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Introduction

The population health promotion model assesses the health of a population through various measures. These measures include mortality rate, morbidity and change in health knowledge. Mortality rate is defined as the number of deaths arising from various causes in any given population for a specified period of time. The measurement of mortality rate is also expressed in units of death for every 1000 persons in a period of one year (Jirojwong & Liamputtong, 2008). The morbidity rate refers to the state of diseases or incidences of appearances of diseases in an individual or a given population for a specified period of time, specifically within a period of one year (Jirojwong & Liamputtong, 2008). Change in health knowledge refers to the increased awareness of health related information within a given aggregate for a specified period of time. The current paper focuses on the success of the population health promotion model in using the measures of mortality, morbidity, and the change in knowledge level of senior citizens.

Review of Senior Citizen Aggregate Group in Alberta

Senior citizen is a common term used in reference to elderly persons in the community, mostly above 65 years. This group of people involves those who have retired and rely on pension or the support of family members for the upkeep. The widely used age that defines senior citizens is the age of 65 years (Roger, 2010). In the region of Alberta in Canada, the number of senior citizens in 2009 was three times the population in 1974 whereby the population was 130045 in 1974 while in 2009 it was reported at 385,241 (GOA, 2010)

In general, the population of senior citizens in the world has increased significantly. The increase can be attributed to various aspects, such as increased medical care and increase information related to the health (Erhardt & Berlin, 2013). In reference to Alberta, the senior citizens group was 10.4 percentage of the total population. A third of this aggregate group was composed of persons aged between 65-69 years while half of the aggregate group was below the age of 75years. According to the statistics of 2009, the senior citizens above the age of 80 years were a quarter of the aggregate group in Alberta (GOA, 2010). In 2009, the number of women in the senior citizen category was approximately 211640 while that of male was almost 173600. This was 55% and 45% in composition of the aggregate group respectively (GOA, 2010). Almost 60% of senior citizens had attained a degree, diploma or certificate as at 2006. This had a positive impact in relation to access to health information

This group of people is vulnerable to death because of various factors. It is a common knowledge that there are a few cases of persons within this group that are involved in physical exercises. The lack of physical exercises makes this group vulnerable to common diseases, such as fever and flu (Roger, 2010). Furthermore, this group of people, in most cases, has little funds, except for those that have been employed in well-paying jobs. The result of inadequate funds makes it harder for this group of people to access high quality health care services. Another important factor to note is that this group of people is, in most cases, neglected.

The senior citizens cannot manage to take care of themselves in the best possible way without the community’s support. The result of the lack of support makes this group practice unhealthy living brought about by lack of access of quality food, since they rely on eating processed foods and the group is not able to attend to the matters of personal hygiene up to the required standards (Erhardt & Berlin, 2013).

Measuring Mortality, Morbidity and Health Information Behavior

The mortality rate of the senior citizens can be measured through the age-specific mortality rate. Furthermore, this mortality rate will be measured by taking the number of elderly people that die as a result of not accessing medical care or those who die, while being under treatment. For morbidity rate, the senior citizen population group should be isolated and research done to determine the rates of prevalence of diseases types within this group. The level of health information behavior of the senior citizen can be accessed through many ways. This can be done through administration of questionnaires or interviews, based on the level of knowledge of diseases among the persons in the group.

Senior citizens are faced with risks of various diseases. Some of these diseases include arthritis, cancer, pneumonia and influenza, diseases of the respiratory system, including the heart diseases. Other risks facing them include abuse of substances, falls and injuries, diabetes, depression, obesity, and poverty. They are a representation of the diseases that are most common among the senior citizens. Though there could be some small differences, as brought about by the environmental factors and genetics related factors.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a common disease among senior citizens of the Alberta. The disease is associated with lack of physical exercises. A higher percentage of the senior citizens of Alberta are likely to be affected by this disease because of low physical activities. Only Four out of ten translating to only 40% of the Alberta seniors were reported to be moderately active or physically active (GOA, 2010). In order to treat cases of arthritis and try to combat this problem, it is important for the people involved in health population control to encourage senior citizens to have personal activity plans, so that they can keep their bodies healthy. In addition to having the personal activity plans, the health providers should contact tests across all the senior citizens and put them on treatment as early as possible.

Heart Diseases

It has been established that heart diseases is the leading cause of death among the senior citizens. Men are more affected, as compared to women. It has been established that the rates of increased heart diseases come along with the advancement in age (Roger, 2010). The aged people have high levels of cholesterol due to low activity level and poor feeding habits, as mentioned before. It was reported that Less than half of seniors approximately 44.7%) ate five or more servings of Vegetables and fruit in a day (GOA, 2010). The other heart disease that comes with advancement in age is high blood pressure. The result of this is that the senior citizens are exposed to higher chances of death. Just like the case of arthritis, heart disease is a problem that can be dealt with through population health promotion. Health practitioners should encourage the senior citizens faced with the heart disease problems to seek medical care. Apart from the treatment, it will be upon the health officials to partner with the community in encouraging this group of people to engage in physical exercises, eat a well balanced diet, and have enough rest.

