Healthy Ageing is about creating the ‘environment and opportunities’ that enable people to be and do what they value throughout their lives.
Decision to go for a professional caregiver
Rajiv, currently living in Singapore, has a wish for his parents back in India. He explains, “Both my parents who are otherwise independent (elderly 91 & 82 yrs old) need attention, regard, respect, love and care. Their days need to be made colourful and meaningful. I want them to experience healthy ageing”[sic]. He decided to hire a professional caregiver from Life Circle, a home nursing care provider, to take care of his parents.
The caregiving experience
Kanchan, Life Circle’s bubbly caregiver takes care of Rajiv’s elderly parents enabling them to embrace the small joys of life. Playing games such as ludo, drawing together, listening to ghazals(a genre of Indian music), sharing WhatsApp jokes that leave a smile on their faces, taking them for a stroll both in the morning and evening, are few of the many things that they do together. She closely monitors their diet and escorts them to the nearby dispensary for regular check-ups.
Kanchan engages Rajiv’s parents in various activities that keep them active both mentally and physically. The couple’s interaction at the nearby park with a small group of friends helps them avoid isolation and gives them immense happiness.
The importance of a social circle
Social inclusion and participation leads to more enduring networks of family, friends and carers, and greater involvement in social life. All these help in combating loneliness, depression and other mental health issues and are associated with improved health.
About the caregiver
Kanchan, a mother of two boys, aged 5 and 3, lives with her parents and brothers. She takes pride in working as a professional caregiver. Her earnings at work help her pay her children’s school fees and enable her to contribute to the household income. She gets an off every Sunday which she spends with her kids. The previous Sunday she took them out for an animated movie; the kids were of course delighted.
An enabling environment
Healthy ageing is about enabling older people to enjoy a good quality of life. Healthy ageing strategies should create the conditions and opportunities for older people to have regular physical activity, a healthy diet, social relations, participation in meaningful activities, etc. This involves holistic approaches that address both mental and physical health. Healthy ageing can therefore not be achieved through a single initiative, but requires a range of actions and approaches that work together to achieve this outcome. Healthy ageing also requires a structural paradigm change, as older people must desire and maintain the ability to play an active role in society, while society must in turn encourage and accommodate this.