Articles on elderly care

Home Care for Elderly

Dr. Shreedhar Archik, Orthopedist
Dr. Gandhi fell at home and broke his hip bone. Dr. Gandhi is 87-year-old, who practiced till he was 78 years old. He had no diabetes or blood pressure. His only problem was dementia, from which he was suffering since last 5 years. He hardly remembers anything and stays all alone with his 80-year-old wife. Dr. Gandhi has two married daughters.Dr. Gandhi underwent a replacement surgery of his hip bone successfully and suffered no complications. However, our physiotherapist could hardly get anything out of him. He used to be violent at times or simply refuse to co-operate. He used to stay awake most nights in spite of sedatives, and then sleep the whole day. His diet suffered. He was on a urinary catheter and a diaper. He was put on an air mattress since he refused to turn in bed and we were worried that he would end up having bed sores.The time came to discharge him from the hospital as there was nothing to be done from the medical team. Physiotherapy was advised by the doctors so that he could get out of bed and get going, however, sadly, he refused to co-operate with the doctors, mainly due to his poor mental health. Both his daughters started panicking as we started discussing with them about his discharge. Though from a well-off family, the daily bill of a good hospital started pinching them. How would they take care of their father at home? How would their frail mother manage him? They had their own families to look after and could not spend the entire day with him.This is where the new home care startups came to our help. These new startups provide almost entire hospital facilities at home. We arranged a hospital type of bed and an air mattress on rent. We arranged two ward boys to take care of him in two 12 hours shift. We arranged a MBBS doctor to visit him once a week to check on his parameters. The cost of all this was almost 50 % of his daily hospital bill.We lack nursing home facilities for such elderly patients who need to be discharged from the hospital but are not fit enough to go home. In foreign countries, these facilities are available (though very expensive). The new startups in India have managed to fill this gap very well.We see patients like Dr. Gandhi who have their kids in the USA and no one local to take care of them. For such elderly couples, any such institution that takes care of them and yet lets them live a quality life, is a god-send facility.These startups vary from region to region and your treating doctors would be happy to share their numbers with you.

Taking Care of Our Elderly Patients

Dr. Kamal Kiswani, Dentist
Although the importance of oral health is as good as general health, the complications associated with the former are more severe and different with advances in age. We all are provided with only one set of permanent teeth and hence it becomes vital to maintain them throughout our life. But unfortunately, due to ill practices and unhealthy lifestyle habits, a substantial percentage of us fail to maintain oral hygiene and thereby, lose natural teeth. Moreover, it should be borne in the mind that poor oral hygiene can pave way for heart problems, pneumonia, diabetes and other life threatening illness. Some of the common oral problems and their treatment methodologies and preventive techniques to achieve good dental care for senior citizens are listed below:Good oral habits: The first step towards keeping gums and teeth healthy is by brushing twice a day with good fluoridated toothpaste and flossing at least once in a day. Remember, fluorides are good choice for fighting against cavity and offers assistance in maintaining good oral hygiene. Regular dental check-ups: It is utmost necessary for every senior citizen to visit dentist for routine check-up and professional cleaning, as additional issues pop up in senior years. It is a known fact that general health conditions and medications have a toll on oral health and the only possible way to address these issues is through regular visits to a professional dentist.Sensitivity: Sensitivity is another crucial issue that always nags when one age. As the gum line recedes, teeth that are not protected by the enamel surface become prone to sensitivity to both hot or cold food and beverages. Although it is quite possible to address this complication through anti-sensitive toothpaste, it would be a wise decision to approach a dentist, as sensitivity may be a symptom of a complicated problem such as cavity or any other defect in tooth.Dry mouth: The probability of dry mouth condition is very high for senior citizens and the reason being the side effect of medications. Presence of good amount of pH controlled saliva is very essential to retard the growth of bacteria in mouth. As dry mouth is the end result of absence or limited production of saliva, it needs immediate attention.Gum diseases: Gum diseases or periodontal diseases are one of the major oral complications faced by the people once they reach their advanced ages. Fortunately, the onset of gum diseases can altogether be avoided through good oral hygiene. There are numerous factors that contribute towards the occurrence of periodontal complications: Poor diet habitsBad oral hygieneSmoking Side effects of medicationsMedical conditions such as diabetes and heart problemsIt should be borne in the mind that if proper treatments are availed at the initial stages of the gum diseases, the chances of reversing the effects are quite good. Clean dentures: Many senior citizens wear full or partial dentures in order to achieve functional requirement. But the problem arises when these dentures are not cleaned properly. It is very essential to follow these practices to achieve good oral care for the senior citizens with dentures:Dentures should be properly cleaned only with the prescribed cleaners and never with ordinary tooth paste or any other household cleaners.To maintain the healthiness of dental lining, it is highly beneficial to remove dentures atleast for four hours a day or as prescribed by your dentists.Good food habitsGood diet plays a huge role in maintaining a flawless dental care. Fresh fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, low fat dairy products are good choices to maintain good oral care. In general, it is better to avoid processed foods that are loaded with sugar, which has the potential to contribute towards cavity formation.

