Here's what Delhi offers in healthcare for senior citizens

  • Rhythma Kaul and Abhishek Rawat, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 02, 2015 13:42 IST

Two weeks ago, Aruna Jogalekar stood up before a group of 55 people and spoke of her 'tryst' with breast cancer. A trained Kathak and Odissi dancer, she talked of how the disease had sapped her of the strength to follow her passion and how, as she recovered, she began dancing again.

Each time the 68-year-old's voice faltered, her audience would cheer her on with calls of 'You can do it, Aruna'. Many of them had been in her shoes. The meeting was the first of a monthly series organised by the Live 360@60 Club of Mumbai's Nanavati Super Specialty Hospital, launched in July.

"Cancer is a major cause of death in India. It was good to see silvers getting motivated after listening to the experiences of other cancer survivors," says Dr Sanjay Dudhat, a surgical oncologist at Nanavati who gave an awareness talk at the session.

Oncologist Sanjay Dudhat addresses another session of the hospital’s Live 360@60 Club for seniors. (Vidya Subramanian/HT)

In addition to these interactive sessions, which include talks by doctors on preventative care, Nanavati hospital offers discounts on health check-ups, and the services of a 'patient relations officer' whose role is to liaise between the hospital and silvers in case of a medical emergency. The club - which has an annual membership fee of Rs 100 - has already seen 55 seniors sign up.

In an age of nuclear families and longer life expectancies, NRI kids and financially independent silvers, hospitals across metro cities are rolling out such clubs, including Fortis Healthcare and the Asian Heart Institute in Mumbai and Max Hospitals in Delhi.

On offer are discounts on health check-ups and room charges, motivational meetings, relationship managers and in-house fitness centres for post-surgery care.

Max Hospital in Delhi, for instance, has a Citizen Plus Programme, rolled out five years ago, that offers up to 20% off on tests and admissions; regular yoga sessions, health talks and bhajan sandhyas. "We started offering these packages about five years ago," says director for sales and marketing Anas Wajid. "Our engagement programmes give seniors the opportunity to socialise and learn lifestyle management while having fun."

In Mumbai, Fortis Healthcare offers a 15% discount on OPD consultations and investigations - to members of its Neighborhood Club, started last year. This club also holds health talks and the hospital conducts physiotherapy sessions for seniors, and currently has more than 8,000 members. While membership is free, the special physio sessions cost Rs 150 a month.

And the Asian Heart Institute helps seniors register for the Mumbai marathon, the idea being to encourage them to participate, stay active, and keep their hearts healthy. PR Sundaram, 72, who underwent an aortic valve replacement four years ago, says the Fortis sessions helped him greatly. "The club invites senior citizens from surrounding areas. At the meetings, we can pose any medical query to the doctors. All this is really helpful," he says.

A report released last December by audit and finance advisory company Deloitte and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) stated that while total healthcare expenditure is pegged to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.6% till 2020, elderly healthcare expenditure is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 21.9% over the same period, implying that expenditure on the elderly will increasingly take up a larger portion of the total healthcare expenditure pie.

"The situation is paradoxical - on the one hand we are reaping the benefits of a large working-age population, and on the other we are staring at a significant portion of it being above 60 years old by 2050, translating into 300 million elderly people. This calls for a serious focus on elderly care," says Charu Sehgal, senior director at Deloitte India.

At Apollo Group, flagging happens as soon as an elderly patient arrives. "These patients often have multiple issues. They are prone to falls, may be on multiple medications, so there's need for extra checks," says group medical director Dr Anupam Sibal.

Elderly people also need to be screened for specific conditions such as memory loss, urological problems and gyanecological problems, for which preventive health check-up packages are on offer.

Nemchand Jain, 76, is all praise for the way he was treated by the staff at Max, Delhi, when his late wife had to be admitted in June. They lived alone in East Delhi's Patparganj area, their children are settled abroad. "When my wife collapsed, I rushed her to Max Hospital. She had suffered a stroke and could not be saved, but I was pleased with the kind of attention they gave us while she was admitted. We didn't have to wait for tests and there was an escort with me to help me with formalities. If I had to rate my experience, I would give it a 9 on 10," Jain says.

What's on offer

Max healthcare: Senior hour consultation at Rs 200, Mondays to Fridays, from 3 pm to 5 pm; 20% discount on OPD consultations, preventive health check packages, outpatient radiology and pathology; 10% discount on home healthcare; services, day care surgery, physiotherapy, Max Pharmacy and Home delivery of medicines.

Indraprastha Apollo: Whole body check, including Cardiac Stress Analysis (TMT), Echo-cardiogram, Pulmonary function test (Spirometry), Stool for occult blood and etc; Heart check, including Echo and TMT, Cardiac consult; Diet and lifestyle counselling.

Fortis Hospital, Noida: Senior First Card for those over 60; 15% off on OPD consultations and investigations; IM Dental first consultation free 10% off on room rent;

Fortis Escorts Faridabad: The hospital is currently running a Senior First programme that offers Free registration; Ambulance for IPD admission; Dental or eye consultation twice a year; Annual services include physiotherapy, consultation, nutrition counselling session, BMI test, lifestyle management etc.

Saroj Super-speciality Hospital: Senior citizen health packages include Complete blood count, including (Hb,TLC,DLC,RBC,MCV,MCHC), Blood grouping, blood sugar fasting, and post-parandial, Blood urea, s. creatinine, Blood cholesterol, Urine analysis, ECG and Chest x-ray.

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