Geriatric care centres to come up in five districts

Geriatric care centres to come up in five districts

People aged above 60 will get specialised care

Geriatric care centres to come up in five districts

To provide better healthcare facilities to the elderly, the Health and Family Welfare department has introduced geriatric care facilities in five districts in the State.

As part of the pilot project, government hospitals in these five districts will have a separate geriatric section with specialised care.

“The five districts identified are Tumkur, Shimoga, Kolar, Chikmagalur and Udupi. It is a pilot project started for care of senior citizens,” said Dhanya Kumar, director, Health and Family Welfare. The centres will provide healthcare to people above the age of 60.

“The centres with separate machinery can house 10 people. We have also started special weekly clinics in primary health centres and community health centres and, also plan to start counselling centres,” said an health official.

While the centre in Tumkur is already open, the others will be ready soon. Doctors and other medical staff have been specially trained for these centres.

Around 100 members were trained by the staff of Madras Medical College which has an excellent geriatric care facility. We have trained nurses and paramedical staff in the districts, too. All the centres have specialists for diabetes and orthopaedics and have physiotherapists just for the senior citizens,” he added.

The Health department also plans to introduce such centres in Bangalore and other districts.

“We will talk to officials from the National Urban Health Mission and set up such centres for the elderly in other cities, too,”  said an official.

Geriatric care facilities presently available in the State, especially in Bangalore, are quite dismal.

Dr Radha Murthy, medical director, Nightingale Home Health Service, is happy the government has taken a right step in this regard. “It is a welcome move and hopefully it is just the beginning,” she said. Geriatric care is an area ignored both by the government and private hospitals, she added.

‘Mental care needed’

“The hospitals don’t want to start such facilities because it is not exciting and not feasible financially. Also, not many opt for the subject during their medical studies.”

At present, Bangalore has a few centres which provide home care for the elderly. “These patients differ from others not just because of their age, but also in the kind of problems they suffer from and their thinking. They are the most comfortable when provided with medical care and help in the confines of their house. Home care is the best solution.”

Dr Murthy said the government should also look into the mental care of senior citizens.
“There are just 100 mental health clinics in the State. By 2050, the population of the senior citizens will be equal to the number of youngsters in the country. This means that there will be a drastic increase in the mental health problems among the aged. We need facilties that can tackle this,” she observed.

According to the 2001 census, the country had about 7.6 crore people aged 60 and above, and this number has risen to 9.8 crore in the 2011 census.

The census report says this figure is projected to go up by 12.4 per cent by 2025. Also, about eight per cent of them are bed-ridden and many others suffer from complex health issues and loneliness.