Sample essay on death and dying in late adulthood
The following essay will be primarily focusing on the causes and signs in late adulthood concerning death.
Late adulthood begins around the age of 65. Growing old has become a fear for most people worldwide as it is also associated with physical and mental health deterioration.
Older adults are generally more matured and emotionally more stable. It is often characterized by a reduced activity to fight off illness resulting in increased health problems. Depression, anxiety, and loneliness become a common illness amongst old adults.
Symptoms of late adulthood
- There are many changes in a person’s cognition, the decline in attention, and most memory, which is a part of information processing and the increase of wisdom.
- The person’s skin condition changes as it continues to lose its elasticity, reaction time slows, and muscle strength diminishes.
- There is a decline in hearing and vision of a person significantly, like cataracts and other passive hearing and vision impairment forms.
- The other senses, such as taste, touch, and smell, are also comparatively less sensitive than they were in earlier years.
- The immune system gets weakened, and older adults are more susceptible to cancer, diabetes, and other ailments. Cardiovascular and respiratory problems are other secondary reasons for death. Physical mobility diminishes, and loss of balance resulting in falls and injuries.
- Lower functioning of the brain leading to problems like memory loss and decreased intellectual function. Alzheimer’s, cerebrovascular, Parkinson, Lon Gehrig’s diseases are a few of them associated with lower brain function.
Causes of death in late adulthood
- Heart disease – The primary cause of death in the late adulthood group has been mostly heart-related disease. Like heart failure, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes is also is a big cause of heart disease. The main causes of heart-related diseases are improper diet, obesity, alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, and family history.
- Cancer – This is the second biggest cause of death in the late adulthood group. The malignant blood and bone marrow disease cause leukemia that is part of this group. Late adults are at a greater risk of these diseases. Lifestyle habit changes may reduce the risk, including maintaining a healthy weight. Increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables and decreasing the intake of red and processed meats could easily reduce cancer risk.
- Cerebrovascular Disease – It can also be called a stroke. A stroke is either a clot or a blockage that cuts off blood flow to a part of the brain or causing brain hemorrhage. Both cases cause damage or death to brain tissue, causing paralysis, speech disorders, swallowing problems, and immobility. Hypertension is the most important risk factor associated with stroke but diabetes; hypertension risk increases by smoking.
- Alzheimer’s – This is a progressive memory cognitive disorder. It causes changes in personality and complete loss of function and abilities. It causes memory loss and is common in all age groups but most common in the late adulthood group.
- Lack of Nutrition and Healthy Hygiene Habits – Older adults require special care, just like toddlers. Their diet must include healthy and nutritious diets, mostly fruits and vegetables. Due to neglect of themselves and family members, they’re usually deprived of various nutrition that might weaken them. With age, our bones become more fragile and weak, and with better nutrition, a healthy lifestyle could be achieved even after one reaches his 60s. This lack of nutritious food could be a major cause of death in old age. An older adult resides must also be clean and hygienic as it could cause further illness in an older adult.
- Age – It is considered as the natural death of a person due to old age. We all have a fixed time to go, and the most natural death is death due to old age.
- No personal care – Most of the older adults have been seen staying alone at their residential homes. They’ve no family to take care of them, and as a result, they mostly fall ill and causing their death.
Palliative Care for dying patient in late adulthood
Palliative care is care designed to improve the quality of life by making one feel better physically and emotionally.
Palliative care is not to control or cure illness but to give a sense of independence, comfort, and support.
It also helps in managing pain and controlling symptoms. It keeps the potential problems in check. It also prepares patients mentally for death. This care is mostly given to patients with cancer, lung diseases, and dementia. It is given mostly after having tried all the possible medications for the patient.
It is an interdisciplinary medical caregiving approach to optimize the quality of life and mitigate suffering among people with serious and complex illnesses.
Various therapies are given to the patient like chemotherapy and radiotherapy to improve fatigue, breathlessness, and nausea. These therapies help patients in the following ways:-
Help in managing day to day life
Complementary therapies such as massage or aromatherapy
Advice on financial entitlements and in other major decisions of life
End of life care
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