The number of older adults (age 65 and older) has risen significantly because of increasing life expectancy.
Older adulthood is a time of transition. Most health problems experienced by older adults are chronic in nature and often affect the person's ability to live independently.
Most older adults live independently.
Aging can be examined from a life expectancy, percentage of total population, or life-span perspective.
Aging in place means that as they age, persons live in their own elder-friendly residences and receive supportive services for their changing needs, rather than moving to another location or alternative type of housing.
Retirement communities are planned and built specifically to provide elder-friendly dwellings and environments for independent living and allow older adults to "downsize" their dwelling.
Continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) offer a wide range of living accommodations, including residential living, assisted living, skilled nursing care, rehabilitation, and dementia care on a large campus-like setting.
Assisted-living facilities (ALFs) are congregate residential settings that provide or coordinate personal services, 24-hour supervision and assistance, activities, and health-related services.
Nursing care facilities, or nursing homes, provide skilled and unskilled nursing care for older adults and adults with disabilities.
The stages of older adulthood are typically referred to as the young-old (age 65 to 74), middle-old (age 75 to 84), and oldest-old (age 85+).
The fastest growing segment of older adults is the oldest-old, some of whom are the frail elderly and centenarians (people over 100 years old).
Older adults learn new material more slowly. However, there is no loss of intelligence as a person ages.
Disengagement theory and activity theory attempt to explain the psychosocial development of older adults.
Dementia, a loss of cognitive ability, is not a normal result of aging. It is important to differentiate dementia from depression, acute confusion, or delirium that may be precipitated by dehydration, infection, or a medication side effect or overdose.
Developmental differences result in each age group's having specific health problems requiring specific assessment techniques. Data from these assessments are used to plan and provide care and anticipatory guidance that are developmentally appropriate.
Older adults should have an annual physical examination, including a focused assessment of functional status.
Frailty is a set of characteristics that describe a heightened state of vulnerability for developing adverse health outcomes.
Abuse of adults is common. Assess all patients for signs of abuse.
Suspicion of elder abuse must be reported to adult protection services and/or the authority designated by law in each state.