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September 11, 2012

Abuse of Elders is a Hidden Social Problem: Kayakattan (INDIA)

 Abuse of elders is a hidden social problem: Kayakattan

Abuse of elders is a hidden social problem, Jacob Kayakattan, Director, Centre for Gerontological Studies, and president, Indian Sociological Society, said here on Sunday.
He was speaking on “How to fight elder abuse” at the second day of a conference on “Challenges in delivering primary care to the geriatric population in India” organised by Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore.
There are no numbers to show the extent of the problem, which he called “a crying shame”, because it is known only through participant observation. While abuse of elders takes place across classes, those in the middle and upper classes do not speak of it because it reflects on their children, he said.
Dr. Kayakattan said that while the community has to be sensitised towards the needs of the elderly, the elders also should understand the young of today. “Don’t expect too much from your children, if you do, you will end up getting disappointed,” he said. Falls among the elderly can be prevented, said Anand Ambali, Consultant Physician and geriatrician, Geriatric Clinic, BLDE University B.M. Patil Medical College, speaking on “falls among the elderly”. Some steps, which could be taken at home to ensure the elderly do not fall, are to secure carpet edges, use non-skid floors, stay in well-lighted areas, remove low furniture and objects on the floor, reduce clutter, cords, and wires. Install grab bars and rubber mats in bathrooms, handrails in stairs, and keep the light on in bathrooms through the night, he said.
Age, gender cognitive decline and arthritis, lack of exercise, inappropriate footwear, and presbyopic lens, lead to falls. Other risk factors are diuretics, anticonvulsants and antipsychotics. Fever can also be a cause of falls. Later, in the question-answer session, Dr. Ambali said that elderly patients continued to take sleeping pills (which could lead to falls) despite being asked to stop taking them. Seetharam Rao, professor, Department of Orthopaedics, KMC, Mangalore said, falls can lead to serious injury in elderly persons. The time from injury to discovery is important as it could make the difference between life and death. A fall can lead to bruises, head injury, brain haemorrhage, pneumonia or death. After a fall, the elderly may fear repeated falls, get depressed, and lose confidence, he said.
Speaking on the “Role of assistive devices”, he said devices used by the elderly should be of the right size and design otherwise they could cause a fall, said Dr. Rao.

 SOURCE:      The Hindu


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