Karachi: “In Pakistan, as per some statistics, the average life expectancy is 72 years for men and 79 years for women. However, the society has to deal various concerns related to the process of aging i.e. Geriatrics, our social, psychological and physical environment unfortunately gives scarce room to active and healthy aging.
“One out of every four senior adults suffer from mental health issue most significant of which is depression, alzimer, dementia etc. The urgent need of time is the measures that must be taken to ensure a healthy and profound geriatric ratio in our country.”
These views were expressed by the Provincial Minister for Health Dr. Sagheer Siddiqui, Vice Chancellor, University of Karachi Prof. Dr. Muhammad Qaisar and others while addressing the seminar on Geriatric Concerns- Opportunities and Challenges organized by the Department of Physical Education, University of Karachi.
Dr. Sagheer highlighted that Geriatrics is one of the neglected issues; well-planned and strategic measures will now be taken in this relation, so that we can amicably deal with the challenges of this natural process of aging. Vice Chancellor talked about the social aspect of Geriatrics and said that it is very unfortunate that we are becoming more youth oriented and neglect the elderly people in our surroundings. This attitude gives a boost to major serious issues related to this process.
Other speakers including Dr. Salaal, Dr. Masood Qureshi, Nabeel Alvi and others expressed that the people who are undergoing the process of aging does not prepare themselves for this challenging phase of life. Our societal structure and eating habits bars healthy aging. In this capacity, nutritious and well-balanced diet and proper exercise can reduce the geriatric concern.
The need is to create awareness about planning and preparing ourselves for the process of aging. In our social structure, geriatric care centres and old homes are considered as taboo and on the other hand, at homes, we are unable to provide our elders the physical and psychological strength that is imperative to face the challenge of aging.
The speakers shed light on the warning signs, on the appearance of which, a senior adult should seek geriatric psychiatric help. These include Abuse of medications, alcohol or drugs, anger, agitation or aggression, changes in behaviour, eating or sleeping patterns, confusion, crying spells, decreased energy or appetite, depression, difficulty controlling impulses, disorientation, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, grief, hallucinations, inability to concentrate or focus, loss of interest in activities, appearance or self-care, memory loss, suicidal thoughts or behaviours and withdrawal from family and friends.
They emphasized that Retirement from work or minimizing of social activities has negative effects on the life of an individual who is getting old. It is, therefore, imperative that a person who is proceeding towards the process of aging should keep himself/herself active so that he may not face the brutal challenges of geriatrics.
In the end, In-charge Department of Physical Education Basit Ansari delivered vote of thanks and said that it is one of the most neglected areas on discussion in our society, which is why he and his team decided to create awareness on this issues. A large number of KU teachers and students were present on the occasion.