospitalization in older adults CAD and HTN are major causes SX: dyspnea on exertion, confusion insomnia, wandering during night, aviation, SOB, weakness Moist crackles heard ok auscultation TX: bed rest, medications, reduce sodium intake, (encourage pt to sit in chair instead of bed)

9. Integumentary

9.1. Reduced thickness and vascularity of dermis

9.2. Collagen fibers become coarser

9.3. Reduced skin elasticity

9.4. Lines, wrinkles, sagging become evident

9.5. Increased presence of age spots due to clustering of melanocytes

9.6. Hair thins and grays due to loss of pigment cells


9.7.1. Pruritus RF: diabetes, arteriosclerosis, hyperthyroidism, uremia, liver disease, cancer, pernicious anemia, excessive bathing Prompt recognition to treat dry skin or underlying problem Vitamin supplements and vitamin rich diets are encouraged Meds: topical zinc oxide, antihistamines, topical steroids

9.7.2. Vascular lesions Stasis ulcers Control infections, remove necrotic tissue to facilitate healing Leg ulcers from stasis dermatitis Good nutrition and high vitamins Promote venous return by elevating legs and wearing elastic stockings Pressure injury (ulcer) Pressure leads to tissue anoxia and ischemia resulting in necrosis, sloughing and ulceration of tissue RF: fragile skin that damages easily, poor nutrition, reduced sensation and pain, typically more immobile Require longer to heal than younger persons— PREVENT Sometimes need more frequent movement than turning every 2 hours, avoid shearing forces, use pillows/water beds/pads, Sheets should be wrinkle free and free of foreign bodies High protein, vitamin rich diet, skin clean and dry

10. Reproductive

10.1. M: reduction in sperm count

10.2. M: prostate enlarges

10.2.1. Leads to BPH

10.3. M: venous/arterial sclerosis of penis

10.4. F: fallopian tunes and uterus atrophy

10.5. F: Ovaries become thicker and smaller

10.6. F: Cervix and uterus become smaller

10.7. F: Drier, less elastic vaginal canal

10.8. PATHOLOGY: female

10.8.1. Vaginitis SX: soreness, pruritus, burning, reddened vagina, foul smelling vaginal discharge TX: estrogens in suppository creams, avoid douches, perfumed soaps

10.8.2. Cancer of cervix SX: vaginal bleeding and leukorrhea, pain is not a SX, can develop urinary retention and incontinence, fecal incontinence TX: radium or surgery Women over 65 years should have regular screening

10.8.3. Cancer of breast Second leading cause of cancer deaths for women Regular breast exams and self exams

10.9. PATHOLOGY: male

10.9.1. Erectile dysfunction Causes: alcoholism, diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension,hypogonadism, multiple sclerosis, renal failure, thyroid conditions TX: oral agents (sildenafil, vardenafil, tadalafil), drugs injected into penis, penile implants, vacuum pump devices

10.9.2. Benign prostatic hyperplasia SX: hesitancy, decreased force ofurinary stream, frequency, and nocturia, dribbling may occur, overflow incontinence, bleeding TX: prostatic massage, urinary antiseptics, urethral surgery,

11. Gastrointestinal

11.1. Decreased taste sensation

11.2. Esophagus more dilated

11.3. Reduced saliva and salivary ptyalin

11.4. Liver smaller

11.5. Reduced intestinal blood flow

11.6. Decreased esophageal motility

11.7. Less production of HCl, pepsin, lipase, and pancreatic enzymes

11.8. Fewer cells on absorbing surface of intestines


11.9.1. Periodontal disease Predispose older adults to systemic infection

11.9.2. Dysphagia GERD is major cause Prevention of aspiration and promotion of adequate nutritional status are major goals Soft diet, thickened liquids recommended, eat in upright position, small bites Have suction available in case of choking!!

11.9.3. Diverticular disease Multiple pouches of intestinal mucosa of large bowel Inflammation and infection lead to diverticulitis SX: slight bleeding, constipation/diarrhea, tenderness of LLQ Common problem in western societies from low fiber/residue diets

12. Musculoskeletal

12.1. Shortening of vertebrae

12.2. Bones more brittle

12.2.1. Increased risk for injury

12.3. Slight knee, hip, and wrist flexion

12.4. Slight kyphosis


12.5.1. Fractures Trauma, cancer metastasis to bone, osteoporosis contribute to fractures Neck of femur and distal radius are common fractures Heal at slower rates and lead to immobility Avoid risky activities, prevent orthostatic hypotension, proper shoe wear, safety supports in home SX: pain, change in shape/length of limb, restricted motion of limb, edema, discoloration

12.5.2. Osteoarthritis Progressive deterioration of joint cartilage Leading cause of disability in older adults No inflammation (unlike rheumatoid arthritis) Excessive use of joint, trauma, obesity, low vitamin D levels, and genetic factors can predispose SX: crepitus, bony nodules, more uncomfortable during damp weather and with extended use, Acetaminophen is first drug choice Rest, heat/ice, tai chi, aqua therapy, acupuncture Arthroplasty may be recommended if other treatments do not work

12.5.3. Rheumatoid arthritis Most develop earlier in life, before 65 Inflammation of synovial fluid causing pain and edema SX: pain during rest and activity, swollen, red, warm, fatigue, malaise, weakness, weight loss, fever, anemia Anti-inflammatory meds, corticosteroids, immunosuppressive drugs, Foods to avoid: potatoes, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes Herbs to improve SX: green tea and ginger

13. Sleep

13.1. Insomnia

13.1.1. Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep

13.2. Phase advance

13.3. More time in stage 1-2, less time in REM (stage 3-4)

13.4. Sleep latency

13.4.1. Delay in onset of sleep, more sensitive to noises while sleeping

13.4.2. Nurses should be aware and limit noisy activities at night


13.5.1. Restless leg syndrome Uncontrollable urge to move the legs Uncomfortable, electrical, itching, pins and needles, pulling, painful Causes: iron deficiency anemia, uremia, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, neurological lesions TX: dopaminergic drugs, benzodiazepines, opioids, anticonvulsants, adrenergic, iron supplements

13.5.2. Sleep apnea At least 5 episodes of cessation of breathing, Lawton at least 10 seconds, occur per hour of sleep, accompanied by day time sleepiness Snoring accompanies this Sleep disorder clinics and TX: weight reduction, medications, continue Luis positive airway pressure, surgery Can be caused by defect in CNS, blockage in upper airway, or mixed