Nutrition for the Elderly

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Are the seniors in Your Life Eating Well? No matter your age, it is important to get the right amount of nutrients every day. However, the elderly are often at a higher risk for certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies due to a variety of factors, such as low activity, slow body functions, comparatively a weaker immunity or poorly balanced diet and medication consumption. Talk to your dietitian and doctor about your changing nutritional needs as you age, and ask him/her about making changes to your diet or taking supplements to help prevent any of the nutritional deficiencies.Studies show that a good diet in your later years reduces your risk of osteoporosis, heart diseases and certain cancers. As you age, you might need less energy. But you still need just as many of the nutrients in food. To get the proper nutrition for the elderly, refer the following guidelines related to food and nutrition.Vitamin B-12Elderly men and women have a higher risk of B-12 deficiency because their stomachs do not contain an adequate amount of hydrochloric acid, which helps the body absorb the B-12 in food. For this reason, those over 50 should get the bulk of their vitamin B-12 through supplements or fortified foods like cereals, milk etc.ZincZinc is important for immune system health, wound healing, and blood clotting and thyroid function. Symptoms of zinc deficiency include loss of appetite, lack of taste or smell, hair loss, skin problems and depression. Men need 11 milligrams of zinc a day, and women need 8 milligrams, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. You can get this amount by eating foods like red meat, fish, poultry, cheese, legumes, whole grains and sunflower seeds.Calcium and Vitamin DAs you get older, your risks of losing bone mass and developing osteoporosis increase. Along with regular exercise, consuming adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D can help keep your skeletal system strong and slow bone loss. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, men and women over the age of 65 needs between 1,200 and 1,500 milligrams of calcium a day, and good food sources include dairy products like milk and cheese. Early morning sunshine is the best source of vitamin D.Other Considerations regarding Nutrition for the ElderlyOffer nutritionally-dense foods. Since many seniors aren't eating as much as they should, the food they do eat must be as nutritious as possible. Encourage whole, unprocessed foods that are balanced in calories and nutrients for their size.Enhance aromas and flavors. Appealing foods may help stimulate appetite, especially in someone whose senses of taste and smell aren't what they used to be.Make eating a social event. Many seniors who live alone or suffer from depression may stop cooking meals, lose their appetites, and depend on convenience foods. If you are worried that your parent or grandparent isn't eating properly, make meals a family occasion.Encourage healthy snacking. Many seniors don’t like to eat large meals or don't feel hungry enough to eat three full meals a day. One solution is to encourage or plan for several mini-meals throughout the day.Nutrition for the Elderly-How can they stay on track Eating healthily is an ongoing commitment, but it’s easier than you think. Here are some tips for staying on course:Ask for help. Admit when you need a hand to shop, cook, and plan meals and find someone to help. It’s important for your health not to revert to frozen dinners or takeout food.Variety, variety, variety! Try eating and cooking something new as soon as boredom strikes.Make every meal “do-able.” Healthy eating needn't be a big production. Keep it simple and you’ll stick with it. Stocking the pantry and fridge with wholesome choices will make it easier to prepare quick, tasty meals.Set the mealtime mood. Set the table, light candles, play music, or eat outside or by a window when possible. Tidying yourself and your space will help you enjoy the moment.Break habits. If you eat watching TV, try eating while reading or use the time to catch up with your spouse or a friend. If you eat at the counter, set the table instead.

