International Day Of Older Persons is observed on October 1 every year, to underscore the need for communities for providing optimal healthcare for the elderly. This crucial health event was initiated by the United Nations General Assembly (UN) in the year 1991, to help the older population worldwide, efficiently overcome the numerous challenging conditions encountered by them. This campaign is rather relevant in current times, as elderly are more prone to coronavirus infection and statistics by health experts, researchers indicate that individuals over 60 years will outnumber children below 5, by the end of 2020.
Also Read: Coronavirus: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Presently marking its 30th year of celebrations, the focus of International Day Of Older Persons 2020, is to promote the “Decade Of Healthy Ageing 2020 – 2030”. Global healthcare professionals associated with the World Health Organization (WHO) officially endorsed this theme as part of the 73rd World Health Assembly held in August 2020. According to the WHO, healthy ageing is defined as “the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age”. This implies that the aged population must be given adequate medical support at all times, to enable them to perform normal activities by themselves and lead a life with dignity, equality in the later years.
The primary objective includes raising awareness on, and providing solutions for, the specific health-related difficulties faced by those aged 60 and above, in both developed and developing nations, being inclusive, keeping in mind to “Leave No One Behind”. Thereby, gaining accurate knowledge about the principal features of geriatric syndromes, such as falls, urinary incontinence, pressure ulcers, delirium, dementia, is very important in this regard. Read on, to know more.
Distinct Attributes Pertaining To Geriatric Syndromes:
Indeed, ageing, with gradual diminishing of physical, mental abilities, is a natural phenomenon and a biological process that occurs in every human being. Nevertheless, the extent and speed of organ function decline can be significantly limited, by being aware of geriatric syndromes, that invariably arise in older people over the age of 60 and seeking timely treatment for the same.
Geriatric syndromes are essentially multiple illnesses that develop in an old person, which simultaneously afflict many organs, organ systems within the body, owing to mainly ageing and loss of tissue function, which can be effectively treated and properly managed. They comprise:
Due to either hazardous external environments or extreme muscle weakness, an elderly person succumbs to falls, where accidental circumstances result in them laying down on the ground or the bottom-most surface of a particular location. Problems with posture, skeletal stability, gait, remaining erect, as well as arthritis, osteoporosis and other bone, muscle, joint disorders trigger falls in the elderly.
Also Read: World Arthritis Day: Simple And Effective Tips To Manage Joint Pain
Experienced by many aged individuals, urinary incontinence involves the elimination of urine, other liquid wastes from the excretory organs, system, on an involuntary and uncontrollable basis. This not only causes issues with personal hygiene and requires constant monitoring of the elderly, but also indicates damaged pelvic floor muscles, impaired bladder workings and irregularities in the lower urinary tract (LUT).
Also known as decubitus ulcers, pressure sores, bedsores, pressure ulcers form when portions of skin, underlying tissues are constantly under force and undergo injury of superficial as well as deep tissues, with obstruction of normal blood flow to cells. These wounded areas are prone to microbial infections and prompt excruciating pain, discomfort, besides blisters, abrasions, skin discolouration, harm and bleeding.
Delirium is a state of utter mental confusion and lack of awareness, realization of prevailing surroundings, situations. Pre-existing sicknesses like depression, hearing and visual disabilities, prolonged lack of physical activity, social isolation and other chronic conditions, prescription medications can instigate episodes of delirium. Moreover, nervous system operations tend to slow down and eventually stop with old age, negatively influencing the functioning of the mind.
The capability to carry out routine day-to-day activities such as eating, dressing, bathing are all hampered when an elderly individual presents with dementia. Entailing a massive deterioration of memory, concentration, thinking, behaviour and cognitive traits, dementia occurs due to surplus toxic free radicals accumulating in the brain, nerves in old age, as well as enduring ailments, namely diabetes mellitus, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, lung and heart disorders.