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Our lifestyle has changed quite a lot in the past decade and digital transformation is in full swing. The youth segment has become the implied target market for the dazzling array of digital devices, apps and tools. However, the huge consumer base comprising elderly users has remained untapped. As per HelpAge India’s annual report, by 2050, the number of India’s senior citizens will be to equal its under-18 population. So the former has immense potential to constitute an entirely new customer base. The segment comprises over 110 million senior citizens with a literacy rate of 44%, and the penetration of mobile phones and internet access in this segment has been growing.

With no smartphones and social media, senior citizens used to rely heavily on human interaction and personal attention. But the explosion of technology in the last 10 years has changed their world. Most businesses today have an infusion of technology in their services thus adding a lot of convenience to the user experience. For the younger generations that have grown up in these times, it is almost natural to accept these changes. Technology, no doubt, makes life easy. But these changes are daunting for seniors who are not acquainted with technology and evince a natural resistance to accept change. If we do not address this gap between seniors and technology today, life for them tomorrow with newer and bigger inventions will get even more daunting.

Technology can enrich senior citizens’ lives in more ways than one. Most importantly, a digitally-savvy senior is in tune with the times. He or she can independently go about their online business and will seldom depend on people for help. It has been observed that seniors who have allowed technology into their daily itinerary live happier and more fulfilled lives than their counterparts who refuse to adapt to the new changes.

Digital empowerment for seniors is truly the need of the hour. Without which our the older generation faces the risks of digital isolation and may well be deprived of a happier life. Imagine a senior whose adult children live in a different city or country. Social media apps like Facebook and WhatsApp help senior citizens to stay connected with their loved ones. As the HelpAge India report shows, more than 90% of elderly internet users utilise social media platforms primarily to connect with family and friends.

For many seniors, moving around the city due to mobility or health problems can be a challenge and that is why mobile apps and websites are a boon to them. Online payment service is another important convenience seniors can avail—from paying their mobile, internet and utilities bills, to their shopping needs that can be fulfilled online. Even banking transactions can be done from the comfort of your home these days. Other useful online services include booking a cab, ordering food, hiring housekeeping help, entertainment on demand, etc. Be it for shopping needs, travel needs or even ordering food to satisfy a craving—there is an app for everything. In fact, there is an app to teach you how to use other apps.

Learning something about a smart wearable that enables self-health monitoring can keep seniors and their loved ones stay healthy. These devices can monitor heart rate, steps taken, blood sugar, blood pressure, etc. Since many seniors live by themselves, smart security and smart devices for their homes can also be very useful. There are AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) applications that can help seniors experience breath-taking views from across the globe sans the travel.

In short, technology can improve the quality of life of senior citizens. But there is a learning curve. Just like when we are presented with something new, we need time to understand it, similarly, seniors require time and patience to learn new things. Just as people teaching them need to be patient. Seniors typically ask for help on the same query more than once. This is natural—to register something new, repetitive learning is required.

Another important outcome of teaching technology to seniors is that it makes them digitally independent. Often, their family or relatives do the task at hand for seniors. This surely helps the seniors but it does not teach them how to do things themselves. It is important that seniors be taught hands-on. Digital know-how leads to digital independence.

There is a need in India for technology training specifically designed for the senior community. They require interactive sessions where they can try out the applications under the guidance of a patient teacher. Only practice will make them comfortable with the digital world.

The focus of the government’s Digital India project has been on the country’s youth. But it also needs to recognise this growing elderly community and introduce training programmes on technology to better equip this group for contemporary life. To see true digital progress in the nation, we need to ensure that senior citizens too are made digitally savvy.

Adapted from ‘Digital empowerment for India’s senior citizens’ which was published in ‘The Sunday Guardian’ on March 23, 2019

Aging or getting old makes our body go through many physical changes. These changes usually cause a decrease in muscle strength, bone density, body coordination, and even make the joints stiffer, which sometimes can lead to falls

and fractures. For elderly citizens, exercising may be the key for bringing back and sustaining the physical function required in daily living. Exercise programs set by a physiotherapist can help in reducing body pain, enhancing the movement of joints,facilitating coordination, and boosting respiratory function.  Elderly people suffering from chronic diseases can also obtain benefits from physiotherapy.