Care and Management of Geriatric Patients

Dr. Yogesh Rao, Dentist
Introduction- Aging is a natural process. Old age should be regarded as a normal, inevitable biological phenomenon. As a result of the advances made in medicine and public health measures in the last half of the 20th century, there is a substantial increase in the life span of man. Elders above 65 years (old age) have health problems as a result of aging process, which calls for special consideration.In India, with its population of over one billion people, people older than 60 years constitute 7.6% of the total population, which amounts to 76 million. Incidence of oral cancer, which is an old age disease, is highest in India.A LINK TO SYSTEMIC HEALTHThe exploding geriatric population, coupled with recent discoveries surrounding links between oral health and systemic health, make it increasingly important for the dental community to be prepared to treat geriatric patients in the dental office or where they live. Ongoing research suggests that periodontal bacteria entering the bloodstream may be linked to conditions such as respiratory disease, diabetes, heart disease, increased risk of stroke, and osteoporosis. Studies further suggest that periodontal bacteria can pose a threat to people whose health is already compromised by these conditions.3 In light of this growing body of research, comprehensive dental care becomes increasingly important to help improve our geriatric patients’ quality of life and outlook.ENCOURAGING SENIOR VISITS AND PREVENTIVE CAREA natural part of aging can be dramatically diminished pain perception, which can easily mask the need for professional dental care. Additionally, many individuals accept oral problems and tooth loss as inevitable results of aging, making dental visits unimportant to them. These patients may not understand that regular dental appointments become increasingly important as they age or that professional care can positively impact their quality of life and attitude. Given this, the entire dental team needs to encourage older patients to maintain daily oral hygiene as well as regular dental visits.With patients who wear complete or partial dentures it is just as important to stress proper care and maintenance procedures as it is to encourage follow-up appointments. One report showed that only 19% of denture wearers remember their dental professionals’ instructions regarding regular checkups. In particular, it is advisable to stress oral re-evaluations for denture patients when considering bisphosphonate therapy. By remembering to emphasize these details to your elderly patients and explain why it is important they follow your advice, you can help make check-ups routine and not just a painful emergency.  STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSDental care for seniors has always posed unique challenges. It requires understanding and sensitivity to the medical, psychological, social, and financial status of elderly patients. When providing care to aging patients with physical and sensory limitations, the entire dental team needs to ensure that patients feel welcomed and comfortable. Be sure that written information such as health history forms, business cards, brochures, appointment cards, and postcards are available in large-printArrange furniture to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers, and to reduce or eliminate barriers. Be sure to offer supportive armchairs (that are not too deep or too low) in easy-to-access areas of the reception room. For wheelchair transfers, always position the seat of the dental chair at the same height as the patient’s wheelchair..BEFORE THE EXAMDental providers will find more success when they communicate clearly, respectfully, and reassuringly with elderly patients. Speak slowly and directly to the patient. Knowledge of the patient’s medical and dental history aids the practitioner in planning and providing safe, personalized, appropriate, and comfortable treatment. An accurate health history is more than a legal necessity..ENCOURAGING CAREGIVER INVOLVEMENTGeriatric patients may have difficulty performing routine oral hygiene procedures due to physical limitations and/or memory problems, making the instruction and coordination of home care particularly important. Because of the possibility of actively declining skills. Demonstrate the use of power brushes and interdental aids and, most importantly, have the caregiver don gloves and participate. Dental professionals need to make sure patient and caregiver completely understand the oral care they will be practicing at home.CONCLUSIONGeriatric healthcare is complex. The medical team’s goals include maximizing each person’s function, health, independence, and quality of life. Ideally, every geriatric team should include a dentist and/or dental hygienist to promote optimal quality of life through proper oral care. Poor dental health does not have to be an inevitable consequence for America’s aging population. By keeping abreast of the complex issues that impact geriatric dental care and offering treatment that takes into consideration the physical, mental, and social status of older adults, dental healthcare providers can enhance their older patients’ health, thus enabling them to enjoy healthier, longer lives with improved comfort, outlook, and quality of life.

