The Elderly in India 3.

14. Common Ailments in the Elderly

The structural and functional changes with advancing years is the ‘ageing process’. The theories for ageing as per Gerontologists are loss of irreplaceable cells, production of unsound cells, limited capacity for division and accumulation of waste products. Due to structural changes most organs tend to become smaller in size but some like prostate may increase in size. In the same individual different organs age at different periods. It depends on how much an organ is insulted. Ageing process sets faster in lungs than the other organs in a chronic smoker. Economically poor and those adopting irregular habits in younger age, age prematurely. Functional changes of most organs on the decline will not affect healthy to a great extent. There is decrease in gastric secretions, sluggish colonic movements, reduction in kidney function and decline in hormone functions.
Certain benign changes which can be effectively tackled are cataract, deafness, abnormal taste, dry skin pigmentation and growing of facial hair in women. The old person is prone to develop multiple diseases due to degeneration (arthritis), Infection (pneumonia), neoplasms (cancer) and miscellaneous conditions (obesity, nutritional deficiency, etc.).

The more common ailments, their prevention and treatment is outlined below:
If the blood pressure goes above 160/95 mg. in a person of 60 years or above it is Hypertension. more common in urban (40%) than in rural (18%) elderly. It may be silent or with symptoms like headache, giddiness, breathing difficulty, swollen legs or chest pain. If untreated, it may lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure or eye problems. Once diagnosed, mild to moderate hypertension can be treated by regular exercise, nonsmoking, less salt intake and meditation. If not drugs control blood pressure. Homeopathy is also effective in controlling Hypertension.

Familial obesity, restricted activity, mental stress and drugs like steroids result in another common disease, Diabetes Mellitus with ultimate complications like loss of vision, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke or tingling and numbness in limbs. The diagnosis is confirmed when fasting blood sugar is above 120 mg and post prandial blood sugar (1-12 hours after meal) is above 160 mg. When diet restriction and exercises fail, then drugs or insulin keep blood sugar under control with minimal interference to quality of life.

Obesity is more harmful to men than women and obese people are prone to arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, raised cholesterol, gallstones, falls and fungal infections, etc. Restricting calories intake to 1000 cal per day and regular exercises are the solutions.

Heart Attack occurs when blood supply to heart is reduced. In 1/3rd of patients, the symptoms are seven excruciating central chest pain spreading to left side of arm or sides of neck associated With profuse sweating and vomiting. In rest of them, it may be indicated by gastric problem, sudden extreme weakness, breathing difficulty or mental tension. ECG, ECHO, treadmill and coronary angiogram confirm the attack and is managed medically and if not, by coronary angioplasty or bypass surgery. Abstinence from smoking, reduction 0f overweight, control of diabetes, BP and high cholesterol and avoiding sedentary habits, stress and strain prevent heart attack. An intake of 150 mg Aspirin after the meal is advisable under medical supervision.

When the blood supply to the brain reduces, one side of the body faits to function and results in paralysis. A block, clot or bleeding from any artery may reduce blood supply due to hypertension, diabetes mellitus, smoking, high cholesterol etc. And on confirmation by brain CT scan, stroke has to be treated by management of risk factors and physiotherapy.

Due to too much of acidity or loss of mucousal resistance in stomach or upper part of small intestine, peptic ulcer is not uncommon in old age with complaints of stomach pain and blood vomiting. It can be diagnosed by endoscopy and treated medically or by surgery.

Want of fibre diet, disease of stomach and intestine, thyroid deficiency, mental depression, certain drugs, lack of exercises and less fluid intake lead to constipation affecting bowel movement. The complications are chest pain, giddiness during straining for stools, anxiety, hernia, varicose veins in legs and obstruction of intestine.

Constipation can be managed by increased fluid intake, exercises, drugs and high fibre diets like Ragi, Wheat, Bran, Greens, Banana Stem, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Bitter gourd, Dates, Mango, Papaya, Pepper, Coriander and Omum.

