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Uphaar tragedy: Age, Ansals and gift from judiciary

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By Ridham Gambhir

Getting old is an unavoidable facet. The same became more of an advantage than a liability when the Ansal brothers got released from their sentenced punishment because of their “old age”.

Sushil Ansal (75) and Gopal Ansal (67) were granted bail on Friday when the Supreme Court said that Sushil is “fairly aged” and his younger brother deserves “parity” with him and that it was not “fruitful” for them to undergo rigorous punishment.

UphaarFire_reutersOn June 13, 1997, 59 people died and over 100 were injured when a fire broke out at Uphaar Cinema, New Delhi during the screening of Border.

A probe into the incident revealed several regulatory violations such as- no functional public announcement system, no emergency lights, foot lights, or exit lights; and blocked gateways (due to unauthorized seating arrangement installed by the theatre authorities).

Ansal brothers alone can’t be held responsible for this fiasco. The fire broke out due to faulty wiring in the transformer that was installed by Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB) in the cinema hall.

“The cause of death was suffocation due to the fire and the Ansal Brothers can’t be blamed for that,”  argued Ram Jethmalani , lawyer for the estate barons in 2008 hearing in HC.

If old age is being taken into consideration while releasing the Ansal brothers, then what about Om Prakash Chautala (80) and Subroto Roy (67)? Both of these men are in jail for committing financial crimes, yet they haven’t been released till now considering their “old age”.

As per the data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), more than 87,000 people, 60 and above, were arrested under the Indian Penal Code and Special Local Law crimes in 2014. In 2013, around 53,000 people in the age group 50 and above were put behind bars.

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The victims of this horrible accident united under the banner name of the ‘Association of Victims of Uphaar Fire Tragedy’ (AVUT), which won ₹25 crore as a compensation for their dead relatives. However, Supreme Court, on 13 October 2011, nearly halved the sum of compensation awarded to them by the Delhi High Court.

The fire broke out 18 years back, when Sushil Ansal was 57 years old and Gopal Ansal was 49. Our judicial system didn’t give them an ‘appropriate punishment’ at that time, and now it is ‘replacing’ their punishment by a means of monetary compensation. Have the brothers grown too old or has our law enforcement got too weak?

If the Ansal brothers are too old to deal with the punishment given to them. then think about the families of those 59 who have grown old in the memory of their loved ones.

The tragedy took place a long time back, but it’s wounds are still fresh. And those who gave these wounds have grown “too old” to suffer their wrongdoings! Is this is uphaar (gift) from our judiciary to these brothers?

 

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Tips to Protect Elders From COVID-19

How to minimise COVID-19 risks for older adults

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COVID-19
Research suggests that an older adult and those with severe chronic medical conditions or comorbidities such as Heart, Lung or Kidney disease, Diabetes, COPD and Hypertension are at twofold risk to be seriously infected with COVID-19, if exposed to the virus. Pixabay

While India is continuously ramping up its efforts to combat COVID-19, it is a must for citizens to inculcate self-protection measures against the dreaded virus.

“One must adhere to basic hygiene practices to curb the spread of infection. While regular hand washing for up to 20 seconds, along with following social distancing protocols is ideal in such a situation, it is also important to keep the surroundings sanitized, especially if you’re living with an older adult,” says Dr Sandeep Patil, Chief Intensivist and Physician, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan.

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Adding,

“Older individuals are bound to ultimately experience several health issues. However, research suggests that an older adult and those with severe chronic medical conditions or comorbidities such as Heart, Lung or Kidney disease, Diabetes, COPD and Hypertension are at twofold risk to be seriously infected with COVID-19, if exposed to the virus. Even if one is staying indoors, it is imperative to ensure the safety and care of individuals in these age group, who usually have compromised immune systems.”

Here are a few essential and easy steps one can follow for sanitisation and hygiene purposes:

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While India is continuously ramping up its efforts to combat COVID-19, it is a must for citizens to inculcate self-protection measures against the dreaded virus. Pixabay

1. Keep away from any risk: In order to prevent the risk of infection in an older adult, as a caregiver, your prime focus should include precautionary measures of self- protection; which includes frequent and thorough washing of hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is to be followed prior to food preparation, post handling of items, laundry as well as using the bathroom..

Make sure to wash your hands to efficiently keep infection at bay If you have stepped outside of the house, take a bath on your return. Keep a sanitizer in hand and use at regular intervals

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2. Use bed spreads; if possible, change the bed sheets and pillow cases once every three-four days. Wash bed sheets and pillows in hot water, preferably separately from the rest of the family’s bedding.

3. Keep the room well ventilated during the day for air circulation, and allow cross ventilation.

4. Keep food and snacks out of bedrooms, as crumbs attract bacteria

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To fight off COVID-19, remember to wash your hands. Pixabay

5. Ensure to clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces- walker, canes, as well as medical equipment.

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6. Practice daily change of clothes, ensure that the elderly wear freshly washed clothes every time they change Their clothes must be washed meticulously with a detergent, preferably in a washing machine If possible, wash laundry with warm water which will aid in killing the germs and make sure they are thoroughly dried in a dryer before being worn again — you can also sun dry their clothes. Do not mix your clothes with those of the elderly while washing.

7. While cleaning the bathroom and toilet, use a disinfectant in the bathroom before and after bathing the individual. Ensure the tub, hand rails, sink, shower handles, faucets, etc are all cleaned and rinsed with warm water.