How To Care For The Elderly?

Mr. Murtuza Rangwala, Physiotherapist
How to prevent falls in elderly?In my decade of practice as a consulting physiotherapist I have treated a number of patients in the geriatric age group with the oldest being around 99 years of age. Falls in the elderly are a major risk area that leads to injury and even fatalities.I thought of putting down the causes of a fall, the steps to reduce the chance of falls and tips on making certain changes at home to prevent falls.Causes of fall •  Osteoporosis -This is a condition wherein bones become more porous, less resistant to stress, and more prone to fractures. This is caused by hormonal changes, calcium and vitamin D deficiency, and a decrease in physical activity.•  As you get older, your sense of balance decreases and your reaction time gets slower.•  Lack of physical activity - Failure to exercise regularly results in poor muscle tone,decreased strength, and loss of bone mass and flexibility. All contribute to falls and the severity of injury due to falls.•  Poor eyesight•  Uneven flooring, wet surfaces, inadequate lighting•  Inactivity,drinking alcohol •  Fluctuating sugar levels, high blood pressure, inner ear problems, stroke, arthritis etc.How to reduce your risk of falls?•  Wear shoes with non-skid soles•  Avoid wearing loose fitting slippers, high-heeled shoes or long nightdresses, skirts or long trousers that may cause you to trip•  If needed or advised use walking aids to maintain balance e.g. walker or walking stick.•  Get up slowly, especially after lying down to avoid feeling dizzy.•  Increase Bone Strength – Take proper calcium and vitamin D supplements, walk for minimum 30 minutes daily, get sunlight exposure etc•  Keep your muscles stronger and joints flexible by doing your exercises.•  Get yourself assessed regularly by your doctor and the physiotherapistChanges to be made in the homes to prevent falls•  Bathroom-Install handle bars, use anti-skid floor mats, use a sitting toilet (western toilets) in case of Indian toilet use a     commode chair, keep floor dry.•  Bedroom-The room should be well illuminated, place walking aid near the bed, use a firm mattress, the height of the bed should be right( not to high or low) •  Kitchen-Place utensils and commonly used items within easy reach, do not stand on chairs and stools to reach for things high up in a cupboard, turn in long handled utensils when cooking or preparing foodClean up spills immediately• Stairs-Install sturdy handrails on both sides of stairway, Place a coloured strip or bright tape at the edge of each step to make it easier to see, Install light switches at the top and bottom of stairways.• Living Room- Keep electrical cords and telephone wires out of walkways, arrange furniture so that there is a clear pathway, chairs should have arms and be of appropriate height, adequate lighting, floors should not be wet.                                                                              FALLS CAN BE PREVENTED!!                                         PRACTICING GOOD HOME SAFETY MEASURES CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE                               We want a society where older adults can live safe, healthy and independent lives

