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INDIA NEEDS SPECIAL HEALTH CARE CENTRES FOR SENIOR CITIZENS

(A) Indian Scenario


Whole populations are said to 'age' when mortality and fertility rates fall and survival from birth
through older ages increases.
In India, considering the socio economic situation, age 60, seems an appropriate cut off, against age
65 in many other countries.
Since Independence, India has gained about 30 years of life expectancy
Vital Statistics elder population in India
In India over 82 million people were above the age of 60 in 2004
It is around 86 millions in 2008
This figure will go up to a whopping 177 million by 2025.
By 2050, nearly 20 per cent of Indias population will comprise of people over the age of 60 years
The growth rate of the population of India is 1.93%, whereas the elderly population has a much
higher growth rate of 3.01%
It is therefore apparent, that the Indian population has begun a process of ageing due to recent
decline in fertility and sustained improvement in survival.
Elder Population in Maharashtra, as on 2001
Total Population: 97 Millions
Male: 50.5 Millions
Female: 46.5 Millions
Population of above 60 years at national average of 7.5 per cent : 7.2 millions(72 lacs)
Mumbai and Navi Mumbai has total population of 20 millions and Elderly population at 7.5%
will be round 1.5 million (15 lacs)
(B) American Scenario v/s India
.There are 17000 nursing homes for senior citizens only in USA as against 31 million elder people.
Where as India has 86 million elder population.
Accordingly Maharashtra with 7.2 million elder population should have 4000 nursing homes only
meant for elderly people for its own population and much more if we wish to give this care to other
states as we have been doing in many other fields.
Unfortunately there are hardly any such centers in existence
As of now, not much importance has been given to geriatric care in India and Maharashtra. The time
has come to plan cost effective, and community friendly approach for comprehensive health care
delivery to the large geriatric population.

Comprehensive geriatric health care comprises of physical, psychiatric, social, family,


economic, nutritional and rehabilitation aspects.
Acute Hospitals
In India there are approx. 12000 hospitals comprising of about 7 lakhs hospital beds but most of
these hospitals have no geriatric wards fulfilling the specific requirements and needs of geriatric
patients. Also these hospitals are not designed to provide long term care so as soon as the patient's
condition improves he or she is sent home.
(C) Why special hospitals for Elderly people?
Reports state that special problems of the elderly are best dealt within a geriatric unit, a unit
comprising high proportion of trained and interested geriatricians and nursing staff giving intensive
care for a short period of time, with special emphasis on early rehabilitation and adequate
accommodation, equipment and staff for physical medicine, remedial exercise, occupational therapy,
diversional therapy and recreation.
While other countries are rapidly moving ahead in providing these services, India seems to be rather
slow with the hospitals being mere OPD geriatric service providers. The service is open to in-patients
as well as out-patients once or twice a week and run by a medical unit (seniors and resident doctors).
Experts say India stands far behind other countries in this respect. In European countries and Japan,
the hospitals have a separate geriatric unit. They also have Geriatric Special Care Hospitals.
Hospitals in Japan are equipped with latest technology instruments and they have specialized doctors
in the geriatric field.
(D) Ideally, a geriatric care hospital should have following extra things over and above normal
medical care facilities required for elderly persons
(I)

(II)

(III)

(IV)

patient Care:
Therapeutic Workshops
Health Education (professional as well as non-medical)
Physical fitness programme
Obesity Clinic
Drug Bank
Memory Clinic
Menopausal consultancy
Blood Investigation
Out-patient consultancy 3 clinics and follow-ups
Supervised Health Education Programmes
Education
Quarterly Bulletin
Professional Geriatric Education Programmes
Library
Community Services
Health camps/ check-ups educative exhibitions and lectures
Research

(E)

Clinical Geriatrics
Social Geriatrics
Psycho Geriatrics
A step for grey Population from Government:

Few such centre are started in Govt Hospitals


Even as the police and NGOs are doing their bit, the Union Cabinets recent decision to approve a
new law -- the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill 2007, aimed at helping
the elderly live in dignity and peace -- is a welcome move.
(F) Goals of Geriatric Care
1. Provide a safe and supportive environment for chronically ill and dependent people.
2. Restore and maintain the highest possible level of functional independence.
3. Preserve individual autonomy.
4. Maximize quality of life, perceived well-being, and life satisfaction.
5. Provide comfort and dignity for terminally ill patients and their loved ones.
6. Stabilize and delay progression, whenever possible, of chronic medical conditions.
7. Prevent acute medical and iatrogenic illnesses and identify and treat them rapidly when they
do occur.
(G) Elements of comprehensive geriatric health care in India
As the issue of providing care to the elderly population is of recent origin due considerations are not
being given to the comprehensive geriatric health care which comprises of home care and
institutional care.
In Indian socio economic situation the elderly population in majority of cases (up to 70%) are living in
a joint family set up and members of the family provide them care and comfort. But the situation is
changing because of industrialization and post liberalization economic scenario resulting in migration
of younger population in search of better future.
Large sections of the working population are migrating either permanently or temporarily to
other countries
2. Or the nature of their work keeps them out of their homes for a major portion of the day and
week.
1.

On the other, hand the graying population is more equipped than ever before - financially, physically,
and emotionally to choose a fulfilling, independent, and active lifestyle of a contributing member of
society!
And this brings us to what is perhaps the most critical issue of all Well made Geriatric
Centre
(F) Why should senior citizens not have a choice in how they want to spend the freedom of
being 60?
LIFE EXPECTANCY is steadily increasing, but cities are no longer safe nor friendly neighbors a
certainty. Alternative geriatric centre with special rooms for the aged is a practical lifestyle solution
that can be provided.
The fading joint family system in India and other innumerable factors have given rise to west-inspired
phenomena of old age homes. Surprising cost of living and scanty return on savings have almost
pushed these senior citizens on roads. Such an act has triggered the security net of the helpless,
which has almost vanished in many states in India with Kerala topping the list.

Elders have started walking out of their own home in search of a journey that promises peace, joy
and celebration of life with a group of people who share the same boat of life (the wrecked one).
However not may rather none of them receive it. A growing number of financially independent senior
citizens now prefer to stay in retirement resorts instead of languishing in the quintessential old-age
homes that they feel are overcrowded and unsafe.
Also Insecurity, loneliness and lack of companionship some of lifes hard-to-swallow problems
become a daily reality for these elderly persons. The concept of retirement resorts or complexes is
gradually emerging as the most viable option among the senior members of society who are
financially independent. They want to live with dignity and, above all, want to be secure.
Townships and residential colonies exclusively for senior citizens are now coming up in the
state where they can relocate and spend the sunset of their lives without bothering about paying
electricity bills, cooking and getting prompt medical care.
It is this combination of physical and emotional satisfaction that todays retirement homes strive to
provide. From an era where old-age homes were synonymous with charitable institutions for the
indigent and orphaned elderly, there are more refined paid homes, where amenities are good and
services like on-site medical check-ups and transport arrangements are provided.
No doubt the best place for elders is their own home, but here are some alternatives for those who
are lonely and sad.
Every single aspect of life at such Geriatric Care Centre will be designed around the unique
requirements of the senior citizen! They are:

Compact rooms requiring minimum maintenance


Non skid flooring

Special lifts which have plenty of room for wheel chairs and stretchers
Specially designed spacious toilets with grab bars
Facilities designed to give residents maximum access with minimum physical trauma

Large doors to accommodate wheel chairs

A comfy lounge and cozy gardens


A TV room

A special canteen
A yoga-cum-meditation room and a gymnasium specially equipped for the elderly
Open air auditorium
Physiotherapist

Doctors and nurses on call

Tie-ups with super speciality hospitals in the vicinity


Computer surfing and emailing
A well-stocked library
Health Club and Fitness Centre
Meditation Centre
Indoor games
Ponds and water bodies
Provision Shop and Drug Store

guest house

Geriatric Care Centre units are single room units that are an innovation in geriatric care, they are
the perfect solution for senior citizens who are physically incapable of managing the simple tasks of
day-to-day living; yet their condition does require hospitalization. These units have a dedicated area
for display of a special range of geriatric care products that ensure the comforts, convenience and
dignity of physically challenged senior citizens. The units focus on providing occupational therapy to
the residents in order to make them feel that they are the contributing members of the society.