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Challenges in geriatric medicine practice in India: (SWOT analysis) Re: Medicine for the elderly (geriatric medicine)⇓
We read with interest and applauded the news that healthcare needs of the elderly are being taken more seriously and greater resources made available to provide both community and hospital based services in UK .
In recent years, increasing life expectancy is adversely presenting as an epidemic of frail elderly population worldwide.
Cardiovascular disorders, Alzheimer disease, cancers, chronic respiratory disorders, chronic renal failure, join deformity, diabetic complications and other multidisciplinary adverse health conditions are incapacitating elderly population.
In addition, major challenges with elderly population are age related decline across multiple physiological systems, resulting in high vulnerability to multi-morbidity including dependency, seeking long term geriatric care.
We need to train multi-speciality health care practitioners, health workers and compassionate social service workers who will focus on the complex interplay between the multiple adverse health conditions and social adjustment problems frequently encountered with elderly people .
There is an urgent need for a thoughtful analysis of the challenges and opportunities of routine frailty identification and frailty management in geriatrics health care setting.
The lack of trained health workers and skilled nursing workforce for elderly population are added challenge in developing countries like India.
Elderly population in India:
The life expectancy at birth during 2009-13 was 69.3 for females as against 65.8 years for males while there are nearly 104 million elderly persons (aged 60 years or above) in India; 53 million females and 51 million males. .
Conclusion: Only academic knowledge and community research activities on geriatric medicine are not suffice, we need hands-on training to take care of frail elderly people with compassionate attitude to fill up the unseen gap in patient-doctor relationship.
References: 1. Medicine for the elderly (geriatric medicine)⇓BMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7489.s83-a (Published 26 February 2005)
Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:s83
Competing interests: No competing interests