9 Ways to Take Care of Your Eyes

Dr. Charu Tyagi, Ophthalmologist
There is a huge population of people in India who are suffering from severe Visual loss.While not all eye diseases can be prevented, there are simple steps that everyone can take to help their eyes remain healthy now and reduce their chances of vision loss in the future.1. WEAR SUNGLASSESUV blocking Sunglasses delay the development of cataracts, since direct sunlight hastens their formation. Sunglasses prevent retinal damage; they also protect the delicate eyelid skin to prevent both wrinkles and skin cancer around the eye, and both cancerous and non-cancerous growths on the eye. Check for 100 percent UV protection: Make sure your sunglasses block 100 percent of UV-A rays and UV-B rays.2. RIGHT FOODVitamin deficiency can impair retinal function. The belief that eating carrots improves vision has some truth, but a variety of vegetables, especially leafy green ones, should be an important part of your diet. Researchers have found people on diets with higher levels of vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are less likely to develop early and advanced AMD.3. QUIT SMOKINGTobacco smoking is directly linked to many adverse health effects, including age related macular degeneration ( ARMD). Studies show that current smokers and ex-smokers are more likely to develop AMD than people who have never smoked. Smokers are also at increased risk for developing cataracts.4. BASELINE EYE EXAMINATIONAdults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease should get a baseline eye examination done at 40 — the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur. Based on the results of the initial screening, an ophthalmologist will prescribe the necessary intervals for follow-up exams. Anyone with symptoms or a family history of eye disease, diabetes  or high blood pressure should see an ophthalmologist to determine how frequently your eyes should be examined.5. EYE PROTECTIONIt is important to wear proper eye protection to prevent eye injuries during sports such as hockey and cricket and home projects such as home repairs, gardening, and cleaning. For most repair projects and activities around the home, standard approved protective eye wear will be sufficient. Sports eye protection should meet the specific requirements of that sport; these requirements are usually established and certified by the sport's governing body .6. KNOW YOUR FAMILY HISTORYMany eye diseases cluster in families, so you should know your family's history of eye disease because you may be at increased risk, retinitis pigmentosa,high myopia with degeneration,.. Age-related eye diseases, including cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age related macular degeneration ( ARMD)are expected to dramatically increase in coming decade.7. EYE STRAINBe aware of eye strain.If you have eye strain working on computers or doing close work, you can follow the 20-20-20 rule: Look up from your work every 20 minutes at an object 20 feet away for twenty seconds. If eye fatigue persists, it can be a sign of several different conditions, such as dry eye, presbyopia, or spectacles with lenses that are not properly centered. See an Eye Doctor. to determine why you are having eye fatigue and to receive proper treatment. 8. EARLY INTERVENTIONMost serious eye conditions, such as glaucoma and AMD, are more easily and successfully treated if diagnosed and treated early. Left untreated, these diseases can cause serious vision loss and blindness. Early intervention now will prevent vision loss later.9. KNOW YOUR DOCTORWhen you go to get your eyes checked, there are a variety of eye care providers you might see. Ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians all play an important role in providing eye care services to consumers. However, each has a different level of training and expertise. Make sure you are seeing the right provider for your condition or treatment. Ophthalmologist are highly trained professionals who can help you,from prescribing glasses and contact lenses to complex and delicate eye surgery.

