“Aging happy and well, instead of sad and sick, is at least under some personal control. We have considerable control over our weight, our exercise, our education, and our abuse of cigarettes and alcohol. With hard work and/or therapy, our relationships with our spouses and our coping styles can be changed for the better. A successful old age may lie not so much in our stars and genes as in ourselves.” ~George E. Vaillant
As rightly quoted above, how we take ageing depends on our own way of perceiving things. This visit made us witness the positive side of institutionalization along with the negative one.
We (a group of 6 medicos) through SWITCH INDIA in collaboration with ROBINHOOD ARMY had an opportunity to visit an old age home SAI SEVA VRUDHASHARAM, DOMBIVLI.
AIM: To provide a basic awareness regarding rehabilitation and importance of physiotherapy in geriatric population. The visit was a learning experience as we got to know the challenges faced by the elderly staying in an institution. They had to face both physical (frail group) and psychological issues(abandonment by family). Both were targeted during the program.
There were a few strong minded elders who were taking institutionalization in a positive way they had so well accepted the present situation of life and are gracefully living it with happiness.
They had set up a routine for themselves to keep them functional e.g. going for a walk,etc. They served to be a great help, as we could encourage others to be active by giving an example of someone who is a part of same place.
All of 18 residents were screened and treatment provided for specific ailments and appropriate referral suggested where necessary.
Information regarding the need of doing basic exercises to improve and maintain their functional levels was conveyed individually to each person. This helped us to build a rapport with them and inturn receiving co-operation in the group session.
INDIVIDUAL MANAGEMENT: A general evaluation was done for all elderly and based on their functional levels exercises were taught for their particular condition. E.g. knee pain.
FUNCTIONAL GROUP- Most of the patients were functionally independent hence could do better in group therapy. Also would improve the interaction between them.
FRAIL GROUP- There were a few frail elders and were depended for functional tasks i.e. activities of daily living, bed mobility exercises were taught along with transfer training and were educated and encouraged to be functionally independent.
GROUP SESSION: Active exercises for all joints taught along with breathing exercises, done under supervision, targeting the functional group. The session was well appreciated and accepted by them. They were motivated enough to participate in group therapy.
We received a positive feedback from many of them, they were genuinely appreciating this initiative and were willing to do exercises regularly.
The message regarding importance of physical fitness was well conveyed to them. Conducting more such sessions frequently would definitely bring a change in the lifestyle of people at institutions. Making them more independent and providing enough psychological support by participating in group therapies.
Robinhood army was very supportive in the entire program. Interacting with them made me feel so bonded, as we are working towards the same goal of serving the humanity and bringing a change in the society. Thanks to Switch India and RHA India for organizing this camp. Looking forward to more such experiences.