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Monday, March 30, 2009

Now, a manifesto for senior citizens

Who says that senior citizens are not enthusiastic about elections and voting? The elderly, who are neglected on political agenda too, has their own demands.

A non-profit organisation Silver Inning Foundation has appealed to senior citizens to come together and demand their rights.

The organisation has given a wake-up call for elderly people to help themselves by shedding the lethargic attitude towards general elections and voting for a candidate caring for them. Senior citizens are often ignored by mainstream society.

Silver Inning Foundation has come up with a manifesto of senior citizens, which underlines the urgency of formation of a Ministry for the Elderly: “There is a ministry for women, children, environment, but no ministry for senior citizens, who represent 7.5 per cent of the population. Currently, the elderly are just part of the overloaded Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.”

Implementation of National Policy of the Older Persons (NPOP) is another neglected area, says the NGO. Though declared a decade ago, most state governments have not formed the state policy as per NPOP.

Supporting the manifesto, city-based Janseva Foundation chairman Dr Vinod Shaha said, “Though the government recognises problems of senior citizens like health, shelter, protection and transport, it has not succeeded in solving them. The election is a good opportunity to reach out to candidates and convey the genuine issues related to the elderly. A separate ministry is essential.”

Sitting MP and Congress candidate Suresh Kalmadi has assured that he will interact with senior citizens on April 12, he added.

University of Pune’s Department of Adult, Continuing Education and Extension during its survey of status of senior citizens conducted last year in the city also appealed to the elderly to execute voting rights to fulfill their demands. “Senior citizens comprise over eleven per cent of the city’s population that can be a substantial pressure group to change the government’s attitude towards their problems,” said head of the department Dr Bharat Jethithor.

The NGO has made 42 demands for political parties and the government for the benefit of senior citizens.

By Vrushali at Pune

Needed, law to ensure homely care for elderly

Kirit Mehta stopped eating over a week ago. The 82-year-old has become severely malnourished. His family members are unable to tackle the problem.

Kirit was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last year in February. He forgets people, cannot bath on his own and confines himself to his room. If taken out he cries to go back home.

His family is running from one doctor to another to learn how to take care of him.

“Sometimes we feed him by force, to which he retaliates. Sometimes we coax him or leave food at his bedside,” said Kirit’s son Pankaj, who had to ignore his job on several occasions to nurse his father.

Kirit is not at a stage in which he is to be left for palliative care and not sick enough to be hospitalised.

“We cannot depend on a nurse or ward boy as this task requires patience. None of these nurses or ward boy bureaux is equipped to handle Alzheimer’s patients,” said Pankaj.

For many like Pankaj, a law on providing home-based care for such senior citizens could have helped. The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, has a provision for medical care for senior citizens, but no provision on giving quality care at home for elderly patients who cannot make it to hospitals.

Most hospitals do not have a special geriatric facility. Even if a hospital has one, it is usually prohibitively expensive. According to the principles of health economics, the elderly requiring treatment for longer periods are best kept at home for better resource utilization.

“Improvement in healthcare has increased life span in developing countries. People live longer but with severe morbidity. Non-availability of healthcare professionals adds to the problem of geriatric care,” said Dr Sanjay Kumawat, consultant to the state mental health authority.

“It is only in the last two years that some serious attempts have taken place in the country in this area,” said professor S Siv Raju, chairperson center for development studies at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).

In last year, the Centre announced a central institute for ageing in Yerawada. It has not yet come up The institute was to offer a post graduation in geriatric mental health.

There are no full time geriatric experts in city who can meet needs on a day to day basis.

TISS announced a one-year diploma in gerontology (a course to work with older adults) last year. “We are training nursing agencies providing medical care in communication skills to deal with elderly who need companionship, nutrition, and about dementia and how to deal with behavioural changes in it,” said Amruta Lovekar, project director, Silver Inning Foundation.

By Jinal Shah

Courtsey: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/needed-law-to-ensure-homely-care-for-elderly/432656/

Sunday, March 29, 2009

PM Waiting L.K.Advaniji on senior citizens

Historically speaking, the concept of ‘senior citizens’ is of a recent vintage in our country. The concept of ‘citizen’ itself, as understood in the modern Constitutional sense, has originated after the establishment of ‘nation-states’. India is an ancient nation, with a history of many millennia. The rights and responsibilities of our people in the past were not codified in any Constitution. Rather, they were embedded in our culture and our spiritual outlook towards life. The wise elders of yester-centuries had created a cultural environment in India in which every person was expected to rise from one stage to the higher stage in the four-stage evolution of life, as if he was ascending a ladder, and try to attain self-realisation as much as possible.

Institution of Family must be preserved and strengthenedI am saying this just to drive home the point that, in the Indian view of life, we do not have any artificial notion of Young vs. Old or Junior Citizens vs. Senior Citizens or Modernity vs. Tradition. Our society has never been against modernity. But modernity cannot mean destruction of all that is valuable and life-nourishing in our past.

And among all the institutions that mankind has built for its survival and progress, the best is the institution of family. I consider Family to be one of Nature’s masterpieces. A happy family is one in which the young and old live together, sharing the bonds of love and mutual care.

The need for family life is even greater for senior citizens. And I do not use the word ‘need’ only in the sense of physical or material care. Even the state of their health depends on the quality of their family life. I know of many instances where senior citizens develop illnesses because they are not living in a proper family environment. And where they have a happy family environment, they do not need medicines since happiness and contentment itself is the most effective medicine for senior citizens.

Enhance participation of Senior Citizens in public affairsFriends, all of us know how the elders in our families, communities and villages used to be valued for their wisdom. Whenever people wanted guidance on any important matter, they used to consult the elders or senior citizens. Their opinion and advice was generally accepted by one and all.