Skin and Hair Care for Holi for Everyone

Dr. Jolly Shah Kapadia, Dermatologist
Holi, the festival of colourful fun is approaching. Children are eagerly waiting to play with their pichkaris and have fun.Here are a few tips to take care of your skin and your children's skin and hair during Holi.Skin Care Before Holi:Avoid bleaching, waxing, threading, peeling, laser treatments at least 2 days prior to playing Holi.Stop using retinoid, benzoyl peroxide or hydroquinone based creams for at least 2 days prior to playing Holi.Start moisturizing your skin especially if dry, until the skin texture returns to normal.Skin Care before going to play Holi:Moisturize your skin head to toe properly before you go out to play. This will protect your skin and also help to remove the colour more easily. You can either use coconut oil, or a good moisturizing lotion.Sun protection: Apply a good sunscreen lotion liberally on face, neck, arms; all exposed parts. Lips: Use a lip balm with SPF.Nails: Trim your nails short and cover them with a nail paint and then apply a coat of oil.Clothing: Wear dark coloured-full sleeved cotton clothes. Synthetics would be sticky and denims would be heavy once you have a bucket full of water splashed on you. The more you cover your body, the higher are the chances of saving your skin from colour damage.Hydrate yourself by drinking plenty of water, thandai, fresh fruit juicesSkin Care After playing Holi:Avoid excessive hot water (since your skin is already exposed to the chemicals in colours and also heavy sun, don’t irritate it more).Avoid loofa or scrubs, or rubbing with a harsh towel. Do not rub or scrub the skin a lot to remove the colours. The friction of rubbing would aid in penetration of colours and irritate the skin more.Apply little oil on the skin and then gently try to remove the colour.The colours of Holi, water, sun and finally overzealous cleaning leaves your skin dry. After bathing, pat dry your skin to leave it slightly damp. Apply a thick body lotion to trap the water on the surface of skin, hydrate it and keep it soft and supple.  Repeat moisturizer each time your skin feels dry.Hair care for Holi:Avoid Steam and sauna a couple of days before.Avoid applying hair colour a couple of days before Holi.If possible, pamper your hair to a good oil massage for a couple of days to make them more soft and supple.Hair Care On the day of Holi:Oil your hair heavily hair before you go out to play Holi. Oil will coat the hair shafts and act as a barrier and prevent colours from coming in direct contact with hair shafts and will lessen the damage.Avoid using styling gels or creams.Tie up your hair if possible while playing Holi. Open hair will become more tangled and tend to break easily. Use a fancy bandana to prevent the hair from getting messy.Hair Care Post Holi:Wash your hair with plain lukewarm water so that most of the colour comes off. Use a mild shampoo. The colour might not go off in just one wash. Do not panic and desperately shampoo more.The hair might be already dry, so don’t wash it twice on the same day.Avoid combing wet hair, avoid hair dryers. Dry your hair with a soft cotton cloth,avoid excessive rubbing.Once the hair are dry, massage hair liberally with oil again especially for children.What if there is itching or redness while playing Holi ?Inspite of taking proper precautions, colours can still cause a reaction especially for those with sensitive skin.If your skin starts to burn or you feel itchy, then immediately stop playing, get out of the sun to a cooler place.Splash plenty of cold water,  pat dry with a soft cloth. Don’t try desperately to remove the colour. Rubbing will only irritate the skin more.Avoid further sun exposure.Apply ice packs or cold compresses.Do not apply soap or hot water and try to remove the colour if it doesn’t come off.Apply little coconut oil to pacify the skin.Apply chilled Calamine lotion or medicated aloe vera gel if there is severe burning.See a Dermatologist at the earliest.