Respiratory Diseases

Respiratory diseases are another major cause of death among the senior citizens in the Canada. Statistics show that approximately 3% of elderly people die from this diseases Alberta (GOA, 2010). The most common diseases in this category are asthma and chronic bronchitis. It is important to state that cases of respiratory diseases increase the chances of senior citizens contracting various infections, pneumonia being an example of such infections. In order to mitigate this problem through the population health promotion, the nurses or other medical personnel should encourage the senior citizens to look for the best treatment. Furthermore, this group of people should be encouraged to undergo lung function tests and be taught on how to use oxygen in the correct way as per the given instruction. Until this is done, there will be continued cases of senior citizens dying from the same infection, thereby increasing the mortality rate of the elderly.

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Diabetes

Diabetes is another disease that has negatively impacted health of senior citizen in Alberta. Statistics show that the number of female senior citizens is higher than that of males in many regions in Canada. Another disease which can be mitigated through the population health promotion, whereby the medical officials such as nurses will encourage the senior citizens to undergo blood tests to determine the sugar levels. Those who will be identified having diabetes or at higher chances of developing diabetes, can be put under the control mechanisms meant to improve their health and lifestyle. This will have the effect of reducing the mortality rate.

Elderly women, being the most vulnerable group, should be encouraged to undertake the tests as frequently as possible. The promotion that will be undertaken by the health officials will help in increasing the awareness of this disease among the elderly in the society.

Cancer

Cancer is another cause of deaths in in Canada and more specifically Alberta.

It is estimated that 6,400 deaths due to cancer will occur in Alberta in 2014. Furthermore, it is reported that almost 16,500 of new cases will come up for diagnosis. Despite the fact that the highest percentage of the cases will be for citizens between 45-64 years, the percentage of senior suffering from cancer will be above 20% of the deaths caused by cancer in Alberta (CCS, 2014). It is important to state that most types of cancers can be treated. This information should be spread through the population health promotion. As such, the senior citizens should be encouraged to prevent cancer, so as to improve the quality of their lives, while reducing the rates of high mortality rates. These groups should be encouraged to undergo colonoscopies and mammograms. Furthermore, this population group should be encouraged to go for skin checks which can reveal whether they have skin cancer or not.

Falls and Other Injuries

Falls and injuries are other causes of death among the senior citizens in the United States of America. It was reported that one out of five senior citizens in Alberta which translates to 20.6% of seniors between the ages of 65-84 years had experienced falls resulting to deaths or some form of limitation in their daily activities (GOA, 2010). Several researches have established that there is a relationship between advancement in age and the risk of falls, whereby the elderly people are said to be more prone to accidental falls (Erhardt & Berlin, 2013). In relation to Alberta, a quarter of seniors aged 85 years and above were a subject of accidental falls (GOA, 2010)Most cases of falls among the elderly persons have been said to have occurred at home and are usually caused by slippery bathroom floors and rugs. In order to reduce the cases of deaths caused by falls and injuries, the promotion should aim at campaigning that the elderly persons live in houses, having rough floors and that the bathrooms should be constructed in such a way that there will be minimal chances of slipping.

Influenza and Pneumonia

Pneumonia and influenza are also a major treat to the senior citizens health in in Alberta. Influenza and Pneumonia despite not being chronic diseases are a major cause of death in the senior citizen aggregate group. The reason for the high number of deaths is due to the fact that the immune systems of people falling under this age group are weak (Erhardt & Berlin, 2013). Therefore, the seniors of Alberta just like any other seniors are subject to suffer from these diseases. In addressing this problem, the health officials, such as nurses should encourage that senior citizens are given the pneumonia vaccine and the influenza shot on a yearly basis, based on the recommendation of their doctors. This group of persons should be informed of their immune system weaknesses, so that they can agree to the vaccine and shot (Erhardt & Berlin, 2013). When this is done, the rate of mortality will definitely reduce.

Obesity

Obesity is another challenge affecting the senior citizens of Alberta. According to the statistics of 2009, 58.7% of the senior citizens were reported to be overweight or obese of which the male were the adversely affected having a percentage composition of 65% of the senior citizens aggregate group (GOA, 2010). Occurrences of the following three diseases are related to high obesity levels.

There are many causes of obesity within the senior citizen population group but the most common cause is the lack of physical exercises (Erhardt & Berlin, 2013). In a similar way, obesity should be addressed through the population health promotion, where the senior citizens should be encouraged to engage in light physical exercises, alongside avoiding fatty meals. With controlled obesity levels, there will be a significant reduction in the incidences of heart diseases, cancer and diabetes and the reflection of this aspect will be a reduction in the mortality rate.