Obstructive Jaundice, more common than infective type, in old age is due to the obstruction of flow of bile from gall bladder to intestine due to gall stones, cancer of pancreas or drugs. Tests including ultrasonogram should be done without delay and treated early.

Tuberculosis commonly silent without cough, phlegm or blood in the phlegm, in aged is indicated by loss of weight, weakness or low grade temperature and is more common in diabetics and smokers. On diagnosis by chest X-ray and with modern treatment cure is possible within a year.

Lung Cancer should be suspected among chronic smokers when there is change of voice, persistent cough with rapid loss of weight and could be diagnosed by chest X-ray and bronchoscopy. Treatment by chemotherapy or surgery can be contemplated.

Arthritis are .of two types, Degenerative arthritis involving knee, hip back bone and neck bone are more common than Rheumatoid rtritis involving joints of hand and feet. Arthritis is managed by weight reduction, pain relievers, physiotherapy and surgery.

Urinary problems confronted by elders are frequent urination, scanty and burning urination associated with chills and fever due to enlarged prostate (only in males), infection, diabetes and drugs. Appropriate antibiotics are prescribed as treatment.

Secretion of less or excess hormone causes Thyroid Disease. When the thyroid grand situated in front of the neck, secretes less hormone, the symptoms are lethargy, excess weight, dry skin and change of voice. When it seretes excess hormone it results in excess of appetite, weight loss, sweating, tremors of hand and prominent eye ball. On confirmation by hormone assay tests, the patient receives treatment.

Elderly people are more prone to Cancer. Men are prone to develop cancer of the mouth, stomach, lungs, rectum, liver and prostate and women to cancer of erus, breast, stomach, oesophagus and rectum. Warning signals for cancer are 1. Change in bowel or bladder habits 2. Sore throat which does not heal 3. bleeding or discharge 4, Lump in breast and elsewhere 5. Difficulty in swallowing 6. Change in mark or mole 7. Nagging cough 8. Progressive weight loss with anaemia.

Hernia, piles, hydrocele, intestinal obstruction/ perforation, gall stone, enlarged prostate, uterine mass, lump anywhere, fractures, gangrene, bleeding inside the brain are some of the. surgical problems which the elderly face. Age is not a contraindication for surgery but the risk and complications are more in old age.

Gradual decline of libido or sexual impulse is normal with advancing age but rapid decline may be due to diabetes, cancer, urinary problems, liver disorders and mental depression. Sexuality for the aged is a good thing for those who want it.

Depression is the commonest mental illness in the old age. These persons lose interest in life, eat less, lose weight, suffer from sleeplessness and constipation. They are vulnerable for suicidal attempts and need counselling and antidepressants. With the recent advances in medical therapy they can be cured and those who fail to respond require electro convulsive therapy. A mental illness of increasing inability to remember, to learn, to think and to reason known as Dementia may be due to Alzheimer’s disease in which lack of communication between brain cells due to damages or small clots affect blood supply to brain. The reason for this condition is not known and is often irreversible and progressive. The management is mainly supportive and symptomatic and the old person merits consideration, kindness and respect as a human being.

The word ‘Geriatrics’ was derived from the Greek word ‘Gerios’ (old age) and ‘iatros’ (medicine). Geriatrics is considered as a separate speciality because of difference in diagnostic, therapeutic and social problems. Psychological attitude of elders leads to diagnostic error on the part of doctor hindering early detections and prompt treatment. History taking in the elderly patients is beset with communic,ation barriers of mental impairment and deafness. They attribute problems to their age and tend to suffer in silence. Practical skill and experience are needed to obtain adequate histories in geriatric work. As regards therapeutic problems, elderly are more prone for drug side-effects. This is due to reduced lean body mass, diminished kidney function and altered organ sensitivity.

