BANGALORE: If statistics presented by the Institute of Social Gerontology and Research are to be believed, the number of older persons in the country is increasing. ‘Populations are ageing worldwide,’ claimed expert gerontologists from UK and USA at the one-day seminar on Gerontology, organised for the first time in the country at NIMHANS on Sunday. Gerontology is the study of the social, psychological and biological aspects of ageing.
“Gerontology is one of the hottest academic fields for the future, but is alien to India. None of the universities in India teach Gerontology or social gerontology. We need to fill this vacuum and create knowledge about ageing and aged care. This would lessen the suffering and thereby extend maximum quality to the life of the aged,” said Roshan Jacob, Founder and Executive Chariman, Institute of Social Gerontology and Research.
Global researchers in the field reiterated that with the growth of the ageing population and the anticipated effects of the ‘baby boomer generation’ on the structure and functioning of society, careers in gerontology are among the most promising across the globe. “These growth trends will result in a demand for professionals with expertise in aging. Expanded career opportunities in gerontology and geriatrics are forecast in many disciplines and professions,” said a panelist.
Inaugurated by Dr Sylvia Mary Wright, a UK National who started the first charity hospital in Tiruvannamalai, the seminar was addressed by four gerontologists from UK and USA. New York based gerontologist, Dr Carolyn Gallogly, World renowned geriatric nutritionist from USA, Dr Robyn Flipse, Nationally recognised gerontologist, Judith S Parnes and chartered psychologist from Swansea University UK Dr Paul Nash were part of the panel that presented various paper presentations on the subject.
India specific statistics presented by the panel stated, “Of the people who are sick and seek care in India, the overwhelming majority are elderly. Over 48 percent of hospital patients, 80 percent of home care patients, 85 percent of all residents of nursing homes are elderly. It is due to the lack of knowledge in geriatric care and gerontology in the health care system, elderly patients in the acute care end up receiving inferior care, thus losing the quality of life at the fag end of their lives.”
The seminar was targeted at nurses and the nursing students. Over 236 students and practising nurses participated in the seminar and the organisation now plans to carry on two more such seminars in Kerala.