Chronic illness and eating disorders among the older adults

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The older Adults find themselves in an unexplainable situation regarding their health because their bodies do not have the resilience like that of the young people. A range of illness form part of their life and 78% of the deaths of these seniors occur due to chronic illness such as the heart disease and diabetes. Besides the eating disorder is another cause of the alarming death rates among this population. This essay seeks to illuminate the health status of the older adults relative to two risk factors namely chronic illness and eating disorders. Besides, the paper will explore the manner in which lifestyle and behavior decisions affect the health of this population.

Background Information

According to Wu et al., (2013), the prevalence of the chronic illness is highly attributed to the older adults because of numerous factors, which include low immune response to these conditions. In his article, Wu et al. (2013) that reflects on an inquest to the chronic illness attributed to the Chinese Older adults reveal that hypertension was the most predominant illness that is immensely linked to the Chinese population aged 50 years and above. However, the study revealed that primary the extent of chronic illness increased with age. For instance, 78% of those aged 80 years and above indicate signs of chronic conditions, which in most cases contribute to death. On the other hand, Fisher & McCabe (2005) illuminates that chronic disabilities are correlated to a decrease in the body and functional potential and even social isolation, which are the standard features that define the old adults in the society. Additionally, over 80% of the older adults’ population in the US suffers from at least one chronic condition, and diagnosis has shown that nearly 60% of this population has symptoms of at least two chronic conditions. The chronic diseases have been linked to various aspects, which include functional restrictions, mental impairments, and injuries. It is attestable that, this is a deplorable state of affairs of this population cadre. A lot of effort regarding caregiving and treatment needs to be a point of focus, for not only the government but also even the non-governmental health organizations to ensure a healthy cadre of older adults (Fisher & McCabe, 2005). This brings us to the second risk factor attributed to the health of the older adults: the eating disorders.

According to Francesco et al. (2016), in his article on Anorexia of aging explains that, the age-attributed transformations in lifestyle, ailment conditions and the social settings have an immense and direct impact on the dietary and nutritional response to the geriatric population. Anorexia refers to the condition of losing appetite in adult life, which is a significant prototype of the geriatric disorder. Some of the contributing factors of the eating disorder as a risk factor to the health status of the adult population include the sense or ability to smell and taste the food, which varies significantly, contributes to the low intake of food in late adult age. A significant number of buds for taste diminishes in the aging process and the ones that remain become atrophic. This situation explains well the reasons for the high prevalence of eating disorders among the older adults. It is evident that the aged have a higher likelihood of suffering from eating disorders compared to the young population; hence, there is great need to have clear-cut programs and approaches that can intervene in helping this population (Francesco et al. 2016). The aspects of lifestyle, behavior decisions come into play as part of the attributes of the primary risk factors for the old adults’ health status.

In his article about the link between the healthy behaviors and the health results among the aged Selivanova & Cramm (2014) study indicates that healthy behaviors particularly the physical activity are crucial for the health of the Russia’s old population. The study reveals that the behavior of smoking positively correlated with the deterioration of men’s health. On the other hand, the research indicated that the women who consumed fruits and vegetables were positively influenced. The case of alcohol did not indicate the much negative effect on the health of the adult elders. This study is an illustration of how lifestyle and healthy behaviors influence the health of the adult elders and this need to be passed down to the risk population to avoid negative behaviors, which contribute to the deterioration of both the physical and cognitive health conditions of these people.

On a similar, note the aspect of cross-cultural, diversity and stage of the population influence the choices of the health behaviors. According to Nguyen & Seal (2014) in his article about cross-cultural differences of health care behaviors reveals that the cross-cultural comparisons between the results of the Chinese and Hmong elder adults indicate a pattern of similarities when that follow the cultural heterogeneity between the two groups. Excellent physical and cognitive wellness were significant components of successful aging for the Chinese and Hmong older adults. However, both groups indicated the presence of a chronic disease. In a broader perspective, it is attestable that people belonging to the same cultural group of originality tend to have a similar choice of health behaviors, which follow them to the nature of the health conditions they experience at the old age. In essence, diversity plays a key role in the choices of the health behaviors, which also indicate diversity in the health conditions they suffer from at old age. Following this illustration, there is a need for a proper health care for this group to help in preventing and treating the conditions.