Since the elderly suffer from multiple diseases, multiple drug therapy is common which leads to more side-effects, drug interaction and omission. Elders should take drugs on the advice of doctors as side effects will be more serious than the disease itself. For healthy ageing, periodic health check-up, at least once a year, is essential. Many old age diseases are either preventable or treatable. Health check-up detects silent diseases, makes early diagnosis and prevents complications, Proper nutrition is vital for promotion of health and prevention of illness.
Quality of diet is more important than the quantity. The general guidelines are more fluid intake, inclusion of dietary fibre and at least one fruit and two glasses of milk. Aged are advised to have a heavy breakfast, moderate lunch and light dinner. Physical exercise is good for all ages, more so in old age. Regular exercise improves blood circulation in all organs to maintain normal function. It reduces obesity, cholesterol, BP, blood sugar, prevents constipation and promotes sound sleep. Consult your physician before choosing an exercise according to individual physical capacity. Brisk walking 3 to 5 Kms or 40-60 minutes in the morning on empty stomach and if possible in the evening too is advisable. Regular exercise and proper calcium intake in diet prevent loss of bone (osteoporosis) and other minerals from the spine which could lead to low back pain or fracture. Mild exercises performed daily to give full range of movement to all joints keep away arthritis. Periodic eye check to detect cataract or glaucoma, ENT check up to remove wax and defective hearing and dental check up as tooth decay affects general health are mandatory.

Mental health is as important as physical health in old age.Due to progressive loss of neurons the brain of a 70 year old person weighs only 56% when compared to its original weight. This results in mental depression, memory loss and anxiety. Brain atrophies and disuse and sensitivity is six times greater in those who have withdrawn from people and life. Loneliness leads to depression which may lead to death. For this right from middle age itself, one should plan for a hobby to keep onself occupied during old age. Hobbies like gardening, indoor games, meditation, bhajans, religious discourses, reading, interacting with others, etc. help the aged persons maintain a sound mental health and enable to age gracefully.

15. Exercises for the Elderly

Exercise is enjoyable, easily incorporated into your lifestyle, cost-free, and guaranteed to positively affect your health and longevity. If you did nothing else different, but incorporated some type of regular exercise into your schequle, you would ensure a life unencumbered by reduced energy and illness. Logic dictates that if exercise is beneficial and rejuvenates the body, then inactivity should accelerate the ageing process. Inactivity has been demonstrated to take a considerable toll on heart function, bones, the blood nerves, body composition, brain waves and the immune system in several studies. Given below are some simple exercises and regimens you could follow.