Though physiotherapy cannot stop the process of aging it can help to reduce the impact that it has on our bodies. Physiotherapists are trained professionals who can identify the factors that prevent elderly people from being active and independent. Exercising on regular basis can also help to reduce the risk and impact of illnesses that are more likely to affect older people. In this blog, we will discuss the various conditions suffered by elderly people who require physiotherapy.


Conditions treated by Geriatric Physiotherapists

  • Geriatric conditions are susceptible to various illnesses usually including musculoskeletal, neurological, and cardiopulmonary problems, mental illness, balance problems, and chronic pain. Physiotherapy treatment has been successful in managing each of these ailments.

Pain from chronic conditions:

  • Physiotherapy can help to decrease discomfort due to conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis. Usually, joint pain is caused by inflammation of the joints, injuries, arthritis, gout, etc. It can restrict mobility and lead to weakness or instability to perform normal activities if left untreated for a longer time. The goal of the physiotherapist is to restore the function of the muscles, bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments.

Improve strength and flexibility:

  • Due to aging decreased strength and flexibility is one of the most common issues that almost every individual faces. Further, the condition can be worsened by the presence of other chronic conditions related to neurological issues, endocrine problems, and musculoskeletal issues. As a result of degenerative changes that occur due to old age, there is poor muscle tone and stiff joints, etc. A physiotherapist helps to alleviate pain and helps return to mobility. Some of the common causes of decreased strength are thyroid disease, anemia, and depression, lack of sleep, diabetes, congestive heart failure, and medication side effects. Physiotherapy helps to bring back strength and flexibility, and also improves patients' quality of life.

 Postural Instability and Balance Impairment:

  • Balance impairment in the elderly is due to the loss of normal functioning of muscles and bones. It is most commonly caused due to arthritis and numbness in feet and legs, eye problems, blood circulation problems, and intake of multiple medicines. Physiotherapy treatment includes balance exercises to help improve the function of muscles & bones in individuals having neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, ALS, Parkinson's disease, or suffered a brain injury.

 Risk of injury:

  • Physical therapy helps to maintain stability. The physiotherapist teaches the patient to adapt to visual, mobility, balance, and muscle loss impairments to easily complete the activities of daily living. This awareness helps to reduce the risk of injuries and re-injury. Patients who have had a heart attack, or have other cardiovascular or pulmonary conditions such as pulmonary fibrosis or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease can benefit from physiotherapy by following a treatment regime that helps them to increase endurance and gain functional independence.

Prevention of risk of a fall:

  • Falls are the leading cause of accidents among aged individuals, resulting in bone fractures and other injuries. A physiotherapist can train the individual in techniques to prevent a fall.

 Maintaining an independent lifestyle:

  • Recovery from pain due to an illness or injury allows the individual to lead an active and independent life for a longer period of time. Stretching and strengthening exercises are proven to be effective for older people. Patients with foot drop, spinal injury, and stroke are provided with walking aids to facilitate independent living. The therapist works with the patient to ensure that he/she can remain as independent as possible.

Physiotherapy treatment:

Physiotherapist aims to help and address the areas which require treatment. The therapist uses his/ her information to design a tailor-made program. The program includes strengthening exercises, range of movement (ROM), balance, and walking exercises.

Physiotherapy includes exercises, workouts, and the use of electric modalities such

as Ultrasound, TENS, Shockwave therapy, Laser, etc

  • Muscle-strengthening exercises are done twice a week, one of the best

  • treatments for osteoarthritis and bone health.

  • Moderate intensity activity like brisk walking is recommended.

  • Strengthening exercises for muscles can be done against resistance, by using

  • stretchy bands.

  • Combination of moderate cardio, endurance, and balance exercises.

