Ageing is a normal process of gradual deterioration of physiological function
accompanied by loss of viability and increase in vulnerability. It is common to all living beings such as animals and plants. Ageing becomes mor
e pronounced and our mental faculties become dull as we grow in age, needing urgent psychiatric care and medication.
Age related issues
Man’s physical abilities and the capacity to apply intellectual reasoning is considerably impaired as he grows old. Geriatric psychiatry, also known as psychiatry of old age, entails treating and dealing with this essentially age-related problem.
Increasing elderly population
In India’s context Geriatric psychiatry has assumed paramount importance. As per the latest provisional data of Census of India, the elderly in the age group of over 60 comprise 8.3% of India’s population, second largest in the world. This 60+ group is also the second fastest growing segment of Indian population. The population growth is likely to register 3.5 times increase by 2050, in percentage terms.
Need for action-plan
This calls for a comprehensive action-plan to deal with Geriatric psychiatry, involving diagnosis, treatment and management of dementia and depression among aged persons. It is important to know that psychiatric illness of the elderly is different from the illnesses of adult patients. Doctors and psychiatrists need to be well prepared to deal with this problem to avoid any future complications.
To properly diagnose a geriatric psychiatric illness it is imperative to take a detailed note of the elderly’s history. The history needs to focus on:
Management of Geriatric psychiatry
Psychosocial intervention can make considerable difference to the elderly person’s condition.
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