This precious tradition should be preserved even in modern times. It exists even today to some extent in villages. But in big cities, our society is not benefiting from the knowledge and wisdom of senior citizens. We should find new ways, and evolve new formal and informal structures, whereby the involvement of senior citizens in public affairs can be enhanced.

One area that immediately comes to my mind is dispute settlement at local levels. It is said that India has become one of the most litigation-prone societies in the world. This is unfortunate. This is not in keeping with our social ethos. We must encourage non-judicial mechanisms for conciliation, arbitration and conflict resolution. These will promote mutual trust, understanding, goodwill and the spirit of tolerance, accommodation and cooperation in society.

I believe that senior citizens can also make valuable contribution, by way of rendering voluntary service, to the running of resident welfare associations and neighbourhood activities in education, healthcare, environment protection, culture, arts and philanthropy. Such participation is evident in many places. But the scope for further enhancing it is immense.

-An excerpt for the speech at the Convention of Senior Citizens in New Delhi on 20th July 2008 .

Courtsey : http://www.lkadvani.in/eng/content/view/588/362/

Sshhhh...we offer mediclaim to senior citizens

Health insurance policies exclusively for senior citizens, launched by the public sector general insurance companies on a request by former president APJ Abdul Kalam, exist only on paper today.

None of the four public sector general insurance companies is keen to promote these policies, which cater to the 60-80 years age bracket.

The normal mediclaim cover, usually issued only up to 60 years, is either denied to people above 55 years or the premium hiked significantly.

A senior official with a general insurance company conceded as much on the condition of anonymity. "We had floated these policies under pressure from the government. But we are not promoting them because there is an expectation of immediate claim. The health portfolio, which is already in losses, would suffer further."

National Insurance Company was the first to launch an exclusive mediclaim policy called Varistha Mediclaim for the 60-90 years age group, in December 2006.United India Assurance Company, Oriental Insurance Company and New India Assurance Company followed with their products, after P Chidambaram in his budget speech announced that the other three players have been asked to launch similar products.

Star Health & Allied Insurance, another exclusive health insurer, also launched a policy called Senior Citizens Red Carpet.

Insurance brokers DNA Money talked to said there weren't many enquiries for mediclaim covers specifically for senior citizens.

"Only 2-3 customers have come asking for the cover, which tells us that there is no awareness of such a product," a major Delhi-based insurance broker said.

Another insurance broker said, "Public sector companies do not sell it (senior citizen's covers) because they know these are going to be loss-making proposals for them."To add insult to injury, the agents are given miniscule or no commission in case they get a customer who is above 55 years.

According to the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA), of the five major types of insurance policies sold, the highest losses are incurred on health policies. As per the latest available figures, the incurred claims ratio of public sector general insurance companies on health in 2006-07 was 157.79% vis-à-vis 103.42% incurred by private insurance companies.

According to an Irda report, New India had the highest claims ratio in health at 212.81%.

The volumes recorded earlier have also reduced of late, say sources. It is also learnt that government, which was taking proactive steps to ensure insurers offered covers, has now shifted attention.

A source said, "The central government used to ask for statistics during the initial days, but has stopped asking for figures now."

Currently, only two of the abovementioned players are issuing policies, say brokers."In case a proposal comes, these companies are not denying covers, as was the case earlier with 55-plus age group. Insurers are doing proper checkups and noting down any pre-existing condition on the forms," said Rahul Aggarwal, head of Optima Insurance Brokers.

Asked why the covers may not be promoted, Aggarwal said, "One must understand that insurance, like any other business, is a for-profit one. If the government pushes the company to launch a product where one is sure to make losses, the organisation has no interest in it." In any case, senior citizen's policies shouldn't be about subsidised premium alone, said Aggarwal. The policy should offer covers that are relevant to senior citizens, he said, adding, "Not many policies in the market are offered accordingly."


Friday, March 27, 2009

Technology is allowing Seniors to age in place

The increased independence baby boomers and seniors will enjoy because of technological change is unprecedented.

Baby Boomers are caught in a huge time warp. They have seen more change than any generation. They were the first generation to be raised on TV. Recently, I was stopped at a traffic light. In the lane beside me a man in his mid-sixties was sitting in his 1940 s Rolls Royce, text messaging on his palm pilot.

Boomers as a generation have moved all the way from party-line phones -- to Voice Over Internet Protocol (Voip), Skype, MSN, cell phones and palm pilots. While we are most aware of technology changes in the way we stay in contact with our loved ones, it impacts every aspect of our lives. We know technology is here to stay and we have little understanding of how much impact it will have on our ability to live independent lives as we age.

Each Boomer gets stuck at different points with the latest technology, using some of it but struggling to understand new technologies for the first time, and their adaptability depends greatly on how long they have been using computers. The Boomer generation and their relationship with technology is like learning English as a second language (ESL) as an adult. ESL adults struggle their whole lives to become competent in English, whereas the child who learns English prior to age 5, even if it is their second or even third language, experiences little difference than a child whose first language is English.

For the Baby Boomer, computers are a second language, and they will always be challenged when faced with learning some new software. That being said, increasing numbers of seniors are quickly adapting to online shopping and 1 in 3 seniors, most of whom have the computer skills to use the internet, plan to make at least one purchase online in the next year.

At a very fundamental level this makes life easier. Shopping at home is more convenient for those lacking mobility, and will be an asset to most Boomers as they get older. Let s face it; Boomers were not born with a joy stick in one hand and a mouse in the other. Fortunately, computer technology is becoming increasingly user-friendly, and when it comes to living aids, this minimizes the learning curve.

Complex applications of technology show great promise for seniors seeking to maintain independence as long as possible. The good news about most of these devices is they do not require the user to acquire complex computer skills. It is seldom any more difficult than using a TV remote.

