Better health outcomes and inclusivity are the need of the hour for elderly

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

Nearly 1 out of 5 people in the world will be over 65 by 2050

New Delhi, 01 October 2018: Statistics indicate that life expectancy has increased in India — from about 32 years in 1947 to 68 years today. This has also given rise to newer health challenges, dementia being one of them. The commonest cause of this condition, called Alzheimer’s affects about 46.8 million people globally. India is home to 4 million people with some form of dementia, and this is expected to triple by 2050.

The annual household cost of care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease is between 45,600 and 2,02,450 in urban areas and 20,300 and 66,025 in rural areas. The cost rises with increasing severity of the disease. On the International Day of Older Persons, it is time to give a thought and initiate action on achieving better health outcomes for the elderly, commensurate with the increase in life expectancy.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “With more and more people moving to the cities for work, traditional family structures are being disrupted. In such a situation, it is the elderly in the family who are left behind, and such a situation makes it harder to care for them. Older people are often viewed as less competent and able than the younger lot. Awareness needs to be created that a positive attitude towards the elderly can help them age in a healthy manner. There is a need to look at old age also as just another stage of life. Doing so and treating the elderly with respect can bring about positive outcomes.”

With the current population trend continuing, it is expected that by 2050 nearly 1 out of 5 people in the world will be over 65, and close to half a billion will be older than 80. Smaller, young populations will have to care for large, older populations with increasingly expensive health care needs.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “There is a need to give increased attention to the challenges faced by the elderly and make the world more inclusive for them to be an active part of the communities. At an individual level, one must make certain lifestyle changes for ageing healthily and keeping diseases and complications at bay.”

This will also be a point of discussion at the 25th MTNL Perfect Health Mela, to be held at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium, New Delhi between 23rd and 27th October 2018.

HCFI tips for healthy ageing

  • Do not think you are old. Age = 100 minus years old or age 40 = age 20 plus 20 years of experience.
  • Quit smoking. If you were a smoker in your younger years and still are, it is not too late to quit this fatal habit.
  • Make it a daily routine to exercise. Let it be something that promotes strength, balance and flexibility and most importantly, something that you enjoy.
  • Prevent accidental falls by making small changes around your house like removing loose rugs and carpets, keeping walking paths free of cords and clutters and using night lights for hallways. Wearing good friction supporting shoes has been observed to significantly prevent falls.
  • Get a preventive screening done before various age-related disease strike. Your teeth, gums, vision and hearing have the potential to last a lifetime, if cared for properly.
  • A well-balanced healthy diet when combined with moderate physical activity can be the key to healthy aging. Calcium and vitamin D supplements can help women.
  • Maintain a good amount of mental activity in old age to counter dementia and cognitive impairment that come with aging.
  • Many elderly people face problems with maintaining a healthy sleep cycle. Insomnia and daytime sleepiness in excess are common complaints, talk to your healthcare provider about such issues.