Dr Manghdhara Madineedi, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, US, on Tuesday said, “Older people must exercise and lift mild weights to keep their muscles strong. One must be able to sit and get up on their own. Studies indicate gait speed as one of the best functional statuses.”
He was speaking at a conference on ‘Healthy Ageing in The Changing World -2013’ at J N Tata Auditorium at Indian Institute of Science in the city.
October 1 is globally observed as the International Day for Older Persons. To mark the occasion, a free health screening programme for senior citizens was conducted at the venue. The conference was inaugurated by Governor H R Bhardwaj.
Dr Radha Murthy, managing trustee of Nightingales Medical Trust, said, “The elderly population in Bangalore is nine per cent of the total population. We have to find ways to address their health and emotional needs. Their self esteem plummets when they are not involved in decision making. Daily reports in the media are always about elders who are already dealing with separation anxiety and financial issues. We need ways to address their needs.”
Dr Murthy spoke on home care, day care and residential care as being three ways to ensure good care for the elderly. She also spoke about an ‘Elders’ Helpline’ and teaching skills to help older persons in the low socioeconomic zones to get a job.
Other experts answered questions on issues of abuse of the elderly and the social aspects of their lives.
Dr P S Shankar, professor emeritus of medicine, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, spoke on the importance of good bedside manners in geriatric experts. He said, “Good manners and sensitivity are important when treating the old.”
Dr Anand Ambali, geraitric physician and professor of medicine at International Institute of Ageing, Malta, spoke on rehabilitation of the elderly.
He spoke of two patients. One was a bed-ridden lady, who had recurrent fractures in her waist bones, and the other was an old man whose hands shook violently because of Parkinsonian tremors. He said, “In cases of multiple fractures and diseases like Parkinson’s, where patients are unable to take care of themselves, rehabilitation helps them to recover and adapt.”