According to the 2000 U.S. census, approximately 42% of the population age 65 and older is living with a disability. As we move toward 2050, all of the Baby Boomers will be well into their 80 s and beyond. Physical and cognitive impairment will be experienced at a higher rate than in any previous decade. Young people will be far outnumbered by the elderly, and while it isn t possible to replace the human side of caregiving, we will be relying on Artificial Intelligence to support our needs and to enable us to live independently for as long as possible.

Presently, only 3% of the US population is over 80 and by 2050 more than 7% will be over 80. Computer technology can provide benefits such as lift chairs to help people rise from a seated position, devices to open doors, text-to-speech devices to assist the visually impaired, digital hearing aids and devices to control household appliances using hand gestures. Alarm devices can bring help when a senior is in need of assistance, and are now able to remind the senior it is time to take medication through the ability of the device to sense when the wearer is eating. Wheel chairs are becoming better designed to avoid obstacles. All of these advances in technology add to quality of life for the disabled and their caregivers.

As longevity increases, it is inevitable that vision and hearing loss, decreased mobility and agility, memory loss and difficulty negotiating routines such as medication schedules, increases. Unfortunately the aging person can be less aware of declining mental and physical capabilities than onlookers are. Most seniors do not see themselves as disabled, and as a result are slower to adopt the devices they need. This doesn t only apply to technological devices; it applies for simple aids such as grab bars, non-slip surfaces for tubs or tools to help them reach items without climbing on a chair or step stool. In part the ability to accept help comes from educating seniors to the advantages. It isn t hard to accept devices that people of all ages could benefit from, as the aging stigma is removed. One such strategy is an electronic scheduling device.

Electronic scheduling devices can be programmed to help someone with a complex regime to stay on track. For instance, a diabetic who must eat meals at specified intervals and take specific medications at meal time and at bedtime can have a challenge, even if they are mentally alert. The ability to use a device with reminder alarms can improve results of a treatment plan.

Another category of assistive devices that most people have little difficulty accepting are devices that allow them to continue their favourite activities. Oversized playing cards or implements that help with low vision or limited fine motor skills, such as finger dexterity, enable users to continue the things they love to do. Aids that take the place of bending and lifting allow seniors to continue activities like bowling, golfing and gardening.

Alzheimer s disease or dementia sufferers are the focus of researchers seeking to develop Artificial Intelligence to assist those who have cognitive impairment. Telecare electronically brings trained professionals to those who need advice and/or to monitor activities. Assessment systems that track activities alert caregivers if changes in behaviour patterns indicate the user is not performing daily activities consistently by assessing the elder s cognitive status. Systems at this level provide assurance (Assurance Systems) and more in-depth systems offer compensation (Compensation Systems) by reminding the elder to carry out daily activities, what they need to do and how to do it. Devices and systems that monitor activity help design programs to give the level of assistance needed and can call for help if someone has fallen, failed to eat or take medication and so on.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Apply for Government Sponsor One month Certificate Course in Age Care

Alzheimer's and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI) is organizing a one month Certificate Course for functionaries of NGOs and other age care projects, in association with National Institute of Social Defence, Old Age Care Division at Cochin from 30th March to 29th April 2009 at Ashirbhavan Ernakulam, Kerala.

We invite Social Workers, Counselors, Care takers and other functionaries who are within the age of 25 to 50, and having at least one year work experience in Old age care institutions or in other related programmes or projects working for the well being of the elderly.

Interested persons should contact the address below to confirm the participation as early as possible. The participants will be reimbursed the railway travel, to and fro by three tier AC on producing photocopy of the tickets. The Course materials, lodging and boarding will be provided free of cost during the course as per the guidelines of NISD. On the successful completion of this one month course, the participants will be provided with the Certificate of National Institute of Social Defence, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India.

Contact Urgently:
PHONE 0484 2808088HELP LINES: 09846198786/09846198471
web site: http://alzheimer-india.org

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Book :Gerontological Social Work

Gerontological Social Work: Knowledge, Service Settings, and Special Populations

Author: Robert L. Schneider, Nancy P. Kropf, Anne J. KisorEdition: 2Manufacturer: Brooks ColeNumber Of Items: 1Number Of Pages: 432

In this timely new edition of their respected book, Schneider, Kropf, and Kisor introduce readers to the many facets of working with the elderly. Gerontological Social Work provides medical and psychological data about the elderly, and outlines methods for effective practice with aged clients. Each chapter is written by a faculty member who has expertise in that particular area of focus.

Buy Here:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0534578071?tag=jan19-20

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Workshop held for professional care givers for Dementia

On Friday 20th March (Alzheimer's Society of India) ARDSI, Mumbai chapter had organised a One Day Workshop for professional care givers for looking after Dementia Patient.Silver Inning Foundation supported this initiative.

20 professional care givers from a Bureau from Santacruz ,Mumbai attend this workshop.

Following Topic were covered:
What is Dementia and Alzheimer's
Communication Skill and Ethics
Nursing aspect
Activities for people suffering with Dementia
Care for the Self

The Workshop was interactive and talk were in local language - Hindi and Marathi.The participant were encouraged to ask question and practice some of the activty.They were also given information booklet in local language.

A small taken amount was charged from the participant.

Dr.Shirin Barodawala ,Prof Parul Kibliwala and Sailesh Mishra from ARDSI and Silver Inning Foundation respectively were resource person.Amruta Lovekar of SIF helped in Planning.

We at Silver Inning Foundation believe in creating a workforce and trainig people in basic Geriatric and Dementia Care.

In future we would organize similar session on regular basis,if you would like to get train or want to organize similar Training programme(1/2/3 day) then please contact at info@silverinnings.com ; sailesh2000@gmail.com .

Climate Change and the Fate of Grandmothers in Tanzania

The overwhelming scientific evidence pointing to both severe and subtle changes in the earth’s climate due to the ongoing warming of our atmosphere is increasingly undeniable.

