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Running head: Diversity and Health

DiversityandHealth
University of Phoenix
Professor Stephanie Isgitt
3/1/2015

DiversityandHealth

Diversity and Health

Healthcareisanindustrythatmustincludeandconsidermanypopulations,cultures,
ethnicities,ages,andlifestyles.Itisanindustrythatmustbeculturallycompetent,flexiblein
treatmentoptions,andpromotingthebestcourseofactionforafullandhappylifeonan
individualcasebycasebasis.Weoftenhearaboutdiversityinhealthcareasitpertainstorace
andincomelevel.However,wedonotconcernourselvesmuchwiththeagingpopulation.Senior
Citizensareapopulationofpeoplethatrequirealotofattentionandaccommodationinhealth
care.Itisapopulationthathasmanyriskfactorsandseeminglylittleresourceorhealth
promotingfactorstocounteracttheirobstaclesofillnessandaging.
TheWorldHealthOrganization,statesthepopulationovertheageof60hasdoubled
since1980andwillreach2billionby2050(WorldHealthOrganization).Thisoccurrenceis
producingchallengesforhealthcare,housing,employmentandotherimportantissuesforthe
agingpopulationaccordingtotheAdministrationonAging(AdministrationonAging).
Seniorcitizenpopulationalsoposeschallengesrelatedtobiological,financialand
environmentalconditionsthatcanpreventthemfromattainingahealthylifestyle.Environmental
problemsarecostlyandharmfultothehealthofseniorcitizenswithinfluenzaandpneumonia
consideredasthetopcausesofdeathforseniorcitizens.Healthdeteriorationincreasesovertime
withthispopulationasdifferentlevelsofhealthproblemspresentsitselfatdifferentphasesof
theindividuallifetime.Someofthebiologychallengesthattheyfacearehearingloss,poor
vision,memorylossandlimitedphysicalfunctioningsuchaswalking.Theseparticular
challengescanaffectmanyactivitieslikerememberingtotakemedications,notabletouseorget
toatelephone,unabletogroceryshoporpreparemealsforthemselves.
Asseniorcitizensagetheycanloosetheirnaturalteethandarenotabletochewmost
foodsandhavedifficultyeating.Therearehealthconditionsthatgenerateproblemsswallowing

Diversity and Health

orprescribeddrugsthataffectthesenseoftaste,smellandappetite.Whentheirsenseoftasteis
affected,largeamountsofsugar,saltandbutterisusedwhilepreparingfoodtobringouttastein
theirmeals.Medicationscanalsosuppresstheirappetiteormakethemfeelnauseathatreduces
theirmotivationtoeat.Medicinesnotonlyaffecttheappetite,butalsoproducephysical
weaknessthatresultsinreducedactivity.Thedailysittingaroundorsleepingalldaydoesnot
givethephysicalexercise,stimulationofagoodappetiteoraiddigestionthatisnecessary.
Mostseniorcitizensretirefromfulltimeworkandrelyonsocialsecuritybenefitsand
otherprogramstoprovidethemmonthlyincome.Thesocialsecuritybenefitsallocateresources
fortheirfood,housingandhealthcare,andanyotherneedstheymayhave.Thiscanchangeas
changesoccurwithpriceinstabilityonfood,housingandhealthcare,thesefactorscancause
vulnerabilityinthispopulation.
Stayingactivecanbeachallengeformostseniorcitizens,communityresourcescan
provideneededinvaluablesupport.Theseresourcesareutilizefortheirindependence,health
education,nutritionalneeds,andretirementplanning,housing,legalneedsandhealthcare,these
resourcesshouldbethoughtofasavitalactionplanforseniors.Itisimportanttohavetheright
communityresourcesavailabletomeettheneedsofseniorcitizens.SuchasNationalAging
ServicesOrganizationsthatprovideeducationalinformation,andreferralservices.Religious
Groupsthatprovideoutreachservices,CivicGroupsthatofferseniorauxiliariesandawareness
activities,EducationalInstitutionsthatoffercontinuingeducationandadultlearning
opportunities,andGovernmentAgenciesthatofferseniorcenters,andinformationtofederal
programsforseniors(OurCareCommunity.com).

Diversity and Health

Ethnicityshouldbeidentifiedwhentryingtomanagethehealthofseniorcitizens.
Behavioralhealthprogramshaveidentifiedthatelderlyindividualstendtorespondbetterto
servicesthatarespecificallycreatedtomeettheneedsfortheirageandculture(Vendome
Group,2013).Severalethnicitiesaresensitivetospecifichealthprocedures.Physicalchallenges
appear,mostly,fromtheethnicityandculturalbeliefsofseniorcitizens.Differentculturesand
ethnicitieshaveavarietyofwaysaboutgoingaboutmanaginghealth.Forexample,somegroups
believethathealthcanbemanaged,best,throughnaturalhealing.Withnaturalhealing,the
individualsdonotseekmedicaltreatment.Instead,theycanendureorfindtheirownwaysto
relievetheirpain.However,thisputsthematalargerriskofbeingdiagnosedwithdiseasesand
illnesses.
Genderhasalargeimpactonthehealthofseniorcitizens.Thereareseniorcitizensthat
aretreateddifferentlythanotherpeople,basedongender.Agingwomenhavedifferent
morbidityandmortalityratesthanmales.Theyhavelowermortalityandchronicdiseaserates.
Genderidentifiespowerrelationsbetweenmenandwomen.Menareknown,insociety,for
makingmoremoneythanwomen.Theyarealsomasculine.Whenmenseekhealthcare,theyare
oftenlabeledasbeingweak.Basedonpsychosocialfactors,womenaremorelikelytohave
poorerhealththanmenandwillseekmedicalcaremorethanmen.Agingwomenaremorelikely
toreportlimitations,theirdegreeofdisability,andothernoncriticaldisablingconditions.
Demographicresearch,collectedoverdecades,indicatethatolderAmericanshavea
stronglevelofconnectionwithwealthandhealthstatus.Therelationshiphasdeterminedthat
seniorcitizens,whomakeorreceivemorehouseholdmoney,arehealthierthantheothersenior
citizensbecausetheyareabletoaffordbetterhealthcareastheygetolder(Rand,1998).Itis