Health plan versus health risk/behavior for the Older Adults

No Risk Factor Way of improving/ Support
1 Chronic Illness Administering of medical and LTC services. LTC are supportive services, which addresses the general healthcare to be extended to the individuals (Fisher & McCabe, 2005).
2 Eating Disorders Outpatient management intertwined with psychological treatment by competent service team should be offered to those suffering from Anorexia nervosa.

Admission of the individuals suffering from Anorexia nervosa to a specialized facility for re-feeding is crucial to enable them regain appetite and physical health. These services should be offered together with psychological interventions to help in improving the cognitive health of the older adults.


  Health Behavior Way of improving/ Support
1 Stress management Practice the theory of four As

Avoid, Alter, Adapt and Accept.

The victims should be trained on how to avoid unnecessary stress

Alter situations especially the stressful ones

Adapt the stressor

Accept the things or situations that one cannot change (Murgado, 2011).


2 Physical exercise Begin with warm-up and cool-down

Aerobic Activity, which include walking, jogging, gold, Tennis and swimming among others.

Muscle-Strengthening activities

Flexibility activities

Balance Activities such as backward walking and heel walking (Neal-Boylan, 2011).


3 Nutrition Calcium and vitamins D are crucial in maintaining the bone health

Fiber to help in lowering risk for heart disease

Diet with Potassium critical in helping lowering high blood pressure (Neal-Boylan, 2011).

Diets with low fats to be served.

4 Pain management  Need to embrace the pharmacodynamics deviations of the aged.

Avoid Placebo use

Embrace the universal and interdisciplinary method of osteopathic cure (Neal-Boylan, 2011).

Prevention plan, prevention strategies, and treatment plan

No  Risk Factor Prevention Strategies Treatment plan
1 Chronic illness Epidemiology and close monitoring

Health care interventions

Promotion of health and support healthy behaviors

Administering of medical and LTC services
2 Eating disorder Embrace awareness

Embrace the thin ideal

Talk about it

Take action

Psychological treatment


This study indicates that the older adults are readily prevalent to the risk factors under discussion: chronic illness and an eating disorder.  Due to their old age, the individuals have lost much of their active body functionality regarding morbidity, cognitive ability, and biological functions, making it easy to fall victim of these risk factors. There is an immense need to undertake a specific approach to prevent, treat these conditions. Various strategies such as the creation of awareness, seeking early epidemiology checkups and treatment among others should be undertaken promptly to avoid severe complications during the actual procedure.

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  1. Fisher, H. M., & McCabe, S. (January 01, 2005). Managing Chronic Conditions for Elderly Adults: The VNS CHOICE Model. Health Care Financing Review, 27, 1, 33-46.
  2. Francesco Landi, Riccardo Calvani, Matteo Tosato, Anna Maria Martone, Elena Ortolani, Giulia Savera, Alex Sisto, … Emanuele Marzetti. (January 01, 2016). Anorexia of Aging: Risk Factors, Consequences, and Potential Treatments. Nutrients, 8, 2, 69.
  3. Murgado, A. (January 01, 2011). Stress management. Police (carlsbad, Calif.), 35, 3.)
  4. Neal-Boylan, L. (2011). Clinical Case Studies for the Family Nurse Practitioner. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.
  5. Nguyen, A. L., & Seal, D. W. (June 01, 2014). Cross-Cultural Comparison of Successful Aging Definitions Between Chinese and Hmong Elders in the United States. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 29, 2, 153-171.
  6. Selivanova, A., & Cramm, J. M. (December 19, 2014). The relationship between healthy behaviors and health outcomes among older adults in Russia. Bmc Public Health, 14, 1.)
  7. Wu, F., Guo, Y., Kowal, P., Jiang, Y., Yu, M., Li, X., Zheng, Y…. Dowd, J. B. (September 17, 2013). Prevalence of Major Chronic Conditions among Older Chinese Adults: The Study on Global AGEing and Adult Health (SAGE) Wave 1. Plos One, 8, 9.)
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