BANGALORE: Today is World Health Day. This year’s focus is on how good health throughout life can help older men and women lead full and productive lives and be a resource for their families and communities. Ageing concerns each and every one of us–whether young or old, male or female, rich or poor–no matter where we live. Experts opine that the country is not prepared to cope up with the requirement of elder population which continues to grow rapidly.
Highlighting it as a emerging priority, chairman of Narayana Hrudayalaya Dr Devi Shetty said, “India use to comprise younger population, but in less than ten years’ time, the country will have more elders than the younger ones. Unfortunately, we are not prepared to cope with the requirement of elderly population.”
Emphasising the need of a strong policy, Dr Shetty said, “Institutional mechanism to provide the senior citizens with a social support is required. For instance, there is a need of assisted living facilities for those above 75 years and every city should have such assisted living facilities for elders. Besides, in Indian medical system, we need to have separate geriatric medicine for senior citizens, but geriatric medicine does not exist at all. In addition, there is a need to have huge work force which can be employed as home health aids but unfortunately we do not have such training programme or structured system of training for such people.”
Director of Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research Dr C N Manjunath said, “Increasing life expectancy has added to the health concern specially non-communicable disease like diabetes, chronic kidney disease, stroke and mental health disorders. However when it comes to specialised geriatric medicine, it is mixed up with the adult care. The geriatric care is emerging at a very slow pace. The changing pattern of the society is contributing to the rise in mental health disorders.”
He added, “The health system needs to have multidisciplinary approach to promote healthy ageing.”
Medical director of the Manipal Hospital Dr H Sudarshan Ballal echoed similar views and said, “Geriatric care is slowly gearing up but still the specialty is in infancy stage in our country.”