– Keep regular habits.

– Personal hygiene is very important.

– Wear clean, preferably cotton clothes.

Footwear should be comfortable and the toes must be able to wriggle freely. AVOID tight and ill-fitting slippers, sandals and shoes. They might cause injury and ulceration.


Do regular health check-ups with a geriatrician orelderly care physician.

Eye, ear & prostate check-up, minimum once in two years.

If you develop any one of the following symptoms, consult the nearby doctor immediately:

  • Breathlessness
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Headache
  • Diarrhoea
  • Difficulty in passing urine, blood in urine or motion
  • Constipation
  • Hoarseness of voice
  • Dizziness/giddiness
  • Itching
  • Cough with/without phlegm
  • Hiccough
  • Palpitations
  • FALL/Fainting
  • Confusion

Know your legal rights properly and thoroughly.

Keep all your documents, i.e., bank records, cheque books, deposits, retirement & pension papers and property documents safely. Check them regularly. Pay your dues promptly.

Know the name and address of the servants and others who visit your living place regularly.

Keep a laminated card containing your address, phone number, blood group, person to contact in case of emergency and the list of medications.

Be aware of elder mistreatment – neglect and abuse.

Regular exercise – minimum 40 minutes’ walk per day and yoga suitable to you.

Food and Toilet Habits

  • Eat fresh cooked food. Add high fibre content foods like greens, beans, etc.
  • Avoid high carbohydrate eatables – fried items, chips, carbonated drinks.
  • Don’t reheat and eat.
  • Clean your refrigerator daily.
  • Stop drinking coffee and tea in the evenings.
  • Wash your hands with soap before eating and after using the toilet. Dry them thoroughly including the web spaces and skin folds.
  • If possible, install and use the western commode. Raise the toilet seat height and use handgrips to get up and sit down (available in hardware stores).


Any kind of pain or discomfort – consult a nearby doctor. NEVER seek remedy by (OTC) over-the-counter drugs.

If you have chronic health problems or diseases like Type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, Parkinson disease, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), consult your doctor regularly and take the prescribed medicines as advised.

Get clear instructions from your doctor regarding the drug dosage and the number of times you have to take daily.

Your caregiver (wife, son) should also know everything about your disease and medications.

Check the medicines clearly when you buy from the pharmacy. Say no to substitutes.

Know drug side effects, adverse drug effects, drug interactions.


Vaccination is to be always taken in consultation with a geriatrician. Advised vaccines for elderly as per CDC 2016 recommendations:

  • Influenza
  • Pneumococcal
  • Diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus
  • Hepatitis A, B
  • Herpes zoster
  • Mumps, measles, rubella
  • Meningococcal
  • Haemophilus influenza
  • Human papilloma virus
  • Chickenpox

NO self-medication, NEVER.

Skin Care

  • Drink at least 2 – 2 1/2 litres of water per day provided there are no restrictions advised by your doctor, e.g. kidney failure.
  • Use soft soaps for bathing.
  • Dry the body with soft cotton towels, keep the skin folds dry especially groins.
  • Keep the web spaces between fingers and toes and the skin folds i.e., neck, axilla and groins, clean and dry.
  • If you develop itching of the skin, it may benecessary to use emollients, sun screen lotions and anti-fungal powders & creams whenever necessary. BUT only with the advice of doctors, ideally by a skin specialist or dermatologist.
  • Trim the nails in fingers and toes,if needed take the help of a podiatrist.
  • If there is any diminution or loss of sensation in thehands and legs, stiffness of joints, difficulty in holding things, difficulty in getting up & mobility, consult a doctor immediately.

Geriatric Health Check-up

Once a year geriatric health check-up advisable, if possible, twice a year.

  • Urine routine examination
    Urine culture & sensitivity on physician advice
  • Complete blood count, ESR
  • Blood sugar – fasting & postprandial
  • Blood urea, serum creatinine
  • Serum electrolytes
  • Chest x-ray PA view
  • ECG/ECHO study
  • Lipid profile
  • Thyroid function tests
  • Ultrasonogram – abdomen, kidney, bladder
  • (MEN) Transrectal ultrasonogram for prostateprostatic specific antigen, uroflowmetry
  • (WOMEN) Breast-self-examination, Papanicolaou smear
  • DEXA scan-bone densitometry
  • Optional-
    • Liver function test
    • Renal function test
    • VDRL
    • Vitamin B12 assay
    • Tumourmarkers
    • MRI brain with whole spine screening
    • HRCT chest, abdomen, tumour markers

Do the tests on the advice of your physician orgeriatrician and consult him for interpretation of investigations.

Never feel that your age/life is a BURDEN.

Take Home Advice!

  • Focus on personal hygiene
  • Financial security
  • Regular health check-up&exercise
  • NEVER miss the drug schedule
  • Be aware of elder abuse

Prof.Dr.S.Sivakumar, M.B.B.S., M.D.
Senior Consultant – Geriatrics
Kauvery Hospital, Chennai