Health Promotion and Wellness Initiatives for the Elderly
One of the most essential factors that have helped us to lead a healthy life is health. According to the World Health Organization, “health is a state of full physical, emotional and social well being and not just the absence of sickness and disease.” A wide variety of definitions has been used over time for the purpose of describing the quality of health. These may include but are not limited to the levels of fitness and health, the ability to engage in socially appropriate and enjoyable activity, and the ability to participate in one’s daily routines without limitation. For many people, defining health is a difficult task.
Unfortunately, there are no nationally recognized standards for assessing health. Each state, as well as each county, have its own public health policy with corresponding requirements for people of all ages to live under. As most of us come to terms with the concept of health on our own through observation of what we see around us and through common sense, many questions about health arise that require further explanation by an objective third party.
Public health is concerned with the overall condition of the population as a whole, as well as with the health of individual families, individuals, and groups of people within a community. The primary focus of public health is to promote the overall well being of society by reducing the prevalence of disease, improving the health of the people of society, and preventing new diseases from developing. In addition, public health seeks to ensure that the conditions of the lives of pregnant women, children, teenagers, and old adults are not deteriorated due to lack of preventative measures. Prevention is viewed as the primary means of controlling the epidemic of chronic disease.
Managing disease is a key component of public health practice. Controlling disease involves preventing the spread of diseases that already exist as well as preventing new ones from developing. Two elements are often vital in the successful management of diseases: identification and treatment. In the process of managing disease, two important things to remember are that prevention is better than cure and that health is ultimately only successful when it is maintained.
Older adults face many unique life course issues that must be addressed in successful management of disease. These include changes in their lifestyle, changes in their diets, changes in their bodies, and changes in their social well-being. To effectively manage the health of older adults, it is important for these individuals to take on the role of “socialiser” and to ensure that they maintain and develop healthy relationships throughout their lives. By working with their primary care providers, this ensures that older adults receive nutrition and medical attention in a timely manner. In addition, by forming a network of family and friends, this enables older adults to provide services and support to their social network without becoming isolated.
Health promotion is a key component to improving the health and wellness of an aging population. In fact, health promotion and wellness initiatives are now part of what is being called “integrative health strategies”. This approach targets the interdependence of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. Prevention is always the best course of action because it helps keep people from getting sick or injured in the first place and prevents illness from progressing if it is already too late. By incorporating a comprehensive wellness plan for the older adult, a greater chance of achieving optimum health is possible. By maintaining a strong sense of self-awareness, acceptance, and empathy for others, health promotion and wellness become not only possible but also very attainable.