For example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that by 2020, 75 to 250 million people in Africa will lack ready access to drinking water and crop yields of rain-fed agriculture could decrease by up to 50 percent, putting millions of people at increased risk of malnutrition. While such consequences of severe changes in weather patterns, including more severe droughts and floods, are easily documented, the social consequences of climate change are more diverse and less tangible. It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that these consequences will be severe and lasting.

The experience of communities in the Kishapu district in north-central Tanzania offers just one example of how a changing climate can place stress on the social structures of a community. In this case, extreme drought exacerbated existing gender and age-based discrimination, resulting in the needless deaths of grandmothers throughout the district.

In 2006, the Kishapu district faced severe drought which led to food shortages. The drought led to water scarcity so extreme that communities would re-use water over and over again for hand-washing, bathing and cooking. Not surprisingly, the rate of child mortality from water-borne diseases increased dramatically. Without proper education to understand that the deaths were likely caused by dirty water, members of the community began blaming the deaths of the children on “witches” among them. Identifying a “witch” as a cause for a community’s ills is a common practice of traditional religion in Tanzania.

Already viewed as dispensable because they were no longer able to bear children, the grandmothers in the communities were quickly identified as “witches”. The redness of their eyes, caused by old age and the fumes from cattle-dung powered fire pits, helped community members conclude that they were possessed, and thus, witches. Many grandmothers in the Kishapu district were brutally killed by members of their own communities at the peak of the water and food crisis in 2006.

Donors, including the Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service (TCRS), responded with emergency aid in 2006 and continue to work with the communities to address the two underlying causes of the crisis – the lack of water and food. TCRS helped educate and train villagers on how to harvest rainwater with tanks and sand dams. They also educated local villagers about their district government processes so that they would be empowered to lobby their local representative for more resources and assistance. TCRS continues to work with the local villagers to establish a small agricultural school that they hope will be completed by 2012. And, perhaps most importantly, TCRS continues to educate the communities about the dangers of dirty water – a simple effort that may help save the lives of many red-eyed grandmothers in Kishapu.


Biological Clock Ticks for Men, Too.

Children born to older fathers perform less well in intelligence tests during infancy and early childhood, research shows, adding to the body of evidence linking paternal age to neuro-developmental disorders in offspring.

But children born to older mothers gain higher scores in the same tests, designed to measure the ability to think and reason, memory and concentration, and motor skills.

The University of Queensland researchers said the surprising results were a clear warning to the growing number of men in Western societies who are delaying parenthood until their 40s or older.

While public health messages have tended to focus on problems associated with ageing mothers, the study's lead author, Professor John McGrath from the Queensland Brain Institute at the university, said biological clocks were also ticking for men.

"The results were quite startling as it was thought that the age of the father was less of a concern compared to the age of the mother," Professor McGrath said. "Now we are getting more evidence of the age of the father being just as important."

The research, published in the medical journal PLoS Medicine yesterday, re-analysed data from one of the largest studies of children in the US, the Collaborative Perinatal Project.

More than 33,000 children were tested at eight months, four years and seven years on a variety of intelligence tests, and researchers factored in maternal age and socio-economic differences in the study.

The authors said in contrast to their father's age, children of older mothers performed better in intelligence tests, which could be put down to socio-economic factors or because these children experienced a more nurturing home life.

In an accompanying commentary, Mary Cannon from the Department of Psychiatry at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland argues that advanced paternal age has a wider range of effects on the health and development of a child than increased maternal age, which is largely confined to a heightened risk for Down syndrome.

Evidence shows older fathers are more likely to produce childhood conditions such as cleft lip and palate, childhood cancers and congenital heart defects, and neuro-psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism and epilepsy.

Professor McGrath said scientists suspected that older men were more likely to produce sperm containing an increased number of mutations, and these DNA errors are passed on to offspring.

Unlike women, men remain fertile and continued producing sperm even in old age.

"These mistakes then pile up and increase the risks of problems in the children, and it is possible that these mistakes will carry on into the next generation," Professor McGrath said.

But a professor of psychology at Curtin University of Technology, David Hay, cautioned against blaming a genetic mechanism, saying a more mundane explanation such as the limited time older fathers may have to interact with their children could be the cause.

"They may have less energy and possibly more work commitments and, of course, there may be older children which dilutes further their time to spend with the young child," he said.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Living with Elderly Parents: Do You Regret the Decision?

You did it, didn’t you? You promised, long ago when your dad died, that you’d take care of Mom and she’d never have to go to a nursing home. You promised Mom – after her visit to a nursing home, one of the worst in the state, to visit a friend – that she’d never have to go to a care facility of any kind.

No, you would always take care of her. After all, she always cared for you. Or, even though she wasn’t a very good mother, and you never really got along, one cares for one’s own, right? Or, your mother was pretty healthy and doing okay and you were divorced and trying to take care of two children, so you moved in with your mother. She cared for the kids for awhile, but then began showing signs of strange behavior. You feared for your kids, your mother and yourself. “What have I gotten myself into?” You thought.

Many people are facing the fact that their sweet intentions have taken a sour turn. Certainly, for some, the decision to cohabitate with their elders works out fine. Two or even three generations residing in the same home can work. It can work when there is plenty of space so that everyone has some degree of privacy. It can work when there is respect for one another and a place to go when one has had enough family time. It can work when there is plenty of cooperation, planning beforehand and even some respite care for the elder, should that be needed.

Reality bites. For the vast majority (and I have no statistics, but am going by mail I’ve received from people asking for help, plus the very active forum here on Agingcare.com), things may start off okay, but they steadily go downhill. People feel hemmed in by a deathbed promise, or a promise made to a parent who was once in good health. They feel hemmed in by the financial needs of all generations. They feel hemmed in by guilt.

