Ageing is a universal process and should be regarded as a normal biological phenomenon. No one knows when old age begins. The process of ageing varies with individuals. Some being to look old at 50 years or so while others look young even at 65 or 70 years. From the statistical angel and for the purpose of social security and pension the age of 60 years and over has been accepted as old age. Due to improved health services and better socioeconomic conditions the life expectancy has increased to 54 years. This means that the number of aged persons will increase gradually. Therefore it is essential that efforts should be made by the government and the people for improving the health and quality of life of the aged persons. So, today we will tell you about how to take care of elderly at home?
The most common diseases resulting in disability and incapacity are of the cardio-vascular, cerebrovascular, respiratory and loco-motor systems. There is increased incidence of cancer and diabetes. In addition, the elderly develop infections of the genitourinary tract, renal calculi, enlargement of the prostate, glaucoma, cataract and arthritis.
Elderly persons may display emotional and psychological symptoms. Early recognition and prompt treatment of these diseases can often reduce the period of disability and improve the general health of the elders. So, it is important to take special care of the elderly people at home.
How To Take Care of Elderly At Home?
Preventive Health Care for Elderly.
This is essential for the aged. Any physician dealing with acutely ill, elderly patients often realizes that these patients come to the hospital at a late stage, sometimes beyond help.
These patients might have been saved and restored to useful life or prevented from reaching the acute condition by timely preventive care.
Objectives of Preventive Health Care.
- To preserve, as far as possible, the physical health of the individual as age advances.
- To maintain the mental health of the aged.
- Preserve social standing and circumstances.
- To relieve boredom and loneliness.
The objectives can be achieved by means of
- Health education, and
- Routine health check up.
It is one of the best way to take care of the elderly people nowadays. It will help the elderly in promoting and maintaining health and preventing physical and mental ill-health and disability.
Information regarding healthy living, mental health, dental health, adequate nutrition, regular exercise, rest and recreation can be of great importance for healthy living. Some problems of ageing can be prevented or delayed by health education to those in their early life.(1)
Routine Health Examination.
Regular health check up is a valuable medium for health education and for early diagnosis of any disease, treatment and rehabilitation. Annual health check up must start as soon as possible after the age of 40 or 45.
It should be thorough physical examination including blood pressure readings. ECG, X-Rays of the chest and complete urine, stools and blood chemistry, liver and kidney function tests should be carried out. In the elderly, there may be a need for scanning for cancer.
The tests should be combined with the personal and family history to ascertain if a person has high blood pressure, diabetes, or developing any degenerative disease. Early detection and prompt treatment can cure the disease, correct the defects or prevent further deterioration.(2)
It is one of the essential requirements which needs to take care of the elderly people at home. Because of the sedentary nature of their life, total calorie requirements are less by 25%. The protein requirements are the same as in young age to make up the wear and tear that occurs in old age.
Loss of teeth and improperly fitted dentures interfere with proper mastication and digestion. Therefore consistency of the food should be suitable for mastication. Adequate intake of fluids must be maintained especially during summer. This can be taken in the form of milk, butter milk, lemon water, fruit juice etc.
There is a special need for adequate amount of vitamins especially C and D, calcium and iron to prevent deficiency anemia.
Food must contain some amount of roughage to counteract constipation; over leading of stomach should be discouraged.(3),(4)
Alcohol And Smoking.
Abstinence is best, but those who are accustomed to it should consume in strict moderation. A person must consult a physician if it is found that he is suffering from some particular disease.
Smoking is a great health hazard and should be avoided.
It is of great importance for the elderly in our hot and humid climate. A daily bath and washing the exposed parts of the body twice a day is necessary to keep the body clean.
Cleanliness of the mouth and proper attention to the teeth and dentures, if worn, will help proper mastication and digestion.
Daily attention to the feet, specially the toes is vital particularly in a diabetic person. Shoes and sandals should be comfortable.(5)
Failing Eyesight And Hearing.
The aged often suffer from poor vision and hearing defects. These may be responsible for a number of accidents. There is increased incidence of glaucoma and cataract in the aged persons. It is necessary to consult a specialist. Spectacles and hearing aids may be necessary.(6)
The incidence of accidents increases in old age. Such accidents result in fractures particularly of the pelvis and head of the femur. These fractures are due to the softening of the bones. Special attention should be paid to the construction of the house.
