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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

‎Geriatric Health in India: Concerns and Solutions. 2008.

‎"Geriatric Health in India: Concerns and Solutions", by Gopal K. Ingle and Anita Nath. Indian J Community Med. 2008 October; 33(4): 214–218.

"At present, most of the geriatric out patient department (OPD) services are available at tertiary care hospitals. 

Also, most of the government facilities such as day care centers, old age residential homes, and counseling and recreational facilities are urban based. 

A study conducted to assess the unmet needs of the geriatric population in rural Meerut observed that as many as 46.3% of the study participants were unaware of the availability of any geriatric services near their residence and 96% had never used any geriatric welfare service. 

About 59% of them stated that the nearest government facility was 3 kilometers from their homes.

Since 75% of the elderly reside in rural areas, it is mandatory that geriatric health care services be made a part of the primary health care services. 

This calls for specialized training of Medical Officers in geriatric medicine. 

Also, factors such as a lack of transport facilities and dependency on somebody to accompany an elderly person to the health care facility impede them from accessing the available health services. 

Thus, peripheral health workers and community health volunteers should also be trained to identify and refer elderly patients for timely and proper treatment."

The Central and State governments have already made efforts to tackle the problem of economic insecurity by launching policies such as the National Policy on Older Persons, National Old Age Pension Program, Annapurna Program, etc. However, the benefits of these programs have been questioned several times in terms of the meager budget, improper identification of beneficiaries, lengthy procedures, and irregular payment.

Strategies to Improve the Quality-of-Life of the Elderly: The Role of the Health Care System:

With a brief overview of the health and socio-economic challenges that are being faced by the elderly population in India, the following strategies may be explored by the program managers of the public health care system to bring about improvement in the quality-of-life of the geriatric population.

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