What do you do when you are in such a situation and want to get out?

A lot depends, of course, on why you are in the situation in the first place. Most caregivers intend the best for the people they are caring for. They don’t go to classes to find out how to navigate the elder care system, the financial burdens, the Medicare and Medicaid mazes. They take on the responsibility out of love and/or need. Or they are in such a state themselves, with dependent children and no job or money that they move in with a parent – even an abusive parent – and don’t know how to get away.

If you are in a sticky situation, but one where finances have been kept separate and a lot of planning and forethought went into it, you main problem is guilt. You promised to make this work, but dementia or just plain stubborn behavior on the part of the elder, is putting a strain on your marriage. It’s time to let go of the guilt and make other arrangements. It’s time to acknowledge that you did your best, and now you will, promise or not, talk with the elder and explore options such as assisted living, or if necessary, a nursing home. You lived up to the spirit of the promise. You tried. Now, it’s time to move on.

However, if you are in one of the stickier situations; one where you went into it in good faith, but the mingled living patterns and money patterns have become a financial and emotional nightmare, you may need legal help to get it straightened out. An estate attorney or elder attorney may be needed. I know, that’s expensive, and in these cases the cost may prohibit hiring your own attorney. You may have to go through state legal aid. But if you are in this type of situation, you need professional help to sort though the options – financial, legal and moral – so you can get on with your life.

The sooner you get the financial situation straightened out, the sooner you will be able to make other decisions. What belongs to Mom? What belongs to you and the kids? What kind of care can you get for Mom while you work at a job that not only gets you some financial independence, but temporarily gets you away from your mom’s bad temper? What kind of help do you need for your kids? Do they need counseling because they are too young to understand the verbal abuse handed out by a once loving grandparent who now has Alzheimer’s? Do you need help from social services or your kids?

In many instances you will need to contact social services in order to get help for the elder. In the process, if the situation is bad enough for your children, they may be able to help you find separate living quarters.

It would be wonderful if someone could wave a magic wand and fix the problem. Make Mom well. Get you a good job so you could move out. Have your kids totally understand the confusing nature of their lives, without professional help.

But that’s not realistic. The kids may need counseling. You my need it too. Perhaps, you can still cohabitate with your elder, but you will need to have help doing it. Or perhaps you need help getting out of the mess you are in. Whatever the case, living in a situation that everyone hates is not doing anyone any good. Not you. Not the elder. Not your children. The only way out is through. That means anxiety, work and determination. But you can do it. It’s the only way your life will change for the better.

By Carol Bradley Bursack

Source: http://www.agingcare.com/Featured-Stories/133798/Living-with-Elderly-Parents-Do-You-Regret-the-Decision-.htm?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_term=March+18%2c+2009&utm_campaign=Newsletter%2B-%2BMarch+18%2c+2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Indian General Election 2009:Wake up call for Senior Citizens

An Appeal by Senior Citizens NGO to All Political Parties

Election for Indian Parliament the 15th Loksabha are going to be held in April & May 2009.Its a gigantic exercise for one of the world best known democracy.

But still after more then 62 yrs. of Independence and democracy experiment there are segments of people who are not treated at par with others, there is injustice and discrimination towards them.

One of the most neglected and ignored segment is of Senior Citizens. Elders are not considered as part of mainstream, there is unjust treatment to those who gain 60 years of age, they are suddenly considered ‘Retired’, good for nothing. Government and Civil Society are not bothered of this experienced and skill group of people.

Population of people above 60 years of age is estimated to be 86 million in 2008.The Life span has increased by 60% in 60 yrs. India has today second largest population of Senior Citizens.

The Indian subcontinent boasts of our ‘Great Joint Family’ ‘The Traditional Family’ System where we used to respect, care and love our elders, our parents. Due to Globalization and New lifestyle there is increasing number of Abuse, Neglect and Abandon case with regards to Senior Citizens.

India is gradually undergoing a demographic change. With decline in fertility and mortality rates accompanied by an improvement in child survival, better health care and increased life expectancy, a significant feature of demographic change is the progressive increase in the number of elderly persons. The gradual Urbanization of Rural India is also a new trend to worry.

Over and above a Step Motherly treatment by Federal and State Government is making situation worse for our Elderly. There is ministry for Women, Children, Youth, Environment; there is National Commission for Minority, Women and Population but the 7.5% of Elderly are represented by the congested and overloaded Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) .Senior Citizens is only part of NICE in NISD of MSJE.

The Indian government after many years of debate finally declared the National Policy of the Older Persons (NPOP) in January 1999, the International Year of the Older Persons. The policy highlights the rising elderly population and an urgent need to understand and deal with the medical, psychological and socio-economic problems faced by the elderly.However the Federal Government emphasis on Intra Ministry roles. It delegates roles to State government and NGO. The Central government has washed off its hand smartly giving responsibility to State government. Till date the NPOP is not implemented.

In a reply to one of the RTI application it was shocking to note that most of the ministry like Finance, Transport, Health, Education were not aware of NPOP, nor there was any concert plan. It is sad to note that still today there is NO uniformity of age for classification of senior citizens between different ministry and state government.

It has been more then 10 years now for NPOP but it has not been implement by Central government nor adopted by many states government.

With regards to protection from Law and Social Security there has been no tough initiative. In December 2008 Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act was passed by central government but still it has been not implement by many states and also those state who have implement the act, the local government has not made serious effort to make Tribunals and address the problems. There is need for pan-india political and social will.

Though there are handful of NGO and Association working for the cause of Senior Citizens, There is an urgent need for United Forum to fight for injustice and issues of seniors, there is need to address the problems and work United on solution for the benefits of Elderly.

A Private and Public partnership can be one way to provide innovation services and products. Psycho and social problems of the elderly needs to be attended urgently.

