Old is Gold
–Dr. Dinesh Raja
Why should you care about it?
Look at this picture.
Doesn’t love, care and warmth naturally bubble within us?
Don’t we want to hold this pup and tend to it?
Don’t we want to have fun while taking care of it?
Now glance at this one.
If this gentleman passes right beside you won’t even spare a look to him, will you? Let’s assume, he is family someone, now one may even talk to him.
Such a stark contrast right?
It is utterly sad,how are brains function, while it is just running how mother nature has dictated. We feel, from within to take care of babies, conversely we don’t even like to think about old people. May be this is Nature’s way of making the human society discard its used wear out parts in the machinery of propagation of species.
But someone has to take care of them right? We owe it to them.
To make it personal, when a baby is born or better , before it is born, we do tonnes of research on how’s what’s whatnot’s and the list never ends. But we don’t even spare 1/3rd total time to think about our parents.
Since they are past 60+ yrs, What are there special requirements? What should I be prepared for ? What things must I consider?
Basically, how to take care of my another aging baby.
As a Doctor how can we make a difference?
- TALK TO THEM. As a Doctor it is prudent for us to speak to them, elaborately, patiently. It is our duty to do that so.
- Be Patient. Care providers must exercise patience when treating seniors. Sometimes, providers have to repeat talking points several times before the patient fully understands the message ^2
- Practice active listening. When treating seniors, it’s important to actively listen to their words and remember that both parties may have difficulty expressing ideas to each other.^2
Can do: Affirmative nods Smiles.
4. Practice Empathy Sincere empathy builds rapport. Patients should feel as though care providers understand and identify with their concerns, especially with the elderly ones.
What can your parents suffer from in the future?
- Vision Impairment Get them regularly tested. If they have Diabetes/Hypertension get them screened as soon as possible, since damage starts early, while the blindness takes decades.
- Dementia Be patient. Be supportive.
- Alzheimer’s Disease For preventive measures : Engage their cognitive/brain functions actively be it → Chess/ Games/ Crosswords/ Sudoku
- CA / End of life diseases. Leave it to the specialist. Pray and try to be positive my friend.
- Hearing issues. There’s loads of advanced hearing aids available in the market.
Important things to think about.
Dependency While the adjustment may be stressful for you, it’s also important to remember that it is not easy for your loved one to become dependent on you or others for their care.
How can we take care of our parents?
- Meet them Your loved one needs social interaction with you. And by visiting, you get the reassurance that they are safe, healthy, and doing well.
For instance, you may want to check the overall cleanliness of the house or if anything is broken that may need to be fixed. ^3 2. Check their medications. Be sure that your loved one has adequate supplies of their medications.
Can get a simple Pill box for better organization. 3. Make Home Modifications
Examples: ^3 • Installing a raised toilet. • Installing handrails and grab bars at the toilet and shower. • Making sure there are non-skid mats or strips in the shower or bathtub or any other potentially slippery areas of the house.
- Talk About Finances An older adult loved one may not be comfortable or willing to talk about their finances. But you must try to have open discussions about their financial needs and expenses.
- Take Care of Paperwork While you are taking care of an elderly loved one’s personal needs in the present, you may also want to be sure that you are prepared for the future. E.g. Will Power of Attorney
- Keep Them Active Exercise is important when taking care of elderly.
- Use Tech Tools For example, you can install a camera or a motion sensor to keep watch over them when you are away.
This group is referred to as “the sandwich generation,” because they are sandwiched between two generations of people who depend on them. ^1
Nearly one-third of seniors over 65 have hearing issues, and a quarter of seniors over 75 report vision problems.^2