By Dr. Anil Chaturvedi
“Age is an issue of Mind over Matter
If you do not Mind, it does not Matter “
Ageing is an indispensable part of life. It is a normal dynamic process. It is however, not a disease. Ageing is inevitable and irreversible, but the chronic disabling conditions that often accompany it can be prevented or delayed. This can be achieved not only by medical intervention but by lifestyle changes. The basic concept of healthy ageing is to age without chronic illness and disability. The basic tenets of a healthy lifestyle apply to achieving these – a healthy diet, avoiding stress and regular physical activity. Healthy Ageing refers to both the quality and quantity of life to our years and years to our life.
The ageing process has a multifaceted nature. Genetic and biological factors influence longevity, as also do ecological and social parameters, which in turn help to determine the kind of lifestyle that promotes longevity. Nutrition, spirituality, extended family and physical activity are known to be major determinants of wellbeing in the elderly. Dementia, depression, alcoholism, neglect and suicide are some of the most important health issues affecting older people. There is also a high prevalence of problems relating to activities of daily living. Health promotion of the elderly should promote the advantages of healthy lifestyle, encouraging people to come together to enjoy recreational social activities to reduce social isolation and to foster independence, intergenerational support, self-reliance and good quality of life through well-developed community networks. Older people should continue to engage in intellectual and physical work within their capacity. Populations with healthy lifestyles have a significantly greater life expectancy. Finally, social networks can provide facilities for sports and recreation, as well as offer friendship and companionship.
Ageing is a lifelong and natural process, which brings about certain anatomical, physiological and psychological changes. Older people should be positively encouraged not to lose interest in the joys of life. Community services should be designed in such a way that the society can benefit from the experience of older people while the needs of the elderly themselves are fulfilled. Older people should continue to be fully functioning, active and productive members of their communities. To achieve all this, a healthy ageing process needs to be encouraged and nurtured from childhood, since inevitably each human life reaches its end. We need to ensure that the end comes in the most dignified, caring and least painful way. It deserves high priority not just for the health sector or the social services but for each society, community, family and individual.
Today, retardation of disease and disability leading to successful ageing as well as improving the biological age seems to be a more realistic goal. Preventive measures for the commodity identified diseases that are associated with ageing should begin in the young or middle life; disability rehabilitation should be prompt and multisectorial.
Health packages for elderly: It should include General physical examination – waist measurement, height, weight, BMI and BP measurement.
- Fasting, PP – Blood sugar
- KFT, LFT
- Ultrasound whole abdomen
- Echo cardiograph
- Eye consultation
- Urological examination
- Orthopaedics Consultation
- Consultation by physician
- Psychological evaluation
If an individual has diabetes/hypertension/heart disease/obesity, a routine health check up with the above should be done annually. Most of elderly individuals have either one disease or more than one hence they should get annual health checkup done regularly.
About Dr. Anil Chaturvedi: Dr. Anil Chaturvedi is a Sr. Consultant- life style disease & preventive health, PSRI Hospital, New Delhi.