When dealing with ethnically diverse older patients, it is important to understand and respect their cultural beliefs on health and wellness. Understanding the health belief paradigms that the person may relate to can assist in designing a health and wellness plan specific to that individual. Each culture has their own health belief system; Latino, African, Caribbean, African American, and Middle Eastern groups often believe in the Magico-Religious paradigm, Asian, North American, and Indian groups may follow the Holistic paradigm and the Scientific paradigm is common among Western cultures including the United States and Canada (Murray, 2019). Knowing their belief system can help the caregiver make informed decisions on their care. The Magico-Religious paradigm believes the health of the community comes before the health of the individual where the Holistic paradigm views the whole person in relation to the environment.
This knowledge can help decide what type of exercise regimen to begin a patient with a chronic condition on. Patients may benefit more from an individual exercise routine such as walking, cycling or swimming if they are more focused on holistic views. Patients with Magico-Religious views could benefit more from group exercise sessions. With group exercise the individual finds that the social connections improve the importance and effectiveness of physical activity (Beauchamp, Bennett, Dunlop, Estabrooks, Harden, Hurd Clark, Liu, Rhodes, Wolf, 2018). Knowing their preferences can assist the elderly in programs that are comfortable to their personal tastes.
A second strategy would focus on nutrition for the elderly person. While many dietary restrictions may apply to the individual based upon their chronic condition such as low salt, low cholesterol, low potassium or many other various restrictions, the individual needs to enjoy the food they consume or the risk of malnutrition from not eating may develop. It is important to include the older individual in decisions about their food to increase their appetite and quality of life (Dorner, Friedrich, 2018). Sometimes the rules of the diet have to be compromised with the individual to ensure proper nutritional intake.
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