Promotion of health with the elderly population living at home in relation to prevention of depression

This source preferred by Peter Wolfensberger

Authors: Wolfensberger, P.

Publisher: Cardiff University, School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies

Place of Publication: Cardiff University

This essay has been submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the Masters Degree in Nursing Studies - Module: Global Public Health.

During the next couple of decades the number of elderly people in our society will increase tremendously. In Switzerland this is partially caused by the fact of the “baby-boomer” generation coming into age but also because of the increasing life expectancy due to better health care and the continuing development of new and enhanced treatment opportunities of life threatening illnesses and diseases. In Winterthur, the sixth largest city in Switzerland, in 2007 the number of elderly people over the age of 80 years already reached five percent of the whole population. Adding the elderly people over the age of 65 years, the actual age of regular retirement for men in Switzerland, it is almost sixteen percent (Winterthur, 2008). These numbers are about average in Switzerland. By the year 2050 it is expected that the elderly population over the age of 65 years will have risen to about 25% of the whole population (Haug, 2006).

An ongoing research project of the Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Winterthur is focusing on the demand for support of the elderly people over the age of 80 years living and remaining at home in the city of Winterthur (Imhof & Naef, 2009). As a member of the ANP (Advanced Nursing Practice) intervention team, the author of this essay is participating in the project. The research project is collecting a huge set of data about the general life and health situation of the study population and is also focusing on specific nursing interventions and outcomes. However, the study does not focus on special health problems like depression.

Depression in elderly people is a well-known phenomenon and often negatively influences an already decreasing independency (Höpflinger & Hugentobler, 2003). Numerous studies show a prevalence of depression in elderly people between only a few and 45 % depending on their life and health situation (Strnad & Bahro, 1999). Therefore, with the demographic changes in the future and the increasing number of elderly people, it can be assumed that depression might become an even bigger issue in health care. This essay is focusing on health promotion and nursing interventions to prevent depression of elderly people living at home.

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