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Caring for elders in their twilight years

Special Correspondent

The number of those aged 60 and above is rising and many need special care


Tips on caring elders
  • Accompany them on doctor's visits
  • Learn what medications they take
  • Dispense the medicines to avoid overdose
  • Help them take precautions against falls
  • Ensure that they carry identity cards
  • Go with them on outings
  • Help them keep in touch with friends

    Bangalore: The number of those aged 60 and above is steadily rising. While many elders well past seventy are in relatively good health, many do need special medical care. Others fall into a depression out of loneliness.

    "The most common problem many otherwise fit elders face is dementia; they simply have blackout of memory. Suddenly in the middle of a walk, they forget who they are, where they live and start wandering aimlessly,'' says Radha S. Murthy of Nightingales Medical Trust which works with the city police to man the Elders Helpline.

    Dr. Radha Murthy advocates an identity card with name, address and phone number which elders should carry on their person.

    Identity card helps

    "Often it is difficult even for the police or the more kind-hearted to help an elderly man who has lost memory get back home if no identification is available,'' she says.

    Senile dementia and even Alzheimer's may not strike all elders but many do need special care and affection from the younger members of the family.

    There are more families where the son or daughter is working in another city or overseas and communication with parents is limited to email and phone calls.

    Nightingales holds regular sessions for senior citizens to avoid falls, which can have serious implications beyond bruises or fractures. They are advised to have non-skid flooring, rubber bathroom mats and where necessary have railing close to the bath or toilet to hold on to while getting up or getting out from a shower.

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