Dhunjishaw Ghandi, 86, and his wife, Shirin, 78, have been living alone in Powai for the past eight years. Grappling with ailments, the couple relies on a domestic help and an elderly care clinic at Hiranandani Hospital in Powai.
Doctors said the number of senior citizens managing their lives on their own has gone up considerably and providing holistic care is need of the hour.
“For any problem, we first contact our family physician at the clinic. What we need is diagnosis, moral support and the solace of having spoken to someone,” said Dhunjishaw, who was in a car accident years ago and suffers from osteoporosis.
The elderly care clinic, which started nearly eight months ago, gets three to four patients every week. “Apart from cognitive decline, most patients are on medication with side effects. These ends need to be tied up so the need for specialised clinic,” said Dr Gaurang Desai, who heads the clinic. “There is also a demand for trained caregivers in absence of family support.” Dr Tushar Rege, who treats elderly diabetic patients, said senior citizens must enroll in support groups for specific illnesses for help in emergencies.
Louis Allat, a caregiver trained at Shield Foundation, said that old patients mostly need help moving about. “You have to look after them like children, but with respect and patience,” he said. Even if the elderly are mobile, they often lose confidence if they have been through a major surgery or illness. “Elderly people need holistic care. We need more geriatric consultants to deal with their problems,” said Dr Prince George, who specialises in palliative care for the aged at SL Raheja Hospital.