The following are some recommended strengthening and flexibility exercises. Do only those you feet comfortable doing. As your body adjusts to the new activities, you can gradually add more repetitions and other exercises. Start slowly with two-three repetitions of each exercise you choose.
Strengthening Exercises:
1. Finger squeeze: Strengthens hands; good for circulation. Straighten arms in front at shoulder level, palm down. Make a fist, then release. Turn palms up, make a fist and release.
2. Shoulder shrug:
Strengthens your back and shoulders, help relaxation. Lift shoulders up towards your ears, then back, down and relax.
3. Arm circles: Strengthens shoulders and upper back. Start with arms straight out to the side at shoulder level. Rotate arms from shoulders forward and then backward.
4. Shoulder touch: Increases flexibility of shoulders, elbows and helps tone upper arms. Start with arms straight out to the side at shoulder level. Bend elbow and bring palm of hands to shoulders. Turn palm away and push arm down to start position.
5. Leg flexion – extension: Strengthens hip muscle. Stand erect, holding on to a chair or table for support Lift one leg forward, then back from the hip. Be careful not to lean forward and back.
6. Side leg lift: Strengthens hip and thigh muscles. Stand erect holding on to a chair or table for support. Raise one leg to the side and down. Try not to lean or bring your leg forward. You can try this lying on your side, too. 7. Alternate leg lunges: Strengthens upper thighs and inside of legs. Also stretches back of leg. Start with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold on to something for support if you like. Step forward about 18″ to 24″ with right leg. Keep left heel on the floor. Shove off with the right leg and return to start position.
8. Calf raises : Strengthens lower leg and ankle. Start with feet shoulderwidth apart. Hold onto something for support if you like. Raise up on your toes, lifting heels. Slowly lower yourself back down to your heels.
9. Leg extension: Strengthens upper thigh muscles and tones lower abdomen Sitting in chair, back straight, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor tighten knee and raise foot up. Alternate with each leg.
10. Squat: Strengthens front thigh muscles. Start with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold on to the back of a chair for support. Keep back straight and slowly bend knees as if you are going to sit. Slowly return to start position. Do not go down too far This will improve as you get stronger.
11. Toe raises: Strengthens ankles. Standing or sitting with feet shoulderwidth apart, raise your toes up off the floor as if tapping to music.
12. Ankle circles: Strengthens ankles. Standing or sitting, make circles with each ankle, to the right and then the left.
13. Abdominal strengthening: Strengthens stomach muscles providing support for your back. Stand or sit straight. Take a deep breath in through your nose, then slowly exhale through your mouth as if blowing out a candle. Feel your stomach go in as you blowout. Hold stomach tight after blowing out, then relax and repeat.
14. Sit-up: Advanced abdominal strengthening. Lay on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Reach with your arms toward your knees, raising your head and shoulders off the floor You should readily feel your stomach muscles tighten. Slowly return head and shoulders to the floor Work up to doing five-ten repetitions.
Flexibility Exercises:
1. Neck circles: Maintains joint motion. Standing, or sitting in a chair, slowly move chin over to one shoulder and then to the other as if nodding “no”. Slowly lift your chin up slightly and back down toward your chest as if nodding “yes”. Repeat several times.
2. Flexed leg back stretch: Maintains flexibility in torso, low back, and legs. Stand with knees slightly bent and feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly and gently slide hands down front of legs, bringing finger tips toward the floor. You should feel a stretch in the back of your legs. Hold for the count of five when you start to feel the stretch. Stay within your comfort range – no more than five repetitions.
3. Side bends: Maintains trunk flexibility.Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Slide right hand down right leg towards knee. Repeat to left side. Hold for five seconds; five repetitions to each side.
4. Trunk rotation : Maintains trunk flexibility. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Turn from your waist to the right, then left.
5. Back arch Stretches abdominal wall, chest, maintains flexibility. Do not do this exercise if you have a history of back problems. On stomach: Place hands by shoulders, slowly push up on arms and arch back. Keep hips down. Try to straighten elbows completely if back is comfortable. Return to stomach; three-four repetitions.
6. Overhead reach: Stretches shoulder girdle and rib cage. Take a deep breath in as you raise your arms overhead. Exhale slowly as you lower your arms behind your head or to your shoulders, then return to your sides.
7. Achilles stretch: Stretches the calf muscle. Stand facing a wall. with feet two-three feet away. Straighten arms, leaning into the wall. Move left leg forward 1/2 step, right leg backward 1/2 step or more. Keep right heel on floor Lean toward the wall with weight on forward Leg. Stretching the heel tendon of the right leg. Hold five-ten seconds; reverse legs; three-five repetitions.
8. Shin and quadriceps stretch: Kneel on both knees. turn to right and press down on right with right hand and hold.Keep hips thrust forward. Do not sit on heels. Repeat on left side.
9. Hip and thigh stretch: Kneel with right knee directly. Above right ankle and stretch left leg backward so knee touches floor. Place hands on floor or seat of chair for balance.

After the age of 65 or so, the age of participation in active games should be considered over. The only suitable form of exercise at this age is walking which should be continued till the end. Walking provides many benefits of more strenuous activities, without much exertion. For this activity you can progress at your own pace, no equipment is required and you can walk alone or with friends.
The benefits of walking are: ·
.It promotes more restful sleep
.A reduction of tension and stress
Weight reduction. You burn up 320 calories per hour by walking 3 miles per hour For every 11 hours of walking you will loose one pound (3500 calories equals one pound)
·Walking improves circulation and is a good cardiovascular exercise. .Improves the ability to take in oxygen.
Tips for Walking:
· Walk with your head erect and your stomach in.
· Walk on your whole foot.
· Avoid walking when it is very hot or cold.
· Let your arms swing freely.
· Begin with a 15 to 20 minute walk and walk at a slower pace for the first several Minutes as a warm up.
Use comfortable shoes or footwear.

