Love the Elderly - Care of Senior Citizens

Being the family physician, I get to interact with a large number of people above the age of 60, generally referred to as the geriatric age group. Most of them come in for their annual, routine, health checkup.

Interview with Dr. Anusha Balakrishnan

I have had the opportunity to make a few interesting and important observations which I feel that when duly considered would go a long way in maintaining, not only the physical and mental health of the geriatric population but also of the society as a whole.

Though they are referred to as the 'old' or the 'elderly' or the 'geriatric' they are much more active, enthusiastic, disciplined than their younger generations. One can learn a lot from the elderly. Unfortunately, many of them can be found in a low mood, withdrawn or depressed. Some of the reasons could be:

1. Retirement

2. Lack of financial support

3. An involved, career-oriented professional life which has deprived them of socializing, thus leaving them with a limited social circle

4. Children living far away, or living close by but not having enough time to interact with them because of their hectic lifestyle.

5. Death of spouse

6. Last but not the least the most important reason being, a fear of becoming unwell or bedridden and hence a burden to the family

So what can we do to soothe their minds? Taking care of the elderly at our homes and making them feel wanted is very essential. Spend a few minutes to enquire if they have eaten, slept well, or would like to go out. Arrange small get-togethers with their friends. Regular annual health checkups will ensure that they are physically fit. Give them love and affection so that they remain mentally fit. This way, we can ensure that they not only live long but that their quality of life is also enhanced.

Despondency, negativity or depression can be nightmarish in an elder's life. After all, every one ages, so it's important to empathize with the aged. And let us give the elderly the care they rightfully deserve.

Article by Dr. Kavitha Sundaravadanam, MBBS, DFM, RCGP (UK)
Family Physician - Master Health Checkup

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