‘PERISU’ or senior citizens are treated like filth by the society. They have become a subject for discussion due to a number of reasons. The disturbing factor is gaping distance in human relationships at all levels. The nuclear family system has taken away the ‘shine’ on their faces. Kind words are at a discount ‘offer’ today.
The young are busy with their fashion, studies and careers, the middle-aged joining the rat race trying to achieve position and prestige. Thanks to the technology, communication between people is drastically cut and has seriously reduced normal, general conversations leading to mental trauma among elders.
Once they retire from the busy life all they ask for is some dialogue among family members, all are not gifted to have like minded companions at their age. There are many factors which contribute to their mental depression. One of them is the result of the break-up of the joint family system.
[The society‘s role -which lacks in providing a separate counter in banks, railway bookings, malls, hospitals and restaurants etc.]
It is important for the society to wake up to the needs of senior citizens on how to relate to them and serve the elderly.
Their needs are unique and distinctive as they are prone to catching up diseases or minor health problems. Health, economic and psychological needs are most important.
According to the geriatric specialists, among the medical problems, vision (cataract) and degenerative joint disease, cardiovascular, diabetes, lack of activity and urinary diseases play their role by contributing in one way or the other.
Due to the weakening of their immune system, the side effects of medicines compound to the already deteriorating health.
Malignant diseases account for a sizable amount. The treatment cost exceeds one’s earnings, for this the government should think of helping the patients. Other problems of concern are malnutrition, cognitive dysfunction and Parkinson’s. To compound this, the aged often have more than one illness as a package with a chain of diseases. For those who come under BPL and middle class illness is a ‘calamity’.
First of all it is necessary to get rid of the belief that ‘old age is synonymous with
ill health and disability’. Family members should try to understand that keeping them at home during illness actually makes the recovery faster due to the presence of family members than at the hospitals, and only in cases of long term care should admit them to hospitals.
Treating them early in their illness prevents hospitalization. Early detection and care leads to the gradual decline in their ailment instead of abrupt functional decline, which is then wrongly attributed to ageing.
The need is to get them medical packages which will come handy when they fall sick and the mere thought of the medical insurance would allow them to live or die peacefully. The family members should come forward to get them into these packages and it is not to make all elderly persons die in ,ICCUs ,MICUs but to achieve a minimum quality of dignified and healthy life for the elderly.