16.Yoga for the Elderly

“Yoga is skill in Action” states Bhagavadgeeta. This is to say, in addition to the skill to improve one’s body, Yoga also comprises techniques that act on one’s mind and emotions providing a “Complete philosophy of Living”. In simple words, practising Yogasana and Pranayama is to achieve good health, keep fit, mentally and physically to be able to cope with various turbulences of life and take up the challenge to go beyond them with renewed vigour.
Yoga is meant for almost anybody between the age of 8 to 80 years. Many examples of persons who have started Yoga as late as 69 years have achieved all benefits. Hence Senior Citizens are advised to practise Yoga. Padmasri Yogacharya B. K. S. Iyengar in more than 65 years of dedicated service has helped thousands of patients through Yoga therapy as a non-conventional medicine.
SVYAS has done a lot of scientific research at their unique centre “Prashanti Kutir” at Jigni, 20 kms from Bangalore under the guidance of medical specialists in allopathy and other systems of medicine and has evolved a capsule consisting of prayer, yogasanas, pranayamas, meditations to reach the needs of common man and accordingly have opened more than 50 Yoga training centres in Bangalore. Yoga has to be practised – whether Asanas, Pranayan1as, Meditations, etc. – under the guidance of a qualified Guru..
17. Entertainment, hobbies, computers & travel

Learn to find the things in life that keep you entertained, happy and make your life interesting and enjoyable. It could be your passion for a game of cards with friends, listening to your favourite music, your interest in pets or cooking up lip-smacking dishes.

Here are a few hints: · Its never too late to take interest in a hobby. The only requisite is that you should find it interesting. · Go to a bookstore and browse the books on all subjects that you think might interest you. This is a good way to pick up a hobby. · Search for like-minded people, clubs and activities. The Internet is a great place to do this. · If you have a lot of knowledge in your favourite hobby, approach schools and colleges to encourage youngsters to start a club. Offer your services to educate them on this.
· Set aside some time to pursue your interests. This will make you look forward in anticipation and keep your spirits alive. · Social service can bring a lot of. satisfaction and sense of achievement. See if there is a club near you where you can offer to do some service. Better still, start a club. You might not get a good response initially, but never give up.

Books are great companions. They provide food for thought, entertainment, humour, education and much more to anyone who befriends them, Seniors, especially those who were voracious readers in their younger days, find that books are their best companions, in spite of the varying entertainment provided by television and the media.
It is common practice in India for the elderly to go on a pilgrimage, or visit their children who live far away. This is a nice way to spend one’s time. The elders not only get spiritual satisfaction but also a lot of happiness when they are able to bond with their grandchildren.
The very attitude of neglecting to learn something because one is old is wrong and this is more important where computers are concerned.
Computers can be used by elders for. · Sending and receiving e-mail · Communicating with their children and grand children · Making new friends and interacting with like-minded people. · Reaching their business contacts. · Using the Internet for information or entertainment. · Storing all information relating to investments, insurance, etc. · Day to day accounts • Copies of important documents Computers are user friendly and elders can easily learn to use year old knows to use the
e-mail and the Internet. One can take help of someone who is familiar with tile use of computers or join a computer class offering the basics. It will just take a few hours of practice to familiarise oneself.

