Book review: The Complete Eldercare Planner

BookReview1_CompleteEldercarePlannerThis is a guide to manage the care of your aging family.  Though it is written in the context of the western world, much of what is written is equally applicable to the millions of family caregivers across India.

Excerpt from the first page:

The caregiving journey will take you to places unimaginable, and in the process you will learn more about yourself than ever belfore.  Each day has the potential to bring to the surface life-altering issues and events that offer you the opportunity to develop skills and talents you never knew you had – resourcefulness, stamina, flexibility, and faith, to name a few. You won’t come away from the caregiving experience the same as when you started, nor will you look at life, and death, in the way you did before.

The review on Amazon says:

As our population shifts and ages, the care needs for our elders continue to change and evolve. Today’s generation of family and professional caregivers faces new decisions and challenges, as well as previously unavailable options. This thoroughly revised and updated 2009 edition of The Complete Eldercare Plannerequips you with reliable, up-to-the-minute information to help you plan and manage caring for your loved ones.

Comprehensive and detailed, sensitive and realistic, practical and accessible, the 2009 edition provides even more tips on prioritizing and organizing caregiving tasks, balancing work and family responsibilities, and navigating the complex maze of eldercare services. In addition to an expanded index of Internet resources and access to downloadable forms of key documents, you’ll find indispensable checklists, worksheets, step-by-step action plans, lists of questions to ask, low-cost and free alternative resources, and The Document Locator™. This new edition covers:

•Getting started on creating a long-term care plan
•Finding help, especially if you live far away
•Managing the financial aspects
•Talking to elders about sensitive subjects
•Senior housing–move or stay put?
•Managing medications
•And many other topics of vital interest to anyone caring for an elder

To buy this book go here.

A more poignant meaning of customer attrition

facing-death1In our business, most of our customers are elderly people. We meet them quite regularly, either when they come to our store or when we visit them when making a delivery. Invariably, they sit down and talk to us for a while, share some of their life’s highlights, the problems they are currently facing, the progress of the grand-children that they are so proud of and a hundred other topics.

Quite understandably, we get quite attached to most of our customers and this makes it all the more difficult when we lose one of them (not to a competitor,that would not be so bad) by way of their passing away.

This is just a short note to all those who have passed on, to let you know that we are happy to have known you, glad that you had such a loving and caring family around you during your last days and hope that you are in a much better place now.

A note to the care givers: Rejoice in the fact that you were there at their time of need, and helped make their last days as trouble-free as possible.

From our side, we will take heart in having contributed in making their life and that of yours just a little bit more comfortable.

Senior Heroes – Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan

Ustad_Abdul_RashidThe grand old man from the Gwalior Gharana, Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan is 105 years old and still composing, writing poetry and performing on the big stage.  Born in August 1908,  in Salon qasba, about 24 kms from Rae Bareli district, he started training under his dad Chhote Yusuf Khan from the age of 8.  According to Chhote Yusuf Khan, they are direct descendents of the legendary Tansen from Akbar’s court.

Today the doyen has over 2500 compositions to his credit.  He is also a prolific writer and poet using “Rasan Piya” as his pseudonym.

When asked about the secret of his longevity and his amazing energy levels, he says “I frankly don’t know how this miracle works. Only God knows where I find this energy”.

The oldest living classical artiste – and the oldest Padma Awardee, this wizard vocalist continues to enthrall lakhs of his followers in India and around the world!

Women’s Day gesture by Adyarite

Mrs. Lalitha Seetharam  a Senior Citizen of Besant Nagar Adyar  donated a new fully adjustable commode chair to Vishranthi an old age home in Pallavakam.  Old is Gold Store – a Store for Senior Citizens also from Adyar the supplier of the equipment facilitated  the process.

Seen in the picture is Ms. Ganapathi Stores in charge  of Vishranthi home for the aged destitute women Pallavakam recieving the Senior toilet aid from Jayashree of  “Old is Gold Store” giving it on behalf of Mrs. Lalitha Seetharam. 
Vishranthi Home for Aged Destitute Women is taking care of over 185 Senior Citizens. You can contact Ms. Savithri Vaithy founder & Chairperson of Vishranthi on phone 24490972.

Family care givers support group

RamaCareOver tens of millions of urban families in India have elders, who need special care and support, living at home.  Most of this care and support is provided by close family members – the spouse, children, close relatives and neighbours.  Only a few realize that taking care of elders/loved ones, who are no longer capable of taking care of themselves,  without any formal training can be very stressful and strenuous.  Watching loved ones suffer and struggle through the simplest of task and not being able to help in the best way possible results in many of the care givers ending up with depression.  As there are no support groups or NGOs looking after the needs of the family care giver community, these people, doing one of the most difficult jobs, are pretty much left to fend for themselves.

Ms. Rama Murali, a care giver herself, has taken it upon herself to start a self-help group for care givers and has come up with an entity called Care cubed along with a group within IIT-Madras.  She wants to see how technology can help care givers support each other.  The first planned meeting of care givers is slated for April 6th 2013 at Hotel Savera, Chennai.