World over the Concept of Community base services and Ageing in Place is now promoted. The Welfare State concept is loosing its grip as government around the World can’t afford the expense. UN has now accepted the fact the Traditional Family are the best place to Age and best place to provide Care for Aged.

We Indians also should not expect much from Government except Laws, Protection and Innovative schemes for Social Security. Civil Society – People, NGO’s, Corporate should come forward and work for the welfare of Elders.

But all this will happen until Senior Citizens come together, Until Senior Citizens raise their voice. There is urgent need to be united and make a joint Call to all the Political Parties and Government for Separate Ministry for Senior Citizens. There is need for Proactive and Vibrant Ministry. We at ‘Silver Inning Foundation’ have been making this demand for last one year in various forums and conferences.

The growing population and voice of senior Citizens can’t be ignored. At present India has around 7.5% of Elderly out of total population, but Senior Citizens constitute to around 13% of Voters.

This 13% huge and powerful and unrecognized segment of voters can’t be left alone, they can’t be ignored. Political Parties has to include projects and programmes for the benefits of Elderly in their respective Manifesto. Government has to address the issues and problem of ever growing population of Elderly. This is warning call to all political parties if you ignore elderly then this strong 13% will rise and will make days difficult for you.

Senior Citizens don’t be scared to ask your political party / leader what they have done for your and what are their plan for your welfare. Vote for those who will support your cause. Support those who will work for less privilege and who are non corrupt. You have to help yourself. Remember last Parliament had around 300 Member of Parliament (MP) above age of 60yrs and they have not spoken for you.

Following are the Recommendation and Demand for political parties and the Government for the befit of Senior Citizens:

  1. A separate and dedicated Ministry for Elderly
  2. Review of NPOP and make it ‘National Senior Citizens Act’
  3. Immediate implementation of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act
  4. National Commission for Senior Citizens
  5. Uniform Age to be declared for classification of Senior Citizens, which should be 60
  6. Years
  7. Four Digit National Helpline
  8. To have different plan/policy for Oldest Old, people who are 80yreas plus
  9. Comprehensive Medical Insurance plan
  10. Comprehensive Social Security/Protection Plan, like tax when young
  11. Promotion of Multi-service community Gero-Care Centre
  12. Promotion of Intergeneration Solidarity / project and course in High Schools and Colleges
  13. Specialization of Geriatrics in Medical and Gerontology in MSW
  14. Geriatric Wards in Municipal and Private Hospitals
  15. Professional Training
  16. Comprehensive Law to protect interest of Senior Citizens
  17. Promotion of CSR and NGO for Elderly
  18. Promotion of R & D for various aspects of Geriatrics and Gerontology
  19. Promotion of R & D for products and services
  20. Promotion of Private sector in Product manufacturing and Services
  21. To have National Nodal agency for Elder Abuse
  22. To promote Community services
  23. To promote Ageing at place
  24. To appoint Welfare officer or special cell in each Police Station for Elder Abuse, similar to Child welfare officer / Women cell
  25. Special Training and Awareness campaign for Empowerment of Elderly
  26. Promotion for Micro Credit facility
  27. Promotion of Life Long Learning and Recreation centers
  28. Promotion of organisation for Second career opportunity
  29. Promotion of programmes for Social Inclusion and Mainstreaming
  30. Promotion of Equal Opportunity and Non Discrimination
  31. To mark World Elders Day as National Event in all government department, private sectors and Educational institutions
  32. Promotion of Universal Design: Elder Friendly Infrastructure / City / Designs
  33. Monitoring and Guidelines for Old Age Homes, Care centers and service providers, to protect rights of Elderly
  34. National Dementia Policy
  35. Promotion of Old Age homes only for needy, its should be criminal offense if Elders are pushed into Old Age Homes
  36. To adopt Rights of Elderly like Child Rights
  37. To have guidelines of Ethics for media when they report and show Senior Citizens
  38. Guidelines for Police Station with regards to Senior Citizens
  39. Subsidy for Health care , Long Term Care and Medicine for those who cant afford
  40. Promotion of ICT and Technology
  41. Promotion of Health and Fitness from young age
  42. Promotion of Alternative and Indian Medicine for benefits of aged and all
  43. Promotion of Private sector in medical Service, Insurance and Care with protection of interest for Elders

Please remember that “Ageing is not 'lost youth ‘but a new stage of opportunity and strength”.

Let’s come together and Work for Society for All Age. Let’s support the cause and let Elderly live in peace with security and dignity.

About Silver Inning Foundation:

Silver Inning Foundation is registered ‘Not for Profit’ organisation dedicated for Senior Citizens and Its family. It is part of Silver Innings.Com www.silverinnings.com a comprehensive and dedicated Website for Elderly. It is one of the youngest and growing organisations launched on 10th April 2008.

About Sailesh Mishra:

Sailesh is Founder President of Silver Inning Foundation and has experience of around four years in the Elderly segment. He found that this segment is most neglected and ignored. He has left his well paid corporate job to work in the field of social work. He has won Karamveer Puraskaar 2008 and is Won UnLtd India Investee 2008 award. He has also undergone ‘International Training programme in Social Gerontology’ at INIA,UN at Malta. He is also actively involved with SSS global and Alzheimer’s Society of India (ARDSI). He has launched a dedicated Website for Elderly www.silverinnings.com. He also has to his credit two Blogs: http://peopleforsocialcause.blogspot.com/ and

http://silverinnings.blogspot.com/ .

Vital Statistics:

  • Aged as per 2001 Census 76 Million: 7.5% of Total population (76 million) ,in 2008 it was estimated 86 million.
  • Aged Male : 37 million: 7.1% of total population
  • Aged Female 38 million: 7.8% of total population
  • According to UN by 2050, nearly 20% of India’s population will comprise of people over the age of 60 years
  • According to UN urban population in India will increase from 30 % in 2010 to more than 50 % by 2045.