18. The Second Career

Unlike in the US, Europe and other developed countries, where the social security system and health services take care of the retired elderly, the resources in India both from the government and the private sector is very limited to provide the elderly many basic benefits like health care, food, housing and insurance. Many children of this generation are sadly neglecting the need of their parents. In fact the joint family system has broken down leading the youngsters to stay away from their parents most often letting the elders to fend for themselves. Many of the retired Indians have invariably borrowed heavily on their retirement funds to conduct their daughter’s marriage or for some such expenses, which they are not able to pay back.
For all these reasons it is up to the elderly to find a definite source of income for themselves. And what better to do it than find a comfortable job ?
But a second career is not for economic reasons alone. It keeps the elderly physically and mentally occupied, and in turn helps them to lead an active life. It also increases their self-confidence and self-esteem. So even those who are financially comfortable can decide to take up career and enjoy the benefit of healthy living.
While a “quiet life” may seem an excellent idea for people who have worked all their lives, most of the elders cannot remain idle and sit back after a while. Moreover, the invaluable benefit of being in good health by keeping the body and mind busy, cannpt be over emphasised.
So, to work or not is an individual decision that will have to be taken depending on one’s own desire and circumstances. The work need not be necessarily a paid job. It could even be voluntary service or work rendered by a neighbourhood association. One could teach music or hold cookery classes. There is no doubt that a person who is active remains sound in body and mind.
Unfortunately, the jobs open to most elders are limited. It is for the society to recognise this and make available more jobs for the elderly. The Central and State governments should took at this growing elderly population and make available those kind of jobs that ‘Senior Citizens can handle comfortably.
One should learn to adjust with society and accept some limitations. The job available may not be exactly of the same status as when one was younger. But it is the dignity of work that matters.
You can browse through the classified advertisements and appointment ads in the local dailies for a suitable opening or insert an inexpensive ad in the classified columns of the local dailies offering your services (Free Ads and AD Mag will publish your ad without any charge).

19. Money Matters

Most often, after their retirement the elders in India have no income at all. In the villages the conditions are worst. About 37.5 percent of the total Indian population is in the work force in one way or the other. Out of this only about 11 % is covered under institutionalised Provident fund/pension schemes (35 million), the remaining 89% remains uncovered without any social security provision . Even those persons who are getting pension will have to be careful since it is doubtful whether the government can pay pension for long. At present, the government spends Rs. 29,000 crores on pension. This expenditure is going to rise and soon match with half the salaries bill of the employed population. This spells danger to the financial structure of the nation. The government is considering this very deeply. It will not be surprising if the pensioners have to face ‘golden handshake’ schemes in the near future. Many other schemes are also being considered. There will be some schemes in which the employees will have to contribute a part of their salaries for the pension.
Earlier the interest rate on deposits had risen up to 16%. Now, the rates have fallen down up to 8% and will be brought down further to 5 to 6%.
It is for these reasons that the senior citizens have to form a policy for the management of their finances, taking into consideration that they are going to face heavy reduction in their income. For this, they will have to have a very clear idea of their financial· expectations and responsibilities.
· Regular income suitable for economic stratum.
· Provision for unexpected and accidental occasions.
· Should be able to take care of financially dependent persons.
· Provision for daughter’s wedding.
· One must pay proper income tax.
· One must take full care when investing money. Economic safety should be the prime consideration
· One must make financial provision for the spouse and other dependents so that they will be looked after even after one’s death. For this purpose, the spouse must have full knowledge of the financial matters.
Some elderly persons can stay with their children after their retirement. Thus the burden of their expenditure is lightened to some extent. But this arrangement is becoming increasingly inconvenient because of nuclear family system coming into practice. In short, it is essential that one must be self-reliant.
The following basic financial needs to be taken care of as one gets older.
House rent, house tax, repairs of the house, gas, electricity, servant’s salary, vehicle insurance, medical expenses, religious expenses (Deepavali, Xmas, Ramzan, etc.)
Food, clothes, traveling, small repairs, contributions, post, telephone, etc.
The amount spent on these necessities is based on one’s financial status and lifestyle. One gross way of determining the financial status of a family is to delete one-third amount from the joint annual income of a couple and observe the style in which the couple lives in the two-third of the income. This decides the financial status of the couple. If the saving habit has been neglected in the period of employment, it will have to be followed in the retirement period and one-third of the annual income will have to be saved. In the present times of loan culture, wrong decisions are taken under the irjJluence of attractive advertisements. Essential safety measures like living with one’s means, monthly savings, etc. are not undertaken arid people find them selves facing economic disaster. A survey has found that most of the senior citizens become a financial liability to the succeeding generation, within a couple of years after their retirement. There might be some other reasons also for this. Some of the common problems faced by the senior citizens are mentioned below and they should get the correct information to avoid them: ·
Ups and downs in the existing share market take place so fast that it is becoming difficult for the senior citizens to follow them and indulge in the market. Sometimes the dealings in the share market can prove to be dangerous for the common senior citizen. The same holds true with equity schemes of mutual funds. Only constant transactions can bring benefits in these two areas but age prevents the senior citizens from doing so.
Some finance companies, industries pay more interests. But chances are that these might be risky and illegal too. Common man who cannot probe deeply into these schemes, falls a prey for them and loses even the invested amount. Some private and cooperative banks al~o offer higher interest rates, but it is essential to be cautious there also .

