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The Term “Baby Boomers”

The term "baby boomers" is an informal name given to those born between 1945-1964. These were the years following WWII which the population of the United States dramatically increased. Fifty-four years later, people in the healthcare community have noticed an increase in baby boomer’s health issues. The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has identified the three main areas of concern for baby boomer’s health issues which include Alzheimer’s Disease, falls-related injuries, and chronic diseases (Humble, 2014). ADHS has established a plan to help improve the health outcomes for baby boomers in the state of Arizona. Health issues associated with baby boomers include Alzheimer’s disease, falls-related injuries, and chronic diseases that caused the ADHS to establish the 2014–2018 Arizona Healthy Aging Plan (AHAP), and correlate with the nursing department in their roles as advocates, teachers, and caregivers.

For starters, the three main areas of concern for baby boomer’s health issues include Alzheimer’s disease, falls-related injuries, and chronic diseases (Humble, 2014). Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, which affects the nervous system. Alzheimer’s disease is a disease that affects baby boomers greatly because roughly 5.1 million Americans currently have Alzheimer’s disease (Humble, 2014), and it is estimated that by 2025 the rate will increase 40% to 7 million in people of ages 65 and over (Lock & Belza, 2017). The second concern for baby boomers is falls-related injuries. Falls-related injuries are the main cause of unintentional injury and death prematurely around the world (Williams et al., 2015). Falls-related injuries are the leading cause of injury in older people nationwide, which causes a threat to the health of baby boomers. This is because the youngest baby boomers are currently 54-years-old while the older baby boomers are 73-years-old. The results of falls may include broken bones, head injuries, limited quality of life, and even death (Home, 2017). Another concern for baby

boomers are chronic diseases. Some chronic disease that affect baby boomers include diabetes, Hepatitis C, cardiovascular disease, and strokes (Buckley et al., 2013). Hepatitis C affects baby boomers, because it is believed that baby boomers became infected when the transmission of Hepatitis C was the highest in the 1960s through the 1970s (Hepatitis C, 2016). Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and strokes are causes of chronic alcohol consumption that affects 21% of those questioned between the ages of 50-64 (Choi, Dinitto, Marti, & Choi, 2016). Having any plan addressing these issues can potentially help the baby boomer’s quality and quantity of life, as well as increasing the quality and quantity of life for generations to come.

Evidently, the state of Arizona established the 2014–2018 Arizona Healthy Aging Plan to help improve health outcomes for baby boomers in Arizona. This plan was prepared by ADHS, Bureau of Tobacco & Chronic Disease, and Healthy Aging Program so that baby boomers in the state of Arizona can hopefully live a longer and better life (Humble, 2014). Three main objectives for this document is to create awareness to the impact that Alzheimer’s disease has in Arizona, decrease the impact falls-related injuries in Arizona, and help Arizonans manage their chronic diseases (Humble, 2014). First, AHAP plans on increasing awareness to Alzheimer’s disease in Arizona by creating private/ public community partnerships that will help promote the awareness of Alzheimer’s disease all over the state. By doing so, companies may be willing to financially support funding for research or connect those affected by Alzheimer’s disease to resources they need (Humble,2014). Secondly, AHAP aims to decrease the impact falls-related injuries by assisting health departments that are local regarding policy training and increasing the promotion of ways to prevent fall-injuries (Humble, 2014). Lastly, AHAP is trying to provide funding for Chronic Disease Self-Management Education programs in Spanish and English all over the state (Humble, 2014).

Ultimately, baby boomer’s health issues correlate with the nursing department in their roles as advocates, teachers, and caregivers. A nurse is an advocate for patients that cannot represent themselves. Baby boomer’s health issues correlate to nurses in their role as an advocate by encouraging nurses to speak for their needs as victims of Alzheimer’s disease, falls-injuries, or chronic diseases. An example is when a baby boomer that has Alzheimer’s disease refuses to be treated by a male nurse because of experiences in their childhood. A nurse must make sure that only female nurses treat her, and that no male nurses/employees enter the patient’s room. A nurse is a teacher that helps educate people that are unfamiliar with a medical topic. Baby boomer’s health issues correlate to nurses in their role as teachers by making sure that patients are completely aware of their diagnosis and treatment plan. For example, a patient that has been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes must feel overwhelmed and confused. It is the nurses job as a teacher to educate the patient on the disease, educate them on their treatment plan, and educate them on ways to self-manage their chronic disease. A nurse is a caregiver by taking care of their patients in their greatest time of need. A baby boomer’s health issues correlate to nurses in their role as a caregiver by making sure the patient receives the best care that they can get. An example of this is when a patient that has a history of falls-related injuries comes into the hospital once again. It is the job of the nurse as a caregiver to look at the patient’s past medical records to make sure that the patient is getting the best care, the patient is comfortable, and the doctor doesn’t overlook any problems previously stated.

In addition, any initiatives placed for baby boomer health issues correlate with the nursing department in their roles as advocates, teachers, and caregivers. Bills or laws that affect baby boomer health issues correlate to nurses in their role as advocates by encouraging nurses to politically make a stand. An example of this when there is a bill or law that can benefit the

patient’s needs. The nurses job as an advocate is to go out and support the bill or law. Initiatives that affect baby boomer health issues correlate to nurses in their role as teachers by encouraging nurses to educate those affected by the initiative. For example, in a family care practice the nurse should educate a patient with a chronic disease that the ADHS is promoting Chronic Disease Self-Management Education programs in Spanish that will benefit them. A policy that affects baby boomer health issues correlate to nurses in their role as a caregiver by making sure that the patient gets the best care they deserve (Phillips, 2016). An example of this is when a nurse practices a proper procedure such as infection control in patients that have had surgeries.

Thus, health issues associated with baby boomers include Alzheimer’s disease, falls-related injuries, and chronic diseases that caused the ADHS to establish the 2014–2018 Arizona Healthy Aging Plan (AHAP), and correlate with the nursing department in their roles as advocates, teachers, and caregivers. Baby boomers have health issues that can greatly affect them if not addressed. The initiation of ADHS can help baby boomers and their children live a better, longer life. Nurses’ roles correlate to baby boomer’s health issues and initiatives. There are multigenerational nurses that come together to work for the best interest of patients of all ages.