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Age well, age healthy

Author: admin

A panel of experts, including research scholars, professors, medical experts and NGOs, recently shared a common platform to promote healthy ageing, and address issues and concerns in age-care management at a two-day national conference—‘Healthy Ageing – Understanding Ageing and Overview of Innovations in Ageing Care Management’—in Mumbai. The event was organised by the College of Social Work, Nirmala Niketan, Mumbai, in collaboration with the National Institute of Social Defence, New Delhi.

Delivering his keynote address, Prof S Siva Raju, Deputy Director, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Hyderabad Campus, presented the situational analysis of the elderly in India. Stating that “ageing is a reality”, he highlighted the magnitude of the problem in India. Subsequent speakers also highlighted aspects of government schemes and provisions as well as how population ageing was a growing concern for the country at large. Multiple studies and researches on ageing care were shared with senior participants, bringing to light the problems and conundrums of silvers and their caregivers.

Prompting silvers to “accept ageing”, Dr Shubha Thatte, Founder Trustee & Supervisor, Institute for Psychological Health (IPH), brought up an interesting point: “Physical changes are bound to happen with age. However, a disturbing factor that contributes to cognitive decline among silvers is the feeling that they are not contributing in a constructive way.” Recommending that silvers use their cognitive ability to the fullest, she said, “Do something tangible to improve your skills and focus on activities that make you happy.” And pointing out the various myths surrounding ageing, Sailesh Mishra, Chairperson, Silver Innings, said, “Ageing is highly individualised. As silvers, you need to accept the normal process of ageing and live your life.”

The conference touched upon other spheres of ageing too. Dr Prabha Tirmare, Associate Professor, College of Social Work, Nirmala Niketan, addressed the crucial role of family in healthy ageing. “Just like ‘maternity leave’, the Government should introduce ‘parental leave’ for the care and treatment of silvers,” she suggested. While Jagruti Wandrekar, Consultant Psychologist, IPH, spoke about the fears and regrets silvers hold and how the frequency and mode of contact with relatives affect them, advocate Aileen Marques threw light on the rights of senior citizens, such as prevention of elder abuse and making a will.

Apart from sensitising the audience about the varied backgrounds and capabilities of silvers, the various plenaries at the conference covered subjects such as government interventions for healthy ageing, psychosocial correlates of mental health and well-being, geriatric issues, ethical and medical considerations in palliative and end-of-life care, and creative ageing through expressive art therapies and innovative approaches. The conference concluded with a cultural programme by the alumni of the Senior Citizens’ Course from Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work.

February 2019