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Critical Analysis of “In Her Shoes”, Essay Example

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Essay

Abstract

Social media has portrayed the senior population in a variety of ways. This article focuses on the portrayal of the elderly population and their physical activity as portrayed in the movie In Her Shoes. The movie is a realistic portrayal of the elderly population in the way that the level of physical activity directly correlates to the increase in their quality of life and increased level of physical health. The clinical presentation of the elderly population who engage in increased physical activity is similar to that of the movie. Seniors that exercise and engage in group activities actually have a better quality of life and a lower percentage of chronic illnesses than those who withdraw from society and become sedentary in their lifestyles.

Critical Analysis of In Her Shoes

The media has historically portrayed different age groups by categorizing them into roles that stereotype life occurrences and cause these roles to be emotionally touching and insightful. One such role is that of the elderly population as they remain active and continue to live a healthy life rather than deteriorate and withdraw from society. This has been portrayed in several films over the course of the past few decades; however, a more recent movie, In Her Shoes, offers a glimpse into the active lifestyle of senior citizens living in an assisted care home and participating in daily activities. It portrays the characters as active members of the community and they are physically healthy (Grant, 2005). Although this film is a work of fiction, it does provide us with a valid conclusion. Elderly individuals who remain active will be less inclined to physically deteriorate and, in essence, will have a more enjoyable quality of life.

There have been many acknowledged benefits of physical activity. This is crucial for the older population, but many times clinicians will observe a decrease in the level of physical activity in seniors and this will often be met with an increase in health complications  (Koeneman, Verheijden, Chinapaw, & Hopman-Rock, 2011). As the elderly population slows, so do their bodies, thus allowing such conditions as arthritis to further progress and cause them to become even more sedentary. This does not necessarily mean that a sedentary lifestyle will cause arthritis; however, the above article is one of many that have suggested increased risks of health complications when a sedentary lifestyle is led. Increased physical activity will not always slow down the progression of a chronic condition, but often times it will.

A study was conducted among elderly Korean women to determine if there was a correlation between physical activity and a reduction of cardiovascular mortality. The women who participated in the highest levels of activity had the lowest levels of mortality, especially those women who regularly participated in physical activity over the course of several years. They were reported to be much healthier overall than those women who did not engage in any physical activity (Park, Lee, Kang, Rhee, & Park, 2012). A study was also conducted in 2009 to determine if diet and exercise was helpful in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease among elderly individuals. A group of elderly individuals without dementia were followed over the course of 14 years and it was found that the individuals who participated in moderate amounts of diet and exercise were less prone to develop progressively worsening mental health issues than those individuals who led more sedentary lifestyles (Scarmeas, et al., 2009).

The studies listed above are simply three clinical examples showing the relationship between exercise and increased health in relation to the elderly population. While there will be some variability for those elderly individuals who present with chronic illnesses, it is assumed that an active lifestyle will indeed be a factor in helping the elderly maintain good health for a lengthier period of time than if a sedentary lifestyle is lived. This has been observed in this author’s personal clinical setting and also in the movie viewed for this article.

In the author’s personal clinical setting, patients who engage in a sedentary lifestyle and have little to no physical activity on a routine basis are normally the same patients who have more problems controlling diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic illnesses. The patients who routinely find time to engage in some level of physical activity such as walking or biking normally control any chronic illnesses better and have a lower instance of obesity as well as a better overall quality of life.

In the movie, the seniors living in the community participated in such activities as shuffleboard, dancing, and slow jogging. This gave the seniors an opportunity to obtain some level of physical activity on a daily basis. The combination of daily activities combined with a balanced diet will help seniors preserve their bodies longer and a more active lifestyle will help achieve decreased cardiovascular problems and other such issues that often clinically manifest in the elderly population if there is not any physical activity conducted at all. The movie, while entertaining on multiple levels, was informative in the way it portrayed the seniors living in the community and was insightful in painting the picture of them living a relatively normal life, albeit on a slower pace (Grant, 2005).

An analysis of the seniors in the movie and the general elderly population reveals much of the same information when physical activity and overall health conditions are considered. I understand how important physical activity is as an individual ages and the importance of continual diet and exercise in regards to helping control the progression of chronic conditions. The differences is that I did not realize just how much increased levels of physical activity had the potential to positively help an elderly person’s quality of life in a general sense.

Although the movie is a dramatization, there is truth in the fact that the more exercise a person gets, the better he will feel. This concept will be helpful in the future as I care for the elderly population of today and educate them on the importance of good health. It is vitally important for nurses and other health care professionals to encourage these seniors to exercise on a routine basis and I have personally observed this in the clinical setting on many occasions. Also, this movie has broadened my lens in terms of how I perceive seniors’ abilities to participate in various physical activities. In the future, I will listen more closely to seniors’ personal histories so that I can offer more suggestions in terms of various activities that could be beneficial for them depending on their current lifestyle and age considerations.

References

Grant, S. (Screenwriter). (2005). In Her Shoes [Motion Picture].

Koeneman, M., Verheijden, M., Chinapaw, M., & Hopman-Rock, M. (2011). Determinants of physical activity and exercise in healthy older adults: A systematic review. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 8.

Park, S., Lee, J., Kang, D., Rhee, C., & Park, B. (2012, January). Indoor physical activity reduces all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality among elderly women. Journal of Preventative Medicine and Public Health, 45(1), 21-28.

Scarmeas, N., Luchsinger, J., Schupf, N., Brickman, A., Cosentino, S., Tang, M., & Stern, Y. (2009, August). Physical activity, diet, and risk of Alzheimer disease. JAMA, 302(6), 627-637.

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