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Population of the elderly is set to increase by 17% by 2025. What are the best ways to address their health issues?

One who always serves and respects elderly is blessed with four things : Long Life, Wisdom, Fame and Power"

Manusmriti Chapter 2:121

The advances in healthcare means that individuals live longer. The rising percentage of elderly population, however has its own challenges. Elderly population is projected to rise from 8% to 25% by 2025. Amongst those older than 60 years, 10% are bedridden and 10% are hospitalised at any given time. Where as among those above 70, more than 50% suffer from one or more chronic conditions. (Source: Ingle & Nath , Iindian Journal of Community Medicine, Oct 2008)

60th National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) Round reports that in urban areas 77 out every 1000 elderly are bed ridden and have impaired mobility in elderly. This number rises to 84 in rural areas. The common ailments includes obesity and lifestyle diseases, infections, cancers, heart diseases, impaired hearing, impaired vision, dementia , Alzheimer’s and so on.

The elderly, if staying alone, face many challenges when it comes to health care. They need someone to escort them to medical facility. Repeated visits, and waiting time for reviews , diagnostics, dressings and injections become more difficult. Risk of cross infection with drug resistant organisms while visiting hospitals, may have fatal outcomes.

Professional health care at home could be an answer to this. Home healthcare is also solution for working professionals with very little time for travel to hospitals and waiting.

Krishna Prasad Nadig, CEO, Plus at home lifecare, Bangalore, explains that they have been providing nursing care through more than 15000 nursing visits at patient’s homes. Large number of them are elderly. The services provided are post surgery care, wound management, care of bed ridden, assisting in activities of daily living, injections and medications, and prevention and management of bed sores.

They also have an innovative concept of virtual round by treating doctors, wherein the doctors can follow up with their patients at home through 3G, getting feedback from nurses , who also administer treatment. They even help new mothers with lactation counselling, breast feeding techniques, baby bath, burping, dos & don’ts. These nurses don role of mothers and mothers-in-law.

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