  • According to UNICEF Life expectancy in India :

Ø In 1951 42 yrs

Ø In 1970 49 yrs

Ø In 1990 58 yrs

Ø In 2005 64 yrs

Ø In 2008 68.6 yrs

  • 63 % old population in 1991 (36 million) is in the age group 60-69years. Often referred to as young old or not so old, while 11 % (6 million) is in the age group 80 years and over i.e in the older old or very old category.
  • Poverty among the Elderly: estimated that about 6 % of the poor persons, i.e. about 16.3 million persons above the age of 60 years and poor.
  • Illiteracy: In 1981, among the elderly males, only 34.79 % were literate as against 46.89 % in the overall male population. Among the female elderly, only 7.89 per cent were literate as against 24.82 % in the overall female population.
  • Employment: the employment of rural and urban elderly during the period from 1961 to 1981, there seems to be a marked downward trend -due to adoption of new technology or methods of production difficult for the elderly or work conditions have become harder and unsuitable for them.
  • Dependency: Majority of the elderly in both rural (50.78 %) and urban (57.35%) areas are totally dependent on others for economic support. About 15.20 % of the elderly in rural areas and 13.71 % of the elderly in the urban areas are partially dependent on others.
  • Living Arrangements: About 7.31 % of the elderly in rural areas as against 5.54 % of the elderly in the urban areas are living alone. This is quite contradictory to the popular notion that the rural families tend to keep their elderly relatives with them more than their urban counterparts.
  • Health Problems and Physical Disabilities: 45 % of the rural elderly are chronically ill - 45.01 % men and 45.85 % women. In the urban areas, 44.82 % of the elderly (45.49 % women and 44.34 % men) are chronically ill. Cough and problem of joints are the most common health problems. As far as physical disabilities are concerned, in the rural areas, 5.4 % of all the elderly (6.8 % females and 4.4 % males) are physically disabled while in the urban areas, 5.5 % of all the elderly (6.7 % females and 4.7 % males) are physically disabled.
  • Elder Abuse: According to a rough estimate, nearly 40 % of older people living with their families are reportedly facing abuse of one kind or another, but only 1 in 6 cases actually comes to light.Most elders are ill-treated by their own children, who have emerged as the largest group of perpetrators at 47.3 %. Neglect is the most common form of abuse at 48.7 % followed by emotional/psychological, financial exploitation, physical abuse and abandonment respectively. There is growing number of insecurity, injustice and abuse in Elderly in Indi
  • Dementia and Alzheimer's: In India according to study by Dr.Saji approx 2.6% people over 60 yrs of age suffer from some form of Dementia and out of this 50% suffer from Alzheimer's.

Using Creativity to Combat Alzheimer's:Excellent Video

Webcast Transcript:

ANNOUNCER: Sarina was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1999. As the disease progressed, her husband John grew concerned about her behavior.

JOHN: She would sit there, become far more agitated and get up and walk around, and it was destructing in terms of my being able to do what I have to do and take care of her at the same time.

ANNOUNCER: In response, in 2004, a physician suggested re-introducing a once treasured activity, painting.

BARRY REISBERG, MD: She used to be a graphic designer. She had artistic skills. The kind of art that she's doing now is different. But she was able to take some of her prior skills and apply it to her very new situation in life.

JOHN: I had two books actually, Cézanne and Matisse, and took elements out of his still life paintings and enlarged them on a copy machine and embellished on them. We have like seven different subject matters that I put on larger boards. She'll be working on a painting and then she'll lift it up to me and say -- and I say, “Wonderful,” you know, and a little applause. And she gets a big smile on her face and has a great -- grand time.

ANNOUNCER: Once Sarina starting painting again, her behavior changed dramatically.

JOHN: So, you know, she's become far more social as a result of this and it's all really helped. The sense of dignity, of self esteem has come up tremendously.

ANNOUNCER: Sarina's treatment continues to include medications indicated for advanced Alzheimer's, donepezil and memantine. And continuing to utilize her artistic abilities may also contribute to slowing the disease.

BARRY REISBERG, MD: The medications are helping to slow the progression of her disease. I also believe that the care that's being provided to her and the opportunities that she's creating for herself in terms of her ability to take advantage of the care and to be creative are helping also, I think, to in some ways slow the progression of the disease.

JOHN: I mean this is the fascinating part. I mean what I've learned from this actually is the fact, you know, that there is that part of the brain that obviously has had tremendous training and is still functioning, so she's able to you know, bring it back. There are certain elements here, where even though it's a two-dimensional drawing, she manages to still comprehend a three-dimensional object. So the line drawing, you know, suddenly becomes three-dimensional, rather than just a flat color. And this is the thing that always amazes me because I keep watching to see, you know, is it going to go away, but it doesn't.

ANNOUNCER: Sarina's Alzheimer's continues to progress, but exercising her creativity has helped improve her overall quality of life.

JOHN: Now, you now, she's relaxed and she gets up, walks around, comes back. Sometimes she takes a painting into the living room, you know, and I find her in there doing it. But it's just helped you know, tremendously for both of us. So I become the beneficiary actually of what she's doing now.

See the Video:http://medicalnewstoday.healthology.com/hybrid/hybrid-autodetect.aspx?content_id=4544&focus_handle=alzheimers-disease&brand_name=medicalnewstoday

Courtesy:Healthology, Inc.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Simple Balance Test May Detect Alzheimer's Early

The announcement of this article caught my attention. I have written several times about the very distinctive sound my mother's feet started making well before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's dementia. The sound is difficult to describe, but I first heard it when she started scuffing her shoes on the ground as she walked. The sound was unique and it actually disconcerted me. When I mentioned this to my family and friends they all said the same thing, "she is getting old". I dismissed it for a long time, but looking back I now know it was a sign of mild cognitive impairment--often an early stage of dementia.

