Geriatric Nurses: Guardians of the Elderly?
The human race is an interesting creation of God. It begins to take breath in the shape of a cute chubby baby and ends his later life in the form of a wizened and frail adult.
During my schooldays, I was puzzled after reading a chapter in a book once. It was a short story where a father asks his daughter a riddle stating that: Name the creature who has four legs at the beginning, two legs after many years and three legs later on in his life, and then dies. I was confused while contemplating an answer to this riddle.
The answer was at the back of the book. Curiosity inhibiting my critical thinking ability, and I flipped right to the last page of the book looking for the answer and laughed out loud. I saw three pictures; a cute baby crawling (four legs), a handsome guy walking (two legs) and a grey haired shaky old man with a stick (three legs). the answer was: Man.
The human race is an interesting creation of God. Like all other creatures, humans love socialization. They want things around them that they like but unfortunately we humans also have it in our nature to leave these beloved things behind when we can’t balance or adjust with those things. For example we love nature but want homes and buildings, so we cut trees for survival.
Similarly, a person loves their parents; they make them see dreams of a bright and extra ordinary future life. Unfortunately, they ask them to leave home when they don’t want to adjust with them or can’t bear their presence. A dark life instead of a bright future is awarded to those elderly of society from their loved ones. Even after all those sacrifices they make for their families and children, they have to bear the pain of sorrows in their second inning of life.
Second inning? Yes, the life before the interval was the first inning where the elderly passed their time in understanding life and earning for themselves and family to fulfil all basic needs and save for future too. Now this second inning is the time to think of oneself and live a prosperous life for his own happiness and thinking about his own survival, but this doesn’t happen in Pakistan. The elderly are left behind to face these dark realities of society and they have to suffer immensely during their latter years, without proper quality support from their own families or relatives nor from other instruments of the state.
According to a Pakistani newspaper writer Syed Mohammad Ali, the reality of a growing population and its consequences pose a big challenge to Pakistani society. He discusses further that people are living long not only due to the presence of good healthcare systems but due to improved education, sanitation and nutrition. However, to what extent, this growth can be be applied to a difficult country like Pakistan, is difficult to say. In addition, he shares the statistical highlights that amongst 15 countries with more than 10 million elderly people, few are third world nations and Pakistan is included in that list. Also the estimation is done that by 2050 there will be over 43 million elderly people in Pakistan in comparison to this current year.
Furthermore, World Health Organization (WHO) warns of this rise in elderly population in Pakistan. The organization considers the increase in older population as an ultimate rise in burden of different diseases including both the physical and psychosocial.
We as citizens of Pakistan share this responsibility to help the elderly people of the nation. While some organizations and a few groups of people are there who support and work for elderly around us such as the Senior Citizens Association Pakistan and Rotary International, by and large, widespread assistance is missing. Nurses are among the professionals who are keenly active in working for elderly rights and their quality of life.
In an information package developed by Katy Katz of Rasmussen College, she reveals ideation of an extraordinary career ladder in Geriatric Nursing around the globe. She adds information about what nurses have been doing for elderly clients in order to help them achieve their goals for successful completion of a second innings. She writes that nurses with their expertise lying in different geriatric domains help older adults in identifying and assessing their health issues. They not only work on issues, concerns or problems but help the elderly to maintain a healthy wellbeing for a better survival.
Furthermore, it is added that nurses involve elderly in taking decisions and managing plans for their own care and routines. They develop and maintain their self-esteem and sense of autonomy. Nurses break stereotypes about elderly people and support them to cherish their lives as they want. They accomplish this through advocating for them in front of families, organizations, public, health sector people and media. Along with it nurses also work at a higher level to provide a better quality of life to them as policy makers and public health authorities through developing rules and regulations and advocating elderly rights.
In conclusion, every human has the right to live a quality life and so the elderly people of our nation should share the same. Care for the elderly in their later years becomes crucial because they are left alone without any proper support for survival. To address this issue, nurses in various positions have been actively working to advocate, promote health and help them in maintaining this quality of life while enjoying their rights. We together should join this effort to help and support the elderly, something that has been long due.
Ali, S. M. (2012). Pakistan’s aging population – The Express Tribune. Retrieved from http://tribune.com.pk/story/464108/pakistans-aging-population/
The International News. (2016). Pakistan experiencing steady rise in its elderly population: WHO | Pakistan. Retrieved from https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/85808-Pakistan-experiencing-steady-rise-in-its-elderly-population-WHO
Katz, K. (2014). Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Geriatric Nurse. Retrieved from http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/nursing/blog/everything-you-need-know-about-becoming-geriatric-nurse/
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