Also Read- Homeopathy Can Help Fight Coronavirus: Experts

While we take precautions against COVID-19, it is also important to monitor the seasonal flu which has a considerable impact on older adults. Make sure to stay in touch with their doctors through e-consultations to receive the right guidance and precautionary guidelines. Make sure to measure and note their vitals regularly. (IANS)

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Older People Have the Wisdom to Use Mindfulness: Study

Here's how life can get better as we age

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Elderly mindfulness
Mindfulness can help reduce stress. Pixabay

Life can get better with age with mindfulness because older people have the wisdom and time to use mindfulness as a means to improve overall wellbeing, according to a new study.

Mindfulness refers to the natural human ability to be aware of one’s experiences and to pay attention to the present moment in a purposeful, receptive, and non-judgmental way.

Using mindful techniques can be instrumental in reducing stress and promoting positive psychological outcomes, the study said.

According to the researchers, certain characteristics of mindfulness seem more strongly evident in older people compared to younger people – and suggest ways for all ages to benefit.

“This suggests that wisdom may naturally develop with time and life experience,” said study co-author Tim Windsor from Flinders University in Australia.

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Life can get better with age with mindfulness because older people have the wisdom and time to use mindfulness. Pixabay

The recent study, published in the journal Aging and Mental Health, based on an online community survey of 623 participants aged between 18 and 86 years.

“The significance of wisdom for wellbeing may also increase as we get older, in particular the ability to focus on the present moment and to approach experiences in a non-judgmental way,” Windsor said.

“These characteristics are helpful in adapting to age-related challenges and in generating positive emotions,” Windsor added.

From middle age to old age, the survey highlights the tendency to focus on the present moment and adopt a non-judgmental orientation may become especially important for well-being with advancing age.

For the findings, the researchers assessed participants’ mindful qualities such as present-moment attention, acceptance, non-attachment and examined the relationships of these qualities with wellbeing more generally.

“The ability to appreciate the temporary nature of personal experiences may be particularly important for the way people manage their day-to-day goals across the second half of life,” said study lead author Leeann Mahlo.

The researchers found that positive relationships between aspects of wellbeing became stronger from middle age onwards.

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“Our findings suggest that if mindfulness has particular benefits in later life, this could be translated into tailored training approaches to enhanced wellbeing in older populations,” she said.

Mindfulness skills can help build wellbeing at any age, the study said. (IANS)

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Fatality in Older Adults Higher Due to Low Immunity: Study

Is your loved one above age 60? Time for some extra care

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Older adults are at a high risk of death owing to a multitude of factors like underlying conditions and low immunity. Pixabay

The world’s geriatric population (people aged 60 and older) will cross two billion by 2050 from nearly one billion in 2020 and in the case of a pandemic like novel coronavirus, these loved ones are at high risk of death owing to a multitude of factors like underlying conditions and low immunity.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 125 million people are aged 80 years or older today and by 2050, there will be almost this many (120 million) living in China alone — and 434 million people in this age group worldwide.

A recent report published in the medical journal JAMA which examined more than 72,000 Chinese coronavirus patients found that the overall fatality rate was 2.3 per cent. But in adults over 80, the fatality rate rose to 15 per cent.

By 2050, 80 per cent of all older people will live in low- and middle-income countries where health facilities are already dismal.

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Data from Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) showed that the fatality rate of COVID-19 patients aged 80 or older was 5.4 per cent. Pixabay

Public health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are urging older adults, especially those who already have health challenges, to “stay at home as much as possible” to avoid getting COVID-19.

Early research shows that older people are twice as likely to have serious complications if they get COVID-19.

People with chronic conditions such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, are more at risk for severe cases of COVID-19.

“If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra-important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease,” said public health experts at the CDC.

Older adults living in communities where the virus has spread should take extra precautions like avoiding public places.

According to Ravi Shekhar Jha, Senior Consultant and Head of the Department, Pulmonology, Fortis Escorts Hospital Faridabad, “Older adults’ lungs take more time in clearing up and there is not clear secretion from the lung. All these factors make them extremely vulnerable to the coronavirus.”

Another analysis of all cases diagnosed in China found that 86.6 per cent were aged 30-79 years.

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A recent report published in the medical journal JAMA which examined more than 72,000 Chinese coronavirus patients found that the overall fatality rate was 2.3 per cent. Pixabay

Data from Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) showed that the mortality rate of COVID-19 patients aged 80 or older was 5.4 per cent, compared with an Daverage mortality rate of 0.6 per cent.

According to Rajesh Chawla, Senior Consultant, Respiratory and Critical Care, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in New Delhi, elderly people above 50 years of age suffering from diabetes and heart disease need to take extra precautions as coronavirus can lead to severe conditions in them.

The CDC advises against non-essential plane travel for older adults.

“The data continues to say that the people who are at higher risk for severe disease and death are those who are older and with underlying health conditions,” according to Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC.

Depending on how severe the outbreak is, public health officials may recommend community actions to reduce people’s risk of being exposed to COVID-19. These actions can slow the spread and reduce the impact of disease.

Also Read- Apple Temporarily Shuts Down Retail Stores Outside China: CEO Tim Cook

If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease. If you have someone senior at home, it is time to take some extra measures for your loved ones till the COVID-19 scare goes away. (IANS)