Positive attitude and respect for elders are essential for healthy ageing

New Delhi, 14th June 2018: As per an analysis by the WHO, about 60% of people surveyed across 57 countries had negative views of old age. Older people are often viewed as less competent and less able than younger people. Awareness needs to be created that a positive attitude towards the elderly can help them age in a healthy manner.
Countries everywhere outside Africa are rapidly growing older. With the current population trend continuing, it is expected that by 2050 nearly 1 out of 5 people in the world will be over 65, and close to half a billion will be older than 80. Smaller, young populations will have to care for large, older populations with increasingly expensive health care needs.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “With more and more people moving to the cities for work, traditional family structures are being disrupted. In such a situation, it is the elderly in the family who are left behind, and such a situation makes it harder to care for them. Without a government safety net, many older people fall into severe poverty. Add to this, the many negative views on ageing, and the elderly fall prey to a host of illnesses and at times, even depression. The transition to old age can be made very smooth. Old age can be a great time to renew your social circle. Practice the art of positive thinking. It may be a small step but can take your health a long way. Keep your sense of humor intact. All those laughing exercises may look silly but are really helpful.”
Older people in countries with high levels of respect for the elderly report better mental and physical well-being compared with other groups in their countries, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United Nations and others.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “There is a need to look at old age also as just another stage of life. Doing so and treating the elderly with respect can bring about positive outcomes.”
Some tips for ageing well from HCFI
• Do not think you are old. Age = 100 minus years old
or age 40 = age 20 plus 20 years of experience.
• Quit smoking This is the first and foremost critical step that you can take in order to improve your health and combat age related health complications. If you were a smoker in your younger years and still are, it is not too late to quit this fatal habit.
• Stay active Make it a daily routine to undertake something that keep you fit and active. Let it be something that promotes strength, balance and flexibility and most importantly, something that you enjoy.
• Prevent accidental falls Elderly people are especially vulnerable to accidental falls. They can be prevented by making small changes around your house like removing loose rugs and carpets, keeping walking paths free of cords and clutters and using night lights for hallways. Wearing good friction supporting shoes has been observed to significantly prevent falls.
• Stay updated with immunizations and screenings Get a preventive screening done before various age-related disease strike. Get regular checkups for dental, vision and hearing health: Your teeth, gums, vision and hearing have the potential to last a lifetime, if cared for properly.
• Eat well A well-balanced healthy diet when combined with moderate physical activity can be the key to healthy aging. Calcium and vitamin D supplements can help women.
• Stay mentally active Maintain a good amount of mental activity in old age to counter dementia and cognitive impairment that come with aging.
• Sleep well Many elderly people face problems with maintaining a healthy sleep cycle. Insomnia and daytime sleepiness in excess are common complaints, talk to your healthcare provider about such issues.