The floor and steps of the staircases should be of non-slippery material. The carpets, durries etc., if used on the floor should be properly nailed down so that the elderly do not trip. Furniture in the room should be so arranged as to provide free movement.
Room should have good lighting and ventilation. At night and in the dark, a soft light should be kept on to prevent toppling whenever the aged person needs to get out of bed to go to the toilet.
Elderly persons should avoid standing on stools or chairs to pick up some object from a high shelf or attempt to clean windows and ventilators.
There should be a regular program of daily exercise. If improves circulation and muscle tone. A number of people have started Yogic Asanas.(7),(8)
Recreation And Hobbies.
These are important to avoid boredom and prevent the aged from getting lonely. Recreations and hobbies help to improve the social and mental health of the elderly persons, and it is one of the important measures to take care of the elderly at home.
How To Stay Young and Healthy?
“Youth is not a time of life”. It is a state or mind, it is a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigorous emotions, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over love of emotions. No one grows old be merely living a number of years, people grow old only be deserting their ideals.
Years wrinkle the skin but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear and despair- these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growth of spirit back to dust.
Whether seventy or sixteen, there is in every being heart that love of wonders, the sweet amazement at the stars, and the star like things and thoughts, the undaunted challenge of events, the unfailing child like hunger for what next, and the joy and the game of life.
You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubts; as young as your belief, as old as your fears; as young as your hopes, as old as your despair.
So long as your heart receives the messages of beauty, cheer, courage, grandeur and power from the earth, from man and the infinite, so long you are young.
When the wires are all down and the control place in your heart is covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then you growing old indeed-and may God have mercy on your soul.
How To Enjoy Old Age?
Ageing is a physiological phenomenon. For most of us growing old is the dreaded part of life and we all know that almost everyone of us ultimately has to get old. Since this period is unavoidable and it also has certain pitfalls, one should be prepared and learn to enjoy old age.
It has its own pleasures too, which, though of a different type are not less than the pleasures of youth. There are certain pre-requisites for keeping one self happy in old age. Good health, financial independence, enough constructive creative work to keep one busy and free of liabilities.
A healthy person can enjoy life much better than a sick person. Good health can be maintained by balanced, timely diet, regular exercise and proper mental relaxation.
One’s approach and attitude to age is most important. Youthful and optimistic approach is important. With these characteristics one is not bored nor he bores his relatives and friends. They would not shun his company. A smile on the face is much more important than expensive clothes on the body.
To be busy is the best way to pass time. Idleness brings boredom and fatigue-both physical and mental. Over work should be avoided and one must work to enjoy. A job can bring some money also.
A proper planning has to be done in the youth for financial independence in old age. Invest money in such a way that there is regular income in the old age, so that one does not have to depend upon any one for money. One is liked and respected if one is financially independent.
Old age is age of freedom, one is free of liabilities, life is less hare and more enjoyable that when working for a livelihood. There is ample time for recreation, socialization, sight seeing and touring. Visiting friends and relatives and inviting them can be a healthy cum good past time. Reading, writing, attending religious lectures makes mind peaceful.
Along with activity, attitude of detachment from the worldly matters is equally important to keep one happy.
In old age, one is nearer to death. Undoubtedly, it is the only certainty of life but the timing remains uncertain. This adds spice to life especially when you have played your innings well, creatively and positively. So it is advice to take care of an elderly with due necessary at home as well as centers where they live.
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- Health Education for the Elderly; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/221925605_Health_Education_for_the_Elderly
- Lab Test Findings in the Elderly; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5746841/
- Nutrition Concerns for Aging Populations; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK51837/
- Nutrition and Aging: Assessment and Treatment of Compromised Nutritional Status in Frail Elderly Patients; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2682454/
- Assisting Patients With Personal Hygiene; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK563155/
- Impairments in hearing and vision impact on mortality in older people: the AGES-Reykjavik Study; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3861337/
- Effects of yoga on well-being and healthy ageing: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial (FitForAge); https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6549603/
- Effect of Yoga versus Light Exercise to Improve Well-Being and Promote Healthy Aging among Older Adults in Central India: A Study Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6960920/
- The anatomy and physiology of the locomotor system; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23189489/