India’s success in increasing life expectancy has led to a larger number of the elderly in the country. The Registrar General of India forecasts the share of senior citizens (age 60 years and above) in the total population to rise from 6.9% in 2001 to 12.4% in 2026. With the golden years, comes the risk of falling prey to lifestyle diseases. Diabetes, Hypertension, Cardiovascular diseases, Arthritis, Obesity, Osteoporosis and a host of other lifestyle diseases are quite common as people move into their late 50’s and early 60’s. Therefore, visiting the doctor for a regular health check-up becomes important in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and effectively plan for any unforeseen medical emergency.
At Healthcare India, we believe that the future healthcare models will be built on technology. Senior citizens will be leveraging digital and other advanced systems to manage their health at home. Hospitals will continue to be responsible for monitoring care and will focus heavily on Emergency Care, Acute Care, Invasive Surgeries and on Intensive Care. A few home health models are already operational and have been covered by Dr Sumeet Kad in a previous post.
Columbia Asia is one of the leading hospital chains in India and they are probably one of the first to use 100 % FDI in the Industry. They continue to work with Senior Citizens and this week they launched Senior Citizen Program to cater to the special needs of the senior citizens. With Christmas round the corner, over 29 senior citizens gathered at the hospital campus to fill their day with merriment as the hospital organized a Christmas Carol performance followed by a talk on health issues addressing the senior citizens.
“The program is to reassure the senior citizens facing chronic diseases like diabetes, heart ailments and arthritis, and help them manage other lifestyle disorders without compromising on the quality of life. While elders require one’s comforting touch and care, they also need daily medical care including routine check-ups and other timely health related services,” said Dr. Kanchan Sanyal, Chief of Medical Services, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwanthpur.
On the occasion senior citizens and doctors interacted candidly and discussed various health related issues plaguing senior citizens. The program will also provide senior citizens with a single point of contact at the hospital thus making their hospital trips hassle free. A number of programs specific to senior citizens were launched. Also, every month talks addressing various issues related to senior citizens will be organized.
It is difficult to predict quality of life for an individual. Health is determined by many factors, including genetics, social factors, nutrition, habits, among others. A recent study by researchers at Oxford predicted that certain sports are better at increasing longevity as compared to the others. So may be public health programs should focus on incorporating sports into their programs.
In conclusion, Senior Citizens need more than visits to hospitals when things go wrong. They need regular management. We believe that initiatives like the ones taken by Columbia Asia are steps in the right direction.