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Opinion

Geriatric care increases to fight Covid-19 | HT Editorial – Editorials

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As the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) spreads, the elderly appear to be the most vulnerable. Without a doubt, the young people became infected and even became seriously ill. But older people, with comorbidities and compromised immune systems, find it more difficult to fight the disease.

In India, more than 20% of the population is over 60 years old. The elderly lack mobility and economic power, nor do they have access to authentic information on how to stay safe in these times. Given the lack of hospice facilities, the elderly will have to be cared for largely at home. This means that families have to be educated on how to keep older people isolated to protect them from infection, which is not easy in congested family systems. The needs of the elderly are not always a priority, since families, in fact society, see them as non-productive, even a burden on an overwhelmed health system.

The government must be more proactive, providing a degree of social security for the elderly and guaranteeing mobile geriatric health services. As Kerala is doing, states should examine how supplies and medicines can be provided in the home to the elderly who do not have family support systems. A helpline should be established, specifically for older people. The National Policy on Older Persons, 1999, prescribes a number of provisions, such as monthly stipends, free home health care, and hospice care for the elderly. These measures could help the elderly to overcome the crisis. Covid-19 is a wake up call. Institute geriatric care systems as the population ages.

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