The Coronavirus pandemic has left human race with feelings of anxiety, uncertainty and a fear what’s coming next. While we do our bit to stay safe, looking after our loved ones, particularly the elderly, is crucial.
In this crisis, just like the little children in the family, our elders also need extra care and attention, especially if they are living alone and are prone to feeling isolated. Coupled with the greater restrictions on the 60+ population stepping out, these feelings can negatively impact physical and mental health, and must be addressed promptly and with care.
In a chat with IANSlife, here are some ways suggested by Dr Ishita Mukerji, a senior psychologist at Kaleidoscope, a mental wellness centre part of Dr. Bakshi’s Healthcare.
Teach them to go digital: Patiently help them learn the use of various video/voice call applications available and encourage them to stay virtually connected with their friends and family. They can also use this time to rediscover their lost art of writing and share short heart felt notes via email, to their loved ones to lift their spirits. Demonstrate to them how to use taxi-hire apps, medical-monitoring apps, emergency call services, and the like. Hand them a copy of all necessary phone numbers and save them on their phones.
Prioritize their nutrition intake and physical activity: Senior citizens need adequate sleep, optimum nutrition and some kind of physical exercise on an everyday basis. Ensure that their sleep cycle is not disturbed due to the changes in the household because of the factors associated with social distancing. Their daily diet must have a combination of essential proteins and minerals, fruits, green vegetables, dairy products and a lot of liquid, as we are in the peak of summer. Elders might find it tough to exercise within the house, as many go to neighbourhood parks and yoga classes. However, you must help them incorporate at-home yoga and breathing exercises into their routine.
Enjoy recreational activities together: A good way to bond and enjoy as a family is watching a movie, listening to music, indulging in some craft activity, looking through photo albums together or playing indoor games like cards, chess, ludo, monopoly, carom etc or some mind stimulating games like Sudoku or puzzles. These activities will in turn make them feel relaxed, rejuvenated and something to look forward to each day.
Keep them engaged indoors: It is important to involve your family’s senior members in the household activities as much as possible. Their help in such basic activities will let them stay occupied and also give a sense of accomplishment to them but do not push them to perform strenuous activities. You may encourage them to pursue hobbies like reading, writing, knitting, singing or painting. Make sure they have enough supplies to last the crisis. Encourage them to teach young kids a skill.
Involvement in decision-making: We must seek advice and suggestions from the elders in our families at all times, especially when making decisions that might directly or indirectly impact them or their lifestyle. Taking their inputs into consideration will make them feel wanted and heard. It is really important to respect their thoughts and feelings that they derive out of their life experiences and wisdom accumulated over the years.
Create a positive environment at home: Getting exposed to the concerning news around worsening situation for longer durations can create anxiety and fear in seniors’ minds. Create a positive atmosphere and help them keeping calm and positive. Speak to them about their happy times. Revisit old memories, reopen photo-albums, listen to their life experiences and spend quality time with them.
Taking care of mental and emotional needs: Pay attention to the thoughts and concerns that the elderly might have as there may be big or small issues where they may need your help to solve them. Look out for mood swings too, as it might mean they are struggling mentally and need extra support and care. Also be aware of any cognitive difficulties they might be facing like being anxious, angry, stressed, agitated or withdrawn. It is very important to provide emotional support to keep them mentally and physically fit.
Google on Monday said it has started showing the locations of food shelters and night shelters in cities across India on its services like Maps, to help people especially migrant workers find relief centers with ease.
The tech giant said it is working closely with state and central government authorities to surface the locations of these relief centres. “As the COVID-19 situation develops, we are making a concerted effort to build solutions that help people during these times of need,” Anal Ghosh, Senior Programme Manager, Google India, said in a statement.
“Highlighting the locations of food and night shelters on Google Maps is a step to make this information easily available to the users in need, and ensure they can avail the food and shelter services being provided by the government authorities,” Ghosh said.
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People can now find these locations in 30 cities at the moment on Google Maps, Search and Google Assistant. This will soon be available in Hindi, Google said, adding that the company is working towards making the facility available in other Indian languages over the coming weeks, as well as adding additional shelters in more cities across the country.
People can also enter the above queries into Google Search, or ask their Google Assistant on smartphones or on a KaiOS device. In the coming days, it will become even easier to access this feature, with features like quick-access shortcuts that will appear beneath the search bar on the Google Maps app, shortcuts on Google Maps on KaiOS feature phones, and food and night shelter pins appearing on the map by default when the Maps app is first opened, Google said.
“With the help of volunteers, NGOs, and traffic authorities, we hope to convey this important information to the affected people, many of whom may not have access to a smartphone or mobile device during this time,” informed Ghosh.
Google Maps is also offering user location data to help public health officials spot increase or decrease of movement across high-level categories of places ï¿½ such as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces and residential areas.
Weight-loss or bariatric surgeries are not usually performed in people above the age of 65. But researchers, including Indian-origin, have now found that these procedures could lead to successful weight loss and better diabetes control in Older Adults.
The study, presented at the Society for Endocrinology annual conference in Brighton, UK, indicates that elderly patients treated with bariatric surgery (gastric bypass or gastric sleeve) can recover well and have a reduced risk of obesity-related complications, including heart disease and diabetes.
“Although based on a small number of patients, our data suggest that successful weight loss and improved diabetes control can be safely achieved with surgery in older patients, which could have real benefits for their longevity and quality of life,” said study researcher Nader Lessan from the Abu Dhabi-based Imperial College London Diabetes Centre.
Lessan and the study’s co-author Saradalekshmi Radha assessed the results of 22 patients who had attended their medical centre and who had undergone weight loss surgery after the age of 65.
Two years after weight-loss surgery, the patients had, on an average, lost 24 per cent of their original body weight.
In addition, of the 11 patients who had been on insulin to control their type 2 diabetes, four no longer needed it, while for others, the total insulin dose required had significantly decreased.
The only adverse effects reported during the two year period were iron and vitamin D deficiencies, which happen in younger patients too.
“Management of obesity and diabetes in old age is challenging. There is a lot of scepticism around conducting weight-loss surgery in patients over 65,” Lessan said.