Alcohol and Tobacco

Substance abuse has been pointed out as another cause of poor health standard among the elderly citizens in Alberta. Even though smoking and Alcohol consumption is not very common in this aggregate group as compared to young population, it is still a cause of poor health for a few cases in this group. it is reported that about one tenth of the seniors smoke on a daily basis on or some occasions. Furthermore, above 3% of the senior citizens were said to be heavy drinkers (GOA, 2010). The negative causes of alcohol on the health of this population group have been increased mortality rate, as a result of intoxication, since this alcohol had been in reaction with some of the medicines being used by these people in the treatment of other diseases. There has been an increased health risk leading to significant increases in mortality rates as a result of injuries from accidental fall. Just like other health risks, the population health promotion can help in addressing this problem. Efforts should be encouraged to identify the elderly citizens who are alcoholic and try to rehabilitate through educating themselves on the effects of alcohol and helping them on how they can control their addiction to alcohol.

Depressions

Depressions are also a major concern in health of the senior citizen population group. The risk levels are higher among the elderly men than the elderly women. 10.3% of the senior citizens aggregate group were perceived to be undergoing stress levels in Alberta though this was significantly lower than the stress levels of the general population that stood at 22.5% (GOA, 2010).This is an issue which could be improved through the population health promotion. The medical officials should be able to give treatment of controlling high depression levels. Alongside these treatments, the officials should provide counseling services to boost the moods of the elderly people, while also encouraging them to be physically active. This problem can also be handled by increasing social interaction of this group. As such, the medical officials should encourage the families of the elderly persons and the society, in general, to interact with these persons to improve their moods and, thus, enhance their health which will result in lower mortality rates.

Poverty

The health of senior citizens in Alberta has been affected by poverty some levels of poverty. As per the statistics of 2008, the average income for the senior citizens was lower than that of the whole population. This was $32,700, $ 15400 lower than the average income of the general population (GOA, 2010). This income was also unevenly distributed between genders with majority of it being possessed by elderly males. Furthermore, the single senior citizens were adversely affected health-wise, compared to other senior citizens. The effect of the poverty was that this group of persons was not able to access medication for some diseases, while they were not able to access a well-balanced diet. The population health promotion should be able to measure their number of elderly persons living under poverty and come up with a plan on how to help such people to access better medical services, as well as balanced diets. This can be done by involving the whole community and the government, so that the funds can be sourced for the support of the health of the senior citizens.

Diagnosis

  • Senior citizens in Alberta (Mortality, Morbidity and change in Health Knowledge)
  • Characteristics of the Group

Low level of physical activity
Poor feeding habits
Inadequate knowledge on health
Weak immune system
Isolation from community
Low income levels
Wellness and Deficit Diagnosis

The diagnosis of the problem of the senior citizens should take into consideration social, political, and economic aspects. The low level of activities should be addressed from a social perspective whereby the family members and the community at large should encourage these individuals to undertake physical exercises. Poor feeding habits can be also solved through the social aspect and political aspect. Socially, the community and the family should ensure that the senior citizens access a balanced diet and this could include cooking for them. On a political aspect, there should be legislation that promotes better feeding to this group such as giving food stamps. The issue of inadequate knowledge can be solved by the nursing body working closely with the community to promote health knowledge within this group. Enhancement of this knowledge will make it possible for this group to understand that they have a weak immune system. On the issue of isolation, the nursing body should educate the community on the importance of caring for senior citizens. And finally the issue of low income level can be solved from an economic aspect and political aspect. The nursing body can come up with a program to solicit funds for distribution to senior citizens. Politically, the nursing body can push for implementation of policies that will result to efficient funding of the senior citizens in the society.

Confirmation of Appropriateness Diagnosis

Various measures can be taken to assess whether the diagnosis is appropriate to the senior citizens. This can be done by taking the statistics of the mortality rates and morbidity rates within the target group. It will be upon the nursing community to closely monitor this group to ascertain whether it is following the recommended control measures as far as the diseases mentioned above are concerned. Furthermore, alternative control measures should be suggested for those control measures that are unpopular within the group .The nursing body should also take a study to determine the level of health knowledge within the group by conducting interview and administering questionnaires.

Conclusion

The population health promotion can measure the success of population’s health through the measures of mortality rate, morbidity and the level of health related information. The senior citizen population group refers to the population of 65 years and above. This population is approximately 40% of the population of the United States. Senior citizens are a population group, which is vulnerable to health risks and is exposed to many diseases, as a result of reduced body activity and poor feeding habits among others. The control of these diseases within this vulnerable group can be achieved by having special treatment plans and preventing measures, applicable to this population group. Giving this group the access to health information will also improve the health of this group, since this will know the importance of early medical checkup and the importance of physical exercises, as well as good eating habits. Furthermore, it will be better to identify the needy cases, so as to attend to them accordingly.

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