Gerontology Case Study

Topics: Old age, Gerontology, Geriatrics Pages: 5 (1610 words) Published: December 11, 2013

Comprehensive Scholarly Paper

Gerontology is the scientific study of old age, the process of aging, and the particular problems of old people. With maturation the elderly suffer from age-related changes that effect their overall health and day to day living. Even those these changes provide limitations that can be lived with, these changes can also exacerbate many medical conditions.

The elderly client I decided to evaluate, a 76 year old african american female, that has a past medical history of chronic heart failure, myocardial infarction, hypertension, asthma, and renal mass. H.J.also has a past surgical history of a left mastectomy. She is retired and lives at home by herself and has one daughter.

Some of her medical conditions are definitely effected by age as well as lifestyle. With age the heart and blood vessels undergo many changes. In the heart with age the SA node loses some of its cells, this may result in a lower heart rate. Abnormal rhythms such as atrial fibrillation, these arrhythmia are often due to heart failure. Hypertension in the elderly is also common. With an increase in age the systolic blood pressure can increase up to 20 mmHg on its own. “The baroreceptors become less sensitive with aging. This may explain why many older people have orthostatic hypotension”. With all of these heart changes it is important that the elderly are educated about lifestyle changes. While H.J was a patient in the hospital she ordered a heart healthy diet, which helps control blood pressure and cholesterol. The patient also had a history of a stroke, which also has to do with lack of blood flow to the brain. The prevalence of all these medical conditions increase with age when the elderly are not properly taking care of themselves. It is important to be eating a healthy diet, exercising, and refraining from the abuse of substances. By this client being a previous intravenous drug abuser she is even more exposed to complication. Drug abuse can, “cause cardiovascular conditions ranging from abnormal heart rate to heart attacks. Injected drugs can also lead to collapsed veins and infections of the blood vessels and heart valves”.

There are many considerations when it comes to medications and the elderly. Age-related changes often affect the action and availability of the medications in the body. Many of the elderly are also non-adherent to medication. For example although H.J was administered several medications in the hospital such as lovenox, protonix, plavix, bactroban, methadone, and multivitamins, there was no list of medications in her file for reconciliation and I am almost certain it is because she refuses to take them. Just in that day I witnessed her refuse several medications as well as labs, while in the hospital. Following her many hospital visits she has been ordered several medications to be continued at home, but does not want to take them for her own personal reasons. There are many factors that can contribute to non-adherence which include; depression, cognitive impairment, isolated living conditions, finances, beliefs, adverse effects and knowledge deficit. It is likely this patient did not want to take her medication due to knowledge deficit and beliefs. She seemed un educated about how much the medicine could help her if she did take it. The medicine she was sure to take was her methadone. Methadone is mainly given to patients who suffered from a drug dependency and causes irritability when in between doses. Drug users who are struggling with a dependency definitely have a cognitive impairment and are not often thinking with a clear head. Polypharmacy is also a issue with the elderly because of drug interactions. The elderly are more at risk for medication-medication interactions due to the fact they are prescribed so many medications.

H.J did not have many functional limitations documented on her chart. She was able to feed herself...

References: Aging changes in the heart and blood vessels: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (2012, September 4). U.S National Library of Medicine. Retrieved December 9, 2013, from
Aging changes in the kidneys and bladder: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (2012, November 10). U.S National Library of Medicine. Retrieved December 9, 2013, from
Falls Among Older Adults: An Overview. (2013, September 20). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 9, 2013, from
Feature, W. (n.d.). Physical Therapy a Boon for Seniors. WebMD. Retrieved December 9, 2013, from
Miller, C. A. (20122012). Nursing for wellness in older adults (Sixth ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Moore, A. (1999, July 15). Result Filters. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved December 9, 2013, from
The Importance of Family Support for Elderly Well Being. (2011, April 27). San Diego Home Care. Retrieved December 9, 2013, from
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