Factors Affecting Geriatric Care In India
The breaking up of the joint families in India has resulted in unintentional and unfortunate instances; the neglect of elder people. There is an urgent need to pay attention to the well-being of the elder people, as they are prone to diseases and disorders like, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Dementia. Indians are quickly adapting to the western lifestyle, but there is a lot to be desired for the infrastructure and support system for the elderly in our country.
With a rise in income levels, a large number of elderly people are financially independent and ready to pay for the services and facilities. Hence, there is a boost in the elder home facilities in India. A recent survey done by the Indian Journal of Community Medicine has revealed that 75% of the elderly population stays in rural areas. About 48% is the female, of which 55% are widows. A total of 73% of elders are illiterate and their living is dependent on their physical labour. One-third of the senior population still lives below the poverty line. 66% of the older population is in a helpless situation without sufficient food, clothing, and shelter. 90% of the elderly population are from the unorganized sectors, where they don’t have any regular source of income.
There are two major factors that can address the needs of the elderly, one is the need for the introduction to the geriatric care in India to the people and the second is the screening of their mental health. Living alone, lack of choices, or otherwise creates loneliness in their lives when they age. It is important for the retirement or elder care homes to conduct regular counselling sessions for the residents so that they can come out of the depression.
As of now, most of the geriatric outpatient department care services are available at tertiary care hospitals. Whereas, the Government facilities like daycare centers, residential homes of old age people, counselling, recreational facilities, etc. are available in the cities. As a large percentage of elders live in rural areas, it is important that geriatric care services in India should become a part of their primary healthcare package. There is a need to train the health workers and community health volunteers in order to identify and refer the elder patients for timely treatment.
The Governments (Central and State) have already made efforts to take care of the economic insecurities by introducing policies like Annapurna Program, National Old Age Pension Programme, National Policy for Older Persons, etc. but these policies have been questioned multiple times, related to the budget, improper validation of the beneficiaries, lengthy process, and irregular payments.
3 Steps For Geriatric Care Of The Elderly In India
• With aging, our thinking ability diminishes or emotional or too impulsive in actions. Getting old is just a result of one-side of the aging process. To age gracefully, one needs to have a balanced life. Hence, it is important to take care of old aged people.
• Keep them physically active with regular exercises, stretches, and outdoor games. Yoga, Tai-Chi, and dance also help to keep them active and their inner peace.
• Keep their feelings active by organizing music concerts, movie screenings, entertainment programs, and chanting sessions. Involve them in group discussions, debate programs, teaching to students, etc. to take care of their thinking realm.
When we reach our 60’s, we get a second childhood. Every phase of life should be a fun-filled experience. It is a time when we should spread awareness about geriatric care in India for the elders. It is not only the Government’s responsibility, instead it is of the entire community.