Diversity and Health

impossibleformanyseniorcitizenstoreceivethehealthcarecoverageneededtofunction,
properly.Socioeconomicstatusisabigpartofhowseniorcitizensmanagetotakecareof
themselves.Manyseniorcitizensaredealingwithretirement,financesfrombenefits,ortryingto
figureouthowtoobtainmoneythatcanbeusedtotakecareofthem.Itisdifficultforalotof
seniorcitizenstryingtomaintaingoodhealth,whenthecostsofhealthcare,whichisahuge
portionofenablingseniorcitizenstostopfromobtainingdiseasesandillnesses,arevery
expensive.Healthyfood,also,tendstobemoreexpensivethaneatingunhealthyfood.Inorderto
stayhealthy,especiallyintheageofaseniorcitizen,theseniorcitizenshavetomakesurethey
aregettingenoughnutrition,exercise,andgetfrequentcheckups.Programs,providingfundsfor
poorerseniorcitizens,helpstominimizetheissuesinhealthstatusbyallowingseniorcitizensto
functionjustaswellastheseniorcitizensthathavemoremoney.Recentresearchhasshownthat
withMedicare,Medicaid,andsocialsecuritypolicies,researchershavebeenunabletotruly
identifyhowhealthandsocioeconomicstatusimpactthelivesoftheseniorcitizens(Rand,
1998).
Protectivefactorsareattributes,lifeevents,orcharacteristicsheldbyasetpopulationthat
helppromoteorresistcertainriskfactors(Benson,1999).Inthecaseofseniorcitizens,itis
essentialtoidentifywhatcommonailmentscomewithaging.Whenproducingprotectivefactors
wemustidentifytheriskofmentalhealthissuesthatcomewithaging,likedementiaor
Alzheimers.Wealsomustconsiderriskincreaseinconditionsthatarecommontoaging,like
diabetesandheartdisease.Seniorcitizensholdinvaluablefactorsthatcanhelpinpreventative
care.Aseniorcitizenslifeexperiences,wisdom,socialsupport,andpreventativecareinnutrition
candelaytheonsetofanyofthementionedconditionswhenutilizedefficientlyand

Diversity and Health

appropriately.Lifeexperiencescanofferinsightonhowtoeducateonesselfandimplement
lifestylechangeswithurgency.Thewisdomgainedinsenioryearscanleadtocalculated
decisionsthatpromotehealthinawaythatayoungerindividualthatfeelsinvinciblemightnot
see.Socialsupportofferspositiveexperiencesandattitudethathavebeenknowntodelaymental
illnessinanyone,specificallyintheelderly(Benson,1999).Itisalsocommonknowledgethata
goodsupportstructurecanofferaideandliftburdensoffofthepersonneedingsupport;thereby,
causinglessstressandhigherchanceofquickrecoverytimes.Preventativeandwellness
appointmentspairedwithpropernutritionandexercisecanspeedtherejuvenationprocessinany
bodyanditiswisetocatchsymptomsofdiseaseearlysothatthebodyhasaneasiertime
managingthedisease.
Inconclusion,Seniorcitizens,althoughmorefrailthanotherpopulationshavebenefiting
protectivefactorsthatcanovercometheadversitytheyfaceinregardtohealth.Specificcultures,
genders,lifestyles,andenvironmentsaremoredesirablethanothersinregardtopreventative
measures.However,Seniorcitizensaretypicallywiseenoughtounderstandthemorbidityrates
andmakelogicaldecisionbasedontheirsituationandcircumstance.Culturalaspectscanlargely
impactthewayinwhichaseniorapproachestheirhealthandwellness.Itisessentialtooffer
educationtothispopulationandencouragepreventativemeasuresnotonlytoelongatetheir
qualityoflifeandlifespan,butalsotosavetheirfamilyontime,resources,andcostsin
maintainingtheirlifewithanonsetofadramatichealthchange.

Diversity and Health

References
AdministrationonAgingRetrievedfromwww.aoa.gov
AginginPlace:TheImportanceofCommunityResourcesRetrievedfrom
www.ourcarecommunity.com).
Benson,P.L.,Scales,P.C.,Leffert,N.,&Roehlkepartain,E.C.(1999).AFragileFoundation:
TheStateofDevelopmentalAssetsamongAmericanYouth.Minneapolis:Search
Institute.
Marks,D.F.,Murray,M.,Evans,B.,&Estacio,E.V.(2011).Healthpsychology:Theory,
researchandpractice(3rded.).ThousandOaks,CA:Sage
Rand.(1998).TheRelationshipBetweentheSocioeconomicStatusandHealthoftheElderly.
Retrievedfromhttp://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB5020/index1.html
ReportonthePreparationsfortheRoundTableonHealthyAgingWorldHealthOrganization
retrievedfromhttp://search.who.int/search
VendomeGroup.(2013).SeniorsNeedBehavioralHealthServicesTailoredtoAge,Ethnicity.
Retrievedfromhttp://www.ltlmagazine.com/article/seniorsneedbehavioralhealth
servicestailoredageethnicity