India is ageing fast. Very soon as the country will rank first in global population, it will also become home to nearly 32 crore elderly people (above 60 years).
Thanks to the tremendous advancements in healthcare sector, we have a higher life expectancy today. But the question is, are we ageing well? Along with the longer life, our elderly population is forced to bear the brunt of chronic illnesses and rising medical expenditure. The quality of ageing has drastic impact on not just the individual but the overall economic and social status of the nation. Geriatric Rehabilitation can be one solution for making the inevitable ageing healthy.
What is healthy ageing?
According to WHO, healthy ageing is about maintaining the functional ability that allows you to do the things that you value. Rehabilitation is essentially just the same. However, in geriatric rehabilitation, the special needs of the elderly are taken into astute consideration. A variety of interventions are offered as per their individual medical profile to help them attain optimum functional and emotional independence.
Geriatric Rehabilitation is the key for healthy ageing
Geriatric rehabilitation, which involves a set of clinical interventions aimed at reducing illness and improving mobility, independence and confidence in elderly, can offer the means to lead a quality life.
In evolved health care models, geriatric care has been offered as part of the hospital health delivery. Recently, specialised players entered the space to give comprehensive and dedicated care for the elderly and aim to improve outcomes in participants overall health and activities of daily living (ADL).
These programs involve a multidisciplinary evaluation supervised by a geriatrician, comprising assessments of medical profile, physiotherapy, nutrition, respiratory, and psychological requirements.
Health benefits of focused geriatric rehabilitation:
- Risk assessment and prevention of age related falls and osteoporosis. And thereby improve functional independence.
- Maintain and improved cognitive functioning in line with rehabilitation goals.
- Improvement in sensory impairment (vision and hearing inabilities).
- Specialised diet plan for better immunity & overall health.
- Occupational therapy to support performing everyday activities.
- Improvement in self-esteem, confidence and quality of life
What are other health elements are covered in geriatric rehabilitation?
Depending on your pre-existing health status, co-morbidities like high blood pressure, diabetes, lipid profile checks, pulmonary and heart issues are addressed by the respective specialists.
How do I know if I require a specialized geriatric program?
Your family doctor is the one who would know your current health status and he/she will advise the requirements of dedicated geriatric programs. Most often, these are in addition to your regular annual health checkups.
Do I need to get admitted at an inpatient rehabilitation care?
Depending on your baseline assessment, your geriatrician will suggest you an inpatient rehabilitation care with admission or attending the therapy services as an outpatient visitor.
Can I and my spouse join the program together?
Family support is always welcoming and might enhance the engagement for better therapeutic outcomes.
Need of the hour in India
Geriatric health is an important factor for developing countries like India where populations become old before they are wealthy. While several socio-economic interventions can improve the status of the health of the elderly, the most convenient way is to take health in our own hands. With the support of holistic care offered by specialized geriatric care facilities, we can work towards an era of healthy ageing population.
Dr Vijay Janagama, Director-New Initiatives, SuVitas Holistic Healthcare.