ElderCare – Health care for the elderly

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WHO estimates that there are around 600 million people aged 60 years and over, worldwide. Nearly 10% i.e over 50 million of them are in India. The figure is projected to double over the next ten years.  This trend is more acute in developing countries such as India. For multiple and intersecting reasons, government health care and development programs often do not reach the elderly in India. Due to lack of care, respected generations are often humiliated by society and even by their children which results in their isolation. Consequently, the need for veteran or old age homes arises to provide care and support for the elderly. Bangalore alone has over 100 registered Old age homes. The contribution of old age homes in providing the basic amenities and an environment to live a peaceful life is highly significant for the quality of life for elderly populations.

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Geriatric Health in India

In India, the elderly people suffer from dual medical problems, i.e., both communicable as well as non–communicable diseases. This is further compounded by impairment of special sensory functions like vision and hearing. A decline in immunity as well as age-related physiologic changes leads to an increased burden of communicable diseases in the elderly. The chronic illnesses usually include hypertension, coronary heart disease, and cancer. The rapid urbanization and societal modernization has brought in its wake a breakdown in family values and the framework of family support, economic insecurity, social isolation, and elderly abuse leading to a host of psychological illnesses. In addition, widows are prone to face social stigma and ostracism. The socio-economic problems of the elderly are aggravated by factors such as the lack of social security and inadequate facilities for health care, rehabilitation, and recreation. Also, in most of the developing countries, pension and social security is restricted to those who have worked in the public sector or the organized sector of industry. (Ingle et al).

Ensuring good quality geriatric health care services at the primary level would greatly help in improving the rate of utilization of available health services. Health care services should be based on the “felt needs” of the elderly population.

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The ElderCare project is an innovative concept of AarogyaSeva which addresses comprehensive health and healthcare and helps improve quality of life for the elderly.  The project includes engagement with a variety of stakeholders as well as medical and non-medical volunteers, each with their own critical role:

1. Reach out to elderly citizens who cannot afford medical services.
2. Monthly visits in by a general practitioner (GP).
3. Specialist visits on recommendation of GP
4. Provision of Medical Supplies especially for chronic conditions like Diabetes, Hypertension, Cardiac and Mental Health issues
5. Non-medical volunteer visits to engage with them and help with follow up
6. Partner with Old age homes in this effort, organize events and fundraisers like the “Adopt a grandparent” program
7. Felicitate old persons who have made remarkable achievement in the field of Business-Art-Science and help transfer skills to young persons
In addition to these facets of addressing elderly health, the project includes promotion of preventive healthcare among the elderly. The preventive health package will include various components such as knowledge and awareness about disease conditions and steps for their prevention and management, good nutrition and balanced diet, and physical exercise. For the promotion of a positive mindset and to create a feeling of well being, meditation, and strategies for motivation have also been included.
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Join us in this noble endeavor and support us in any way you can.
1. Volunteer time and coordinate doctors visits at an old age home near you.
2. Ask your friends and family to join you to spend time with seniors on weekends.
3. Adopt a grandparent by sponsoring their needs for a year.
4. Donate clothes, medical devices, medicines and more.
5. Network with an old age home to connect them with volunteers.
6. Tell us how you would like to help.
Write to us at Volunteer@aarogyaseva.org