 Benefits of Physiotherapy in Geriatrics:

  • Physiotherapy is vital for restoring functionality, reducing pain, and thus improving quality of life.

  • Regular exercises result in improved balance, strength, coordination, motor control, flexibility, endurance, and even memory.

  • Helps to maintain cognitive function.

  • Reduces the risk of heart disease.

  • Helps to maintain the ability to carry out activities of daily living.

  • Improves mood and self-esteem.

  • Reduces the risk of falls.

  • Helps to reduce the impact of illnesses that are more likely to affect older

  • people.

  • Treats and prevents joint problems, balance disorders, risk of falls, strength decline and reduces high blood pressure and obesity.

  • Physiotherapy is proved to be beneficial for old people suffering from conditions like stiff joints, unbendable ligaments, and overall body movement. Parkinson's disease, arthritis, and neurological problems.

  • The therapy helps maintain mobility and independence.

  • The therapy is a means of attaining coordination within the body systems.

  • It also improves cardio-respiratory functions.

Physiotherapists can provide advice on how the exercises can be done safely and also strongly recommends exercises for elderly patients as a part of a daily routine. While following the exercise regime elderly people are not limited to uncomfortable living conditions or insufficient physical activities. This unique therapy is a proven methodology for elderly parents to engage in exercises for as long as their health will allow it.


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In the course of last several years we have come across innumerable instances wherein after the demise of one’s parents our clients (i.e. children of the deceased members) are at a loss dealing with paperwork concerning property, bank, locker, filing of income tax (if applicable), closure of pension account and so on and so forth. This becomes particularly challenging if they happen to stay abroad.

On the basis of Porosh’s experience we wish to mention tying-up all the looses ends call for enormous patience. None of the above-mentioned issues will get resolved in a jiffy. Several rounds have to be made to different institutions over multiple days. One may find a few guiding points to be useful:

a) First and foremost, several copies of the Death Certificate (DC) should be kept handy. One may even be asked to show the original copy on case-to-case basis.

b) Multiple sets of Aadhaar and PAN cards of the deceased and self to be kept ready. The documents related to oneself should be self-attested.

c) For the purpose of bank account if one is a joint account holder, then an application (and DC) has to be made to the branch manager seeking one to be made the first account holder. Ditto for locker as well unless advised otherwise.

d) If one is not a nominee with respect to banker account and / or locker, then along with application (& DC) one has to submit photocopy/ scanned copy of any document through which it can be proved that one is son/ daughter of the deceased individual. For example, passport contains the name of mother and hence it can be considered a valid document for further processing.

e) For the purpose of closure of bank account and / or locker one has to follow the same process as mentioned in point (d). Same holds good for closing pension account and credit of accrued amount to one’s own account on submission of a cancelled cheque bearing one’s own name.

f) Concerning property, the first step is to get property tax cleared. Thereafter, prepare a couple of sets of original land and/ or property related documents photocopied. It should be followed by securing the Mutation Certificate through a legal expert. The entire process may take 15 to 30 days.

g) Once the Mutation Certificate is received you become the legal heir of the property and can thus put on rent or sell the property.

h) If there is no Will, or Deed of Gift (registered), then the issue of property may become particularly messy if there are multiple claimants. In that case one has no option other than approaching a legal expert.

i) With respect to LIC policy a copy of the death certificate, Aadhaar and PAN cards of the policyholder and the applicant along with a cancelled cheque of the latter has to be submitted. One must remember that any amount due to be paid after the death of individual shall not paid and even payment of interest on prorate basis (for annuity) shall be withheld. For example, if the policyholder dies three months before the interest on annuity (paid on a yearly basis) is due than even 75% amount of annuity will not be paid.

We hope the points mentioned above have offered a fairly comprehensive perspective to deal with various aspects that one is likely to confront after the demise of either of the parents, or both. However, different institutions may follow their respective SOPs which may not exactly match the procedures mentioned above. It may vary institution-wise.

Needless to add, one can always reach-out to Porosh for any assistance under similar circumstances.