This new research about a simple balance test and the ability of this test to detect mild cognitive impairment is important. I suggest you try this one leg balance test. Then, if you have an elderly parent or grandparent you might have them try it from time to time.

This study was carried out in 16 university hospital departments of neurology, geriatrics or psychiatry in ten cities with 686 outpatients suffering from AD. This population is representative of the AD population seen by clinicians in daily practice. Patients were evaluated by a geriatrician every six months for up to two years, and their degree of cognitive impairment was measured using the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE). At the same time, a "one-leg balance" (OLB) test was given, where a participant was asked to stand on one leg for as long as possible. The OLB test was reported as abnormal when the participant was unable to stand on one leg for 5 seconds or more.

Participants with an abnormal OLB at baseline or/and during the follow-up showed significantly more cognitive decline at 12, 18 and 24 months than the participants with a OLB test normal at baseline and normal during the follow-up. The worst condition (having an abnormal OLB at baseline and during the follow-up= no improvement) was associated with a mean adjusted cognitive decline of 9.2 points. The best condition (having a normal OLB at baseline and during the follow-up = no worsening) was associated with a mean adjusted cognitive decline of 3.8 points.

Senior Investigator Yves Rolland, Inserm and the University of Toulouse, France, states, "Our results suggested that an abnormal OLB is a marker of more advanced dementia (worst baseline characteristic) and an independent predictor of cognitive decline in AD. Our results reinforce in an AD population, the growing evidence suggesting a link between physical performances and cognitive decline. If these results are confirmed by other data, the OLB test could be adopted in clinical practice to identify AD patients at high risk of rapid cognitive decline."

The article is "An Abnormal 'One-leg Balance' Test Predicts Cognitive Decline During Alzheimer's Disease" by Yves Rolland, Gabor Abellan van Kan, Fati Nourhashemi, Sandrine Andrieu, Christelle Cantet, Sophie Guyonnet-Gillette and Bruno Vellas It is published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease 16:3 (March 2009).

Courtsey: http://www.alzheimersreadingroom.com/2009/03/simole-balance-test-may-detect.html

Monday, March 16, 2009

Negative Views of Old Age Translate to Poorer Health

It is often said that we are what we eat. In reality, we are what we think and feel, too. Add that to the fact that ageist mentalities are still very much prevalent today, with many holding stereotypical views of elderly persons being incompetent, helpless, or even burdens, and we have a situation whereby the vast majority of people would probably dread the thought of growing old. Now, a recent study published in the journal Psychological Science has suggested that there is a degree of self-fulfillment in such negative mindsets, having found that persons who hold negative views of older persons tend to have poorer health later on in life.

Details and Findings of Study

For the study, the researchers had looked at information on 440 men and women who had participated in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, which ran for close to four decades. That aging study had commenced in 1968, at which time the study subjects were all healthy and aged between 18 and 49. As part of the study, various information on the subjects, including their health records as well as their views about the elderly, were collected.

The study team unveiled a strong association between ageism and poorer cardiovascular health later in life. Three decades after the commencement of the Baltimore study, 25% of the persons who held lowly views of old age, associating it with weakness or helplessness, had been struck by a heart condition or stroke. On the other hand, of those with positive views of old age, only 13% had been affected.

Mindsets When Young Impact Health Later On in Life

Previous research had already drawn a link between older persons who have negative ideas of old age and their tendency to meet them. Becca Levy, an associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at the Yale School of Public Health, was the leader of this latest study. She had previously also led studies which looked at negative attitudes on old age.

In one particular study she led, which was published in Journals of Gerontology in 2006, it was found that older persons who held negative stereotypes about elderly persons were more likely to suffer from hearing decline. But what is significant here is that even ageist attitudes early in life translate to poorer health as those who hold such views grow older. "We found that the age stereotypes, which tend to be acquired in childhood and young adulthood, and carried over into old age, seem to have far-reaching effects," said Levy.

Zooming in, the researchers looked at a group of study subjects who did not suffer any heart issues until they had passed 60 years old, which was at least 21 years after the start of the Baltimore study. The study team found that these persons were likely to have held negative views about old age from their younger years. There was no obvious explanation found for this increased risk of cardiovascular conditions, not even a host of other possible risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, family history, education levels or depression. According to the study team, the implication of this finding is that people begin internalizing stereotypes of old age from an early age, and these viewpoints come back to haunt them, so to speak, many years later.

Why would negative viewpoints about old age cause ill-health later in life? A couple of possible explanations are that such attitudes could raise stress as well as lower the chances that one will practice a healthy lifestyle, thus elevating the risk of poor health.

Negative Views of Old Age Impact Health in More Ways Than One

On a somewhat related note, research published last year found that speaking to older persons using "elderspeak", which is an overly intimate and simplified means of communication quite similar to "baby talk", can not only be insulting and exasperating to them, but can in fact negatively affect their health. Such talk is borne of the impression that the elderly are cognitively impaired and may thus need some "help". And it seems that older persons end up meeting these poor attitudes held about them. You can read more about that study at http://www.naturalnews.com/024884.html.

Added up, what all the above information tells us is that negative stereotypes of old folks can adversely affect their health, and the cause-and-effect is at least three-fold: how the elderly view themselves, how others view the elderly, and how young people's views of aging impact their own health later on as they age.

It is clear that optimism is crucial for healthy living and healthy aging, and being able to deal with the changes which come with aging is key to maintaining control over one's own life. With populations in developed countries rapidly graying, this is a potentially serious issue, not just socially, but also health-wise. It is thus paramount that society as a whole begins to alter our attitudes about aging and the elderly.


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