If you have an elderly family member living with you, who has a three-month check-up with the doctor today, would you take or allow that member to go? Knowing well that the elderly is more vulnerable to a COVID-19 infection, you must weigh the risk of either of you getting, coronavirus versus the benefit of seeing the physician. And with most people, it is probably best to skip that visit.
But what if your elder is suffering from some common age-related issues like arthritis (joint pain), bowel control or diarrhea, or worse – progressive dementia. Normally, they would have been attended to by a doctor, but now they may consider just staying home and self-treat which is also risky. It is a real dilemma. Luckily, physicians’ offices are starting to do telemedicine visits, but these may be difficult for seniors to access. With health insurance progressively more expensive for elders, keeping them safe and in health is as much an economic imperative as an emotional one.
Why are the elderly more vulnerable to coronavirus?
There are both physical and social reasons. Older people do not have as strong an immune system, so they are more vulnerable to infectious disease. They are also more likely to have conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, or kidney disease, which weaken their body’s ability to fight infectious disease.
The elderly might also have isolation or mobility challenges. Because they are isolated, they cannot get information about what to do, or they are not able to get what they need as moving out of house is not advisable. Sadly, in many homes, seniors are more likely to live in a state of helpless poverty with not only their mobility, but purse strings controlled by others at home, making life even more difficult.
How can relatives help senior members of their family?
The key is communication. For many seniors, access to a smartphone is a luxury, and those that do may not necessarily speak the main language of the media. If the elder is living at a care-home, families need to make sure they call on a regular basis to help combat social isolation. Do remember, for an elder, the company of people is not the same as speaking with a relative. It’s an emotion testing time too.
Families are going to need to have extremely uncomfortable conversations around end-of-life decisions, such as will creation, whether they want to be resuscitated or have chest compressions in the event of a heart attack. It gives families a greater sense of peace once they have had the conversation. It is advisable that you teach your elders Apaan Vayu Mudra, as it will help relieve their body and mind.
For elders at home, one recommended way to lower the risk is to limit too close personal (distance) interaction. But this may be tough for older adults who cherish time spent with friends and family members. Physical distancing does not have to mean isolation or loneliness. Do keep in mind that social isolation can have a negative impact on older people’s immunity and mental health. In terms of social contacts, seniors should be encouraged to think beyond their usual circle of friends and family.
Saying hello to the mail carrier or checking in on neighbours close by can add to a sense of connectedness. With many houses of worship closing their doors until the pandemic eases, congregants, especially older ones, may feel cut off. Religious/ spiritual communities are often a big part of older adults’ social lives. Simple things like ensuring they have access to online services and outreach for spiritual solace and support.
How to help older adults feel involved and less lonely during the pandemic?
Show them how to video chat with others using smartphones, laptops, or tablets.
Use apps that provide captions for adults with hearing challenges.
Encourage friends and family outside of your household to telephone, write notes or send cards to lift your loved one’s spirits.
Keep elders involved. Giving homebound older adults a project, it is understandable, you may be going through a physical, mental, or even an economically agonizing time yourself. Being members of the Lions Club and having been involved in holding health camp for training and treating Indian Armed Forces, Maharashtra Police and general public but restricted to do so in pandemic, we thought of starting E-training and treating the public especially Senior Citizens and students. This way we can prepare a second line of defense as medical fraternity is too busy serving the community at risk of their lives. The matter was discussed with Honorable Union AYUSH Minister and he appreciated the project and our efforts.
Fortunately, Basic Sujok therapy and Ayurvedic Acupressure together with Mudra Yoga are such therapies that these could be taught online and are noninvasive, easy to learn and practice. The former two need grains and cereals, spices, magnets, and colours to practice and are generally available in every home. Mudra Yoga needs nothing.
Those interested can organise training in small batches by visiting www.artofselfhealing.in, and filling up the form to get the training or treatment for mainly pain, weakness and boosting up immune system to start with. Treatment for old age problems given above could also be learnt in details on line as these are also easy.
Let’s take for example, there are protocols for keeping aging person healthy, such as for retarding aging process, and increasing strength, a plaster made of dry red chilli seeds with micro surgical tape could be pasted on Meridian point C 4 on hand, a couple of times in a year.
The symptoms of weakness in kidney and liver are bodily weakness, dizziness and vertigo, head vexation, anger, low backache, weak feet, frequent urination, red tongue, neurasthenia, geriatric diseases. The treatment is by finding meridian points with a jimmy or ball pen as explained in earlier articles or explained on website, points Li 4, Li 11, P6, GB 34, Sp 6, Liv 13, Liv 3, CV 4, CV 12, Liv 14 and thereafter paste methi seeds on all these points, on both hands, at night.
If hands and soles of an elderly person gets cold then stimulating the following points with ice may help him/her feel better. The points which should be stimulated are St 45, Sp 1, 3, 6, K 7, 26 & H 7.
Treatments for prostate gland, weak arms and legs, diarrhea, constipation, coughing, constant drip, wrinkles, high cholesterol, weak digestion, metabolism, difficulty to sit, stand or walk, weeping tendency and many more health problems for old age persons are given on website.
(From increasing metabolism to overcoming physical problems, Prof Luthria speaks about the art of self-healing through different techniques. For more tailored advise visit www.artandscienceofhealing.in)