Some senior citizens hand over their earnings and movable and immovable properties to their sons in their lifetime, and become financially dependent on them. In these circumstances, the death of the husband can raise many problems for the wife and she can be made to lead a humiliated life.
· Ignorance of Income tax rules prevents many persons from taking proper decisions.
· They cannot increase their earnings. Some have to pay fine on income tax unnecessarly. Some avoid paying income tax altogether, which is not only improper but illegal too.
· The failure to make a Will can cause tremendous loss for the person and his spouse and humiliation follows.
· Women generally avoid learning and looking after financial management. So they face numerous problems and humiliation after the death of their husbands.
The decisions about investment vary according to the individuals. The decisions are taken in accordance with the condition, needs and wishes of every individual. But one thing is common – none of them is prepared to take risk and yet many investors are cheated. They lose their entire money as they do not anticipate this failure.
Before making any investment two vital points need to be considered, one is how much risk of losing money is involved and the other is how much return can be expected from it. Increasing age makes us less prepared to face risk and lose money and we turn to safe/reliable investments. But risk and returns go hand in hand. It is better to reject attractive offers of large returns on
One should try and avoid eating into the capital but try to increase it if possible. The following guidelines will be useful
· Take all the decisions only after full consideration. Study the information available about each investment very carefully.
· Keep a diary about the maturity dates and renewals of deposits/investments.
Keep a check on interest received.
· Consult an expert whenever necessary.
· Keep all certificates, notices, etc. In a safe place well outside the reach of anybody.
· Keep the originals of all important papers in bank lockers.
· Avoid flock mentality – Do not invest in schemes without proper consideration, just because many people, friends, relatives are doing the same.
· Do not take any decisions because the commission, brokerage or reward is attractive.
.Do not be dazzled by the name of a big company or an individual and believe blindly that the schemes they have launched must be good and invest in it .
· Do not be carried away by a flood of emotions. Be courageous and say No.
These are some suggestions for managing your income and living within your means:
1. THRIFT: Maintain a diary to record your daily expenses under various items, take yearly stock and decide on avoidable spending. You could cut down on items like giving presents, entertainment and eating out expenditures
2. GOOD HEALTH: Regular exercises and proper diet help to preserve good health and reduce the chances of falling ill. Thus medical expenses can be saved. Regular medical check-ups with doctor’s advice and proper care can go a long way in saving medical expenses.
3. MIGRATION: Instead of living in costly cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, one can migrate to smaller towns. One can even think of selling the flat or house and buy a smaller and cheaper house in small town and use tlle savings in investments towards a regular income.
4. COMMUNITY LIVING: In this scheme, two or three lonely couples or persons could come together. and stay under one roof and maintain themselves by pooling together a part of their income, This will help reduce the expenses of everybody. And everyone will get good support from each other in the times of difficulty.
5. COMMUNITY BUYING: If three or more senior couples form a group and purchase fresh vegetables, fruits, daily necessities from wholesale market, they can save a lot of expenses. The couples can take turns in doing the marketing and make it a weekly or fortnightly affair.
6. MEDICARE: LICs Scheme like “Nav Prabhat” and “Senior Citizens’ Unit Plan (SCUP)” from UTI offer risk and medical care for senior citizens. Such schemes can protect seniorc citizens from expenses for prolonged illnesses, accidents, thefts, etc.