Homeopathy for Elderly Care

Dr. Nikunj Jani, Homeopath
All over the world life expectancy has risen, leading to a sharp rise in the number of older persons. As per the UN projections, globally the percentage of people over 60 is rapidly increasing and will reach 29% (of the total population) by the year 2025. This century’s biggest achievement is longevity. Geriatric population explosion is rapidly engulfing developing countries. India is no exception. In India, elderly population is estimated to be 300.96 million by 2051 (12% of total population) as compared to 75.93 millions in 2001 census.Homeopathy is one of the most frequently used forms of Complementary and Alternative Medicine across the world. Homeopathy has been established for about 200 years by a German Physician named Dr. Samuel Hahnemann. It is based on the ‘principle of similars'. Highly diluted preparations of substances that cause symptoms in healthy individuals are used to stimulate healing reactions in patients who display similar symptoms when ill. Homeopathy believes in treating patients holistically, medications are specific to the individual, rather than diseases. Homeopathy is a safe effective and scientific system of Medicine accepted in over five continents of the world and today is one of the leading alternative medicine systems of the world.  Homeopathic Medicines are Safe and non toxic, they have no danger of overdose; Medicines are not addictive, easy to preserve, less expensive in comparison to conventional regimes. In acute and chronic disease, whether the symptoms are physical, mental, or emotional, Homeopathy produces subtle, yet often dramatic, healing. From newborns to elder peoples, most people can benefit from homeopathy.Homeopathy is not a cure-all system of medicine & it does not reject the great discoveries of Modern Medical Science; but only its commercial abuse. Homoeopath is more concerned with the sick individual & his sickness rather than the mere names of diseases. Thus, great success & curative actions have been possible in patients suffering from allergies, Cancers & various auto-immune disorders. People suffering from common infections tend to get rid of their recurrence when treated Homeopathically because their immune system is strengthened. In other diseases Homoeopathy can prevent unnecessary surgery (e.g. In cases of Piles, Fissure, Tonsillitis, Calculi etc) provided these have not grown beyond the capability of the patient's immune system or have created undesirable mechanical pressure or very gross pathology, which needs surgical intervention. Even in frank surgical cases, homeopathic medicines can help lessen post-operative shock & hasten healing & recovery.Homeopathy's relevance in this day & age is far greater, as man is tampering with the body's capacity to fight disease by leading an unhealthy lifestyle, abusing the body with stress, unhealthy food and drinks and pill popping mentality. Homeopathy is effective in treating a wide range of diseases from acute inflammations to raging epidemics, from chronic degenerative illness to deep-seated mental and emotional disturbances and, it is safe, non-toxic, gentle, and cost-effective. A recent study conducted in Europe, concluded that the severity of the complaints consistently demonstrated substantial improvements following homeopathic treatment, which were maintained through 24 months of follow up and homeopathic medical therapy may play a beneficial role in the long-term care of older adults with chronic diseases. Homeopathy fulfils all the parameters required for being an ideal system of medicine for Geriatric care. Also the cost effectiveness of homoeopathy is much more compared to all other systems of medicine. This can be a great help to the elderly, who already have depleted source of income. It can serve as a great alternative medicine therapy for the healthcare concerns of the elderly.

Geriatric (Elderly) Dentistry: Need of the Hour

Gaurav Jaiswal
The mouth is often referred to as a mirror of one’s health, and it is substantiated that, oral health is an integral part of general health. The large increase in human life expectancy over the years has resulted  in a very considerable increase in the number of older persons.  Indian demographic profile depicts that in the year’s 2000 to 2050 age group of 80 and above will grow fastest i.e 700 %.Oral health care in elderly is often neglected and is dependent on many factors such as systemic health,socioeconomic status and availability of dental health care. According to many researchers, especially in elderly population, poor oral health has been considered a risk factor for general health problems and vice versa. Oral diseases have a negative effect on quality of life. Impaired oral health and loss of teeth directly affects the Diet, nutrition, sleep, psychological status, social interaction and restricts major oral functions.These findings gives special emphasis to the field of geriatric dentistry or GERODONTOLOGY, which is a specialized multidisciplinary branch of general dentistry designed to provide dental services for elderly patients.Effect of aging on oral tissues:Loss of teeth: People have a misconception that loss of teeth is bound to happen with increasing age. loss of teeth occurs primarily due to pyorrhea (Periodontitis) which can be treated if diagnosed at early stage. loss of teeth leads to decrease in chewing efficiency  which ultimately leads to swallowing of larger food particles and avoidance of fibrous food which can result in digestive disturbances and nutritional deficiency perticularly in elderly.Root surface decay:  Due to loss of supporting bone and gums, root portion of teeth becomes exposed in oral cavity and becomes prone to decay if oral hygiene is not maintained religiously. Root caries commonly leads to teeth fracture.Wear and tear of teeth: Structural wear and tear of teeth occurs due to several habits such as bettle nut chewing. acidic food intake and night grinding. Wear of teeth can lead to sensitivity of teeth and teeth becomes more prone to decay and fracture.Pain at jaw joint: Pain and dysfunction of jaw joint and adjoining muscles in elderly may be aggravated due to over-closure of jaw which may be due to loss or wear of primary supporting teeth. Esthetic Changes: Loss of teeth and supporting bone causes reduction of support for skin and facial muscles and facial height is also reduced. This eventually leads to prominence of facial wrinkles such as hollowness of cheek, prominence of chin and drooping of lips.