If you are a family care giver and wish to participate in the session, please write to


Senior Mobile Phone from Fujitsu – The Stylistic S01

orange-stylistic-s01Fujitsu, the Japanese electronic major has recently launched a new mobile smart phone that has been designed and built ground up to be senior friendly.  While there are other players already in the senior phone market such as our own iball, Dora and Emporia in Europe, apart from many Chinese versions, but what Fujitsu has done is craft something that feels solid and well thought out.

The handset has a rubberised coating to add grip and more curves than the sleek, slick high end smartphones du jour so it rests nicely on the palm and feels less inclined to take a tumble than the average slab phone. On the front, there’s a clearly labelled home button below the 4 inch touchscreen. The button is slightly convex making it stand out so it’s easy to press. The buttons on the side of the device — power and volume up & down keys on one side, plus a dedicated camera key on the other — are also labelled (albeit with icons). These keys are raised slightly but don’t feel like they stick out enough to press accidentally.

Fujitsu has made the Stylistic S-01′s capacitive touchscreen deliberately less sensitive to cut back on erroneous key presses for a target group of users which isn’t likely to be as dexterous as the average mobile owner. The screen didn’t feel awkwardly unresponsive during my hands on but on-screen buttons did sometimes need a more deliberate press — which seems like a reassuring feature for the intended user-base.

Some of its features include

  • 130 × 64 × 10.9 mm
  • 4-inch WVGA (800×480) touchscreen with unique tactile feedback technology
  • Camera: back: 8.1 MP; front: 0.3 MP
  • Connectivity: GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSPA, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, GPS
  • Memory: 4 GB + microSD
  • OS version: Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0
  • Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8255 1.4 GHz
  • Battery: 1800 mAh
  • Water- and dust-resistant (IPX5/8, IP5X)

To read more about it go here.

Let us hope this model comes to India soon.

Silver and its anti-bacterial properties.

how-silver-ions-workYou would be surprised to know that silver and silver compounds have a toxic effect on various bacteria, viruses, algae and fungi. While heavy metals such as mercury and lead have similar properties, the advantage with silver is that it is not toxic to human beings unlike lead and mercury. Below are some of the ways in which the medical industry has been using silver and silver compounds:

Several topical creams and gels have silver in them and help in speeding up the healing process for burns and cuts.

Hospitals are impregnating their upholstry, bed linen and even carpets in an effort to increase the sterility of their premises.

Silver is commonly used in catherers as they are very effective in reducing bacteria, especially for adults having short-term catheterizations in hospitals.

Because Silver inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi on clothing, it is being used in clothing such as socks to reduce odors and the risk of bacterial and fungal infections. It is incorporated into clothing or shoes either by integrating silver nanoparticles into the polymer from which yarns are made or by coating yarns with silver. When it is used as a yarn, even washing has only minimal detrimental effect on its anti-bacterial efficacy leading to long lasting effectiveness. These socks are especially useful for people with diabetes who are prone to infections that can lead to further complications.

Silver yarn socks are now available in India. They are quite inexpensive and very comfortable to wear and can protect you from infection. To know more go here.

Budget 2013 – What’s in it for the Senior citizen

geriatric_careIn a boost to geriatric care across the country, the national programme for the healthcare of the elderly has been allotted Rs. 150 crore under the Union Budget 2013-14.

This fund is to be split among 21 states for 100 selected centres to improve facilities in hospitals/clinics for treatment and care of senior citizens. It is aimed at meeting the needs of the 13.2 crore senior citizens in the country.

Tamil Nadu will especially benefit, as it has one of the eight regional centres for geriatric care in the country. The Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, attached to the Madras Medical College, pioneered the concept of geriatric care in 1978 by launching an outpatient clinic.

The hospital received Rs. 5 crore in 2012 to construct a separate building and equip it with facilities such as physiotherapy care and a separate ward.

Last year, six districts in the State were identified for furthering the elder care project, said B. Krishnaswamy, head of the hospital’s geriatrics department. Apart from serving as a nodal centre for the State, the regional centre also covers some districts in Karnataka and Kerala.

“The elder care project was launched in the 11th Five Year Plan and we were allocated Rs. 20 crore last year. This budget allocation means that the funds will be extended for the next year too,” he said.

S.M. Chellaswamy, secretary general of the National Alliance of Senior Citizens Association of India (NASCOI), says that each of the 100 centres will only receive Rs. 1.5 crore and that this was too little.

“The State set an example for the country. We now have a geriatric ICU at the GH. Each regional centre should be allotted at least Rs. 2 crore to develop it well as senior citizens form 13 per cent of the total population,” he said.

As a retiree, Mr. Chellaswamy is now eligible for Rs. 1 lakh under the State government’s health benefit scheme for its retired employees but this is hardly enough if he has to seek treatment in a private hospital, he added.

You can read the original article here.