Care of the Elderly

Introduction
A demographic revolution is underway throughout the world. Today, worldwide, there are around 600 million persons aged 60 years and over; this total will double by 2025 and will reach virtually two billion by 2050. A large majority of elderly people will be in the developing world.

Population ageing is an important emerging demographic phenomenon in India, warranting a strong multi-sectoral policy and programme response to deal with many significant implications for the elderly in particular and society at large. Longevity by itself is to be celebrated but for the increasing vulnerabilities of the elderly arising out of poverty, rural living, income insecurity, illiteracy, age- related morbidity, feminisation, dependency and decreasing support base.

The Global Report on Ageing in the 21st Century (2012) reinforces the observations made in India that there is multiple discrimination experienced by older persons, particularly older women, including access to health care. Further, the majority of the people at 60+ in India are socially backward and economically poor.

In addition, there is also extreme heterogeneity in the demographic transition across states, resulting in vast differences in the demographic scenario across social, economic and spatial groups. For instance, the state of Kerala, which had 11 per cent of the elderly population in 2001, is expected to have 18 per cent by the year 2026, with an absolute number of around seven million elderly. On the other hand, Uttar Pradesh in 2001 had only six per cent and will have around 10 per cent elderly population in 2026. Though the proportion of the elderly population in Uttar Pradesh is smaller than in Kerala, the absolute number of elderly in Uttar Pradesh is expected to be thrice that of Kerala. Thus, adding life to the years that have been added to life is a significant challenge. Yet, ageing is not to be viewed from a problem perspective; its potential must be recognised and realised.

To address the issue of failing health, it is of prime importance that good quality health care be made available and accessible to the elderly in an age-sensitive manner. Health services should address preventive measures keeping in mind the diseases that affect – or are likely to affect – the communities in a particular geographical region. In addition, effective care and support is required for those elderly suffering from various diseases through primary, secondary and tertiary health care systems. The cost (to the affected elderly individual or family) of health has to be addressed so that no person is denied necessary health care for financial reasons. Rehabilitation, community or home based disability support and end-of-life care should also be provided where needed, in a holistic manner, to effectively address the issue of failing health among the elderly.

Care of Elderly- the project
Indian Medical Association is the largest voluntary organisation of modern medical profession with more than 2.5 lakhs Members. The association is involved in many community activities including the implementation of various National Health programs

Considering the importance and magnitude of the problems of the elders, IMA has taken up ‘Care of Elderly’ as a priority area and has already implemented certain activities at the National level and states. IMA has established a National committee for Care of Elderly to specifically look into the activities related to ‘Care of Elderly.

The objectives of the project are given below. There will be state level and branch level committees to implement the activities of the project at respective levels

Objectives of the project

The main objectives of the project are

  1. Capacity building of the Doctors in the National level State level & Branch level on issues of ageing- social and medical implications and care of elderly
  2. To equip doctors, hospitals and voluntary associations in starting programs for free consultation or concessional treatment by identification and adoption of Elders
  3. To conduct free clinic and organize Geriatric Camps at regular intervals, implement Home Care service to the bedridden people
  4. To promote blindness control programme by training the doctors and community organisations.
  5. To conduct Awareness program for health workers, Paramedical staffs and panchayat raj members, social and community leaders
  6. To establish, and support to establish scientifically designed old age homes and day care centers with due consideration to needs of the elderly
  7. To organize special training programmes for voluntary workers and caretakers

IMA seeks Government of India’s support in implementing the core component of the project- capacity building of health professionals which is described in detail below

 NOTE :

  1. All Branch Presidents/ Secretaries are advised to  sensitize the branch members  regarding this  project .
  2. All the senior  citizens  of  your  adopted IMA village  & if possible  others   senior citizen  also  should be  issued a discount  health card  for  OPD  & Indoor. The minimum  discount  should be  20 %  of the bill.
  3. There should be separate quee and assistance in the  clinical establishments for them .
  4. If there is a  home  for elderly  in  vacinaty  of  your branch please  adopt it for  free  medical consultation ,  discounted  diagnostic tests  &  free  or at the  cost
  5. Please arrange Public awareness lecture  regarding
  6. Any Branch performing the best   for this  project  will be entitled for a gold medal  & cash prize of Rs. 11000/-
  7. For Training programs   & other queries   please contact  the undersigned.