Disabilities are among the major issues the elderly are facing today. It is both a physical and a psychological issue as it robs the person of his or her sense of control and independence. Recent studies have shown that disabilities now affect 1 in 3 older adults, and the cost of health care for disabilities is continually rising.

What this simply means is that all of us might be facing that problem of disability as we grow old. Limitations in physical activities and functions is an issue of we all have to face when we get old, but fortunately, new health studies have shown we can prevent it or at least limit its gravity when it hits.

Health Education and Lifestyle Changes

Recent health studies have shown that disabilities experience during the old age can be prevented with health education and lifestyle changes. Education and counseling on how to manage one’s health and how one can employ preventive health behaviors in one’s life was seen to be helpful in preventing long term disabilities in the future. Although the study focused on healthy individuals, it is hypothesized that the same approach can help people with unhealthy habits and lifestyles succeed into employing healthy changes and choices.

The health education and lifestyle change campaign is also said to benefit people with chronic illness such as heart disease. In the study, 30 patients with heart disease were employed and were divided into two groups. One group received multimedia materials that taught them how to exercise properly and safely, they were also taught on how to monitor their heart rate during exercise or exertion, the patients was also advised to take part an exercise program which involves walking home thrice a week. The results revealed that the group who received health education efforts reported less fatigue, improved emotional state and better control over their symptoms than the group who didn’t receive such treatments.

Preventing Disability

The study suggests that individuals can prevent disabilities in the future by incorporating health preventive behaviors in their lifestyle. This includes establishing a good contact with physicians and health care providers. Individuals are also advised to embrace the concept of self-management. Self-management pertains to a person’s ability to manage his or her own health care. This can include monitoring of vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate and pulse rate; it could also include the person’s awareness of the symptoms and the primary interventions to manage it. This way, patients are not totally dependent to health care providers, which significantly lower the health care cost and also helps the patient regain a sense of control and independence.

In some countries, the concept is applied through the organization of self-management groups.

This article on elderly disability is written by Kris Macey. Kris writes updates on recent studies about elderly and elderly care. Kris particularly writes about mobility problems and disabilities, offering helpful tips and advices on how to manage and prevent such conditions. More information on this is available at www.uksmobility.co.uk.

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