Good health and nutrition are important for everyone, irrespective of their age. However, the criticality of nutrition becomes more pronounced as one grows older. Ageing is known to bring about changes in the body such as loss of muscle mass, weak bones and reduced digestive capabilities. In a lot of cases, with advancing age, people experience loss of appetite and taste. The reduction in physical activities also reduces the daily calorie requirements of the body. It is therefore important to ensure that high-calorie foods are reduced. The focus must be on ensuring the intake of diets rich in nutrients instead.

Unhealthy food habits among the elderly can lead to obesity and increase in weight, making them vulnerable to various chronic lifestyle and age-related diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, increased cholesterol levels and osteoporosis. In many cases, they develop sensitivity to certain foods like onions, spices and dairy products.

Various studies have revealed that over half of India’s senior-citizens (60+ years old) are victims of malnutrition and 9 out of 10 receive less than the recommended nutritional intake. The following are a few key dietary essentials for the elderly:

Calcium and vitamins

The elderly need an enhanced intake of calcium and vitamin D to maintain their bone health. Foods rich in calcium such as cereals, fruit juices, green vegetables, milk and fish, etc. are ideal sources for these two nutrients. Vegetarians should take supplements that contain Vitamin D. It is very difficult for them to receive the desired quantity of Vitamin B12. This deficiency can be met by consuming lean meat, fortified cereal, fish and seafood. However, it is a must to consult a dietary expert or a registered medical practitioner before taking supplements.

Potassium and fibre

The intake of potassium along with a reduction in consumption of sodium chloride (common salt) can be effective in bringing down blood pressure. Similarly, fibrous foods help in the prevention of Type 2 diabetes and heart diseases. Fruits, vegetables and beans are known sources of potassium and fibre needs can be met by consuming whole-grain bread, cereals, beans and peas, etc., along with fruits and vegetables.

Consumption of a healthy and balanced diet will also help tackle indigestion, diabetes, dehydration, constipation and various other such ailments among the elderly. They must also eat less salty, spicy and fried food and ensure that they drink an adequate amount of water.

Apart from their diet, some other tips that the elderly must follow to stay healthy include regular exercise; avoiding alcohol, tobacco or smoking; undertaking regular health check-ups and monitoring of sugar and blood-pressure; consumption of prescribed medicines; keeping stress at bay by doing yoga and meditation.

In conclusion

The population of the elderly is rising rapidly in India. According to the World Health Organization, the rise in the elderly population will create challenges for the healthcare sector in India. As per its records, India had about 7.7% elderly people in 2001, and the number is now estimated to be over 10% of the total population. The need of the hour is to understand their changing dietary needs with age and create awareness on maintaining adequate nutrition and fitness levels. As the Hon'ble Prime Minister recently mentioned, a stronger and healthier India is the key to global success, and our senior citizens need to become role models. This can only happen when their overall needs are met and they stay healthy.

This article has been authored by Dr. Vishal Sehgal, Medical Director, Portea Medical

In the previous article we had mentioned about Porosh’s responsiveness to customer expectations and also addressing those on merit basis. We had also alluded to certain plans which are afoot. So, let’s elaborate it a little bit more.

By the grace of God and dint of hardwork, Porosh is gradually becoming a familiar and trustworthy name in the domain of service providers at home (medical & non-medical) for the senior citizens especially in Kolkata. However, word of mouth communication is such a vehicle which although takes time to gain traction yet when it does, it transcends geographical boundaries. Porosh is no exception.

For quite some time we have been receiving steady stream of requests to begin our operations in cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Bhubaneshwar, Ranchi etc. Even six months back such requests used to simultaneously excite us and also make us feel jittery. We felt happy that our sincere efforts are getting recognised and at the same time wondered, do we have the wherewithal to scale-up?

However, the good news is that we have finally decided to venture beyond the frontier of Bengal. Intense work is going-on primarily involving putting-up necessary infrastructure at place, networking with the business partners and the most important aspect, on-the-job training of Care Experience executives in Kolkata. Once the newly formed team is sufficiently trained and adequately soaked in the work philosophy of Porosh that we shall hit the ground. When the operations commence, we shall convey you the same. Till then, hold your breath!

Porosh commenced its journey to serve the senior citizens with medical and non-medical support at home more than three years ago. One of the principles that Porosh has been particular since then has been responsive to customer needs either by way of addressing felt (like Medical Value Travel), or expressed (like Post Operative Care) needs beyond what packages have to offer. Obviously, new services bring an element of surprise not only for the members but also to their children. A very common reaction is like, “Oh, you launched this service! I was actually wondering if Porosh could render Post Operative Care.” In no uncertain terms it indicates that we are on the right track.

For some one closely observing Porosh’s evolution for the last few years, one shall notice that at regular intervals new packages, or standalone services are offered. It indicates fecund mind of Team Porosh which quickly pick up cues from the evolving mindscape of the elderly and their children as well. Not only this.

Take another example. One may have also observed that design and layout of the website has also undergone a sea-change from the initial days. For this, we are grateful to the children of our members who have now become more of a family and in that capacity share their ideas to make the website more user-friendly and attractive.

Thus, we are constantly evolving ourselves with changing needs & aspirations of our members which has resulted in Porosh gaining recognition as a dependable organization to reach–out for filling-up the void in the lives of senior citizens in the absence of children being around.

Having shared this, let us also add that Porosh is now planning something different for which one has to wait till the next blog.