Classification of safety in investment is given below:
Signs indicating evaluation of credibility Utmost safety FAAA or MAAA High safety FAA or MAA Sufficient safety FA or MA Fair safety . FB or MB High risk FC or MC Company endangered FD or MD

20. Making Your Will

As one becomes older there is need to facilitate the easy disbursement of one’s possessions and properties to one’s loved ones and dependents, so that there will be no legal battles among them. For this reason it is advisable that everyone with some property or wealth should prepare a “WILL’
A “Will” can be defined as “A legal statement written by an individual, stating the manner in which his or her wealth may be distributed after his or her demise” A , person making a Will is known as a “Testator”.

It is best that one consults an advocate before preparing a Will. It would be better if the advocate is a person in whom you have the’ utmost confidence.

Here are some guidelines to prepare a WILL:
· It is better to make a Will at a younger age. As and when events or changes in the family or circumstance necessitate changes, the Will can be altered. One of the advantages of making a Will at an earlier age is that unscrupulous relatives could contest the legality of the Will made by a very old person on the basis that the person was not of sound mind when the Will was made.
· A Will must always be dated. If more than one will is made then the 0ne having the latest date will nullify all other wills.
· A Will should be Simple, Precise and Clear Otherwise there may,be problems for the legal heirs. Sometimes relatives and others may try to distort the interpretation of the Will for their own benefit.
· A Will can be hand-written or typed out. No stamp paper is necessary.
· There should be an “Executor of the Will” who would be entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that the assets are distributed according to the provisions of the Will. The Testator (person making the Will) should take prior consent of the person whom he or she wishes to name as the Executor.
· A Will should be signed by the Testator in the presence of at least two witnesses who have to attest the same. The full names and addresses of the witnesses should be clearly indicated in the Will. It would be better if one of the witnesses is a medical practitioner, but this is not essential. The practitioner should certify that the Testator is of sound mind (especially if the Testator is of an advanced age) and he or she should also note his or her registration number and degree (educational qualification). A witness should not be a beneficiary of the Will. A witness should also not be an Executor of the Will.
· Each page of the Will should be serially numbered and signed by the Testator and the Witnesses. This is to prevent substitution, replacement or insertion of page by persons with fraudulent intentions. At the end of the Will the Testator can indicate the total number of pages in the Will. Corrections if any should be countersigned.
· The Will may be kept in a safe place like a bank vault. The Executor. and the beneficiaries should be informed where the Will is kept. It is advisable to keep a signed copy of the Will with a trusted advocate. · .Sometimes the value of certain items of the assets (example: value of share certificates) may fluctuate. In such situation, it is better to mention percentage of such item/s which should go to each beneficiary. · .Whenever changes in the f~mily circumstances or other reasons necessitate any changes in the Will in the intervening period (from the time of making the Will to the time of demise of the testator), the structure of the will can be amended. Even if there are changes in the nature of the property or assets, an Amendment may be needed.
· For making changes only in certain clauses of the Will, a Codicil (supplement’) is to be prepared which should be read in conjunction with the Will and which has the power to make appropriate changes in the relevant clauses of the Will.
· If there are too many changes in the Will, it is better to prepare an entirely new Will. · It is not compulsory for one to register a Will with the registering authority, but in case any property or asset is given to any charitable Organisation, then registration should be done.
· A person’s Will becomes operative only after his or her demise. There is no restriction in the way a person can deal with his or her property even after writing a Will.

1. Dr. Indira Jai Prakash, Bangalore University. a. Aging – The Indian Experience. b. Psychological Gerontology.
2. Dr. G. D. Thapar, M.D. – Life After Fifty.
3. Dr. V S. Natarajan – a. Healthy Ageing b. Ageing India: Problems and solution.
4. S. Vijaya Kumar – Social Security for the Elderly in India.
6. Sreevals and P S. Nair – Elderly and Old Age Homes in Kerala.
7. S. Narayanrao, B.E. – Yoga for Senior Citizens.
8. Senior Citizens Forum, Pune – 7th Seminar Report.
9. Book of Life.


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