Old Age Care

In the Ayurveda system of medicine, emphasis is laid on the care and treatment of the elderly and those that have retired from an active life. Ayurveda terms this care and treatment of the elderly as “Vridhopacharaneeyam”.

According to Ayurveda, human body consists of seven dhatus namely: Rasa (Lymph), Raktha (Blood), Mamsa (Flesh), Medas (Fat), Asthi (Bone), Majja (Marrow) and Sukla (Sperm). These dhatus get degenerated due to the body’s prolonged structural changes. The capacity of dhatus is lessened during old age. The result is a massive physiological, psychological and pathological variation in the body.

Rejuvenation therapies like Pizhichil, Njavarakizhi etc., strengthen the system, invigorate immunity and impart freshness in the body. Panchakarma therapies, particularly medicated enemas relieve constipation and correct digestion.

Sirodhara nourishes the head, which is the abode of all the sense organs. On the whole, this package wages war against old age health problems from all fronts and brings back the harmony of mind, body and soul.

A happy and comfortable old age is the fruit of well-spent childhood, youth and middle- age. However, old age brings along with it many nagging health problems like constipation, indigestion, sleeplessness, exhaustion, wrinkled skin, diminishing sensory faculties, etc. In older age the senior citizens are prone to hypertension,diabetes,cardiac problems.

Many of the senior citizens are afflicted by grave diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiac problems, rheumatic complaints, hemiplegia, Parkinson’s disease, alzheimer’s disease etc. These diseases could also be accompanied by other nagging problems like constipation, indigestion, sleeplessness, exhaustion, wrinkled skin and diminishing sensory faculties. Ayurveda system of medicine deals with every form of age old problem and is the ideal remedy for all ills afflicting the senior citizens

Diagnosis – the Ayurveda way

All treatments in Ayurveda are prescribed only after a careful diagnosis of the patient’s body constitution, family history, sex, age, stage of the disease etc.

The first consultation with an Ayurveda doctor, including the diagnosis will last for more than an hour. The basic step in the diagnosis will be to find the person’s body humour (Dosha) –Vata, Pita or Kapha, because it is the imbalance of these body humours that create every disease.

The dominance of dosha in a person is found by asking several questions on his behaviour, food habits, sleeping patterns, personal details like age, height & weight, place of life, profession, health problems and medical reports etc. Ayurveda diagnosis comprises of clinical and laboratory tests also. The doctor can decide if an Ayurveda treatment is helpful on providing these details.

Pulse, tongue, nail, and eye examinations are important diagnosis methods used to reveal a person’s body humour and its imbalance. This will help the doctor in treating the disease.

Pulse diagnosis in Ayurveda is not just counting the beats. It also reveals the health status of the entire body constitution, including the dosha imbalance and the health of the various body organs.

In tongue diagnosis, the doctor checks the general appearance, colour and coating of the tongue. In Ayurveda, as different areas of the tongue correspond to different organs of the body, the Ayurvedic practitioner can determine which organs of the body are out of balance by having a detailed tongue examination.

Nail examination is done to check the type, colour and shape of the person’s nail. Imbalances of doshas are easily detected on close examination.

In the eye diagnosis, the colour, size and even the shape of the eyes are important in determining the dosha dominance of a person. His mental status nervousness, anxiety, confidence level etc can also be learned through eye diagnosis.

A preliminary consultation with Ayurveda doctors online is also possible nowadays for guests worldwide Treatment Methods for old age care

After the diagnosis, the doctor sets out to treat the patient in a very systematic manner. This would include a set of appropriate Panchakarma treatments and Rasayana therapies .These treatments are meant to flush out the toxins, to nourish the body, to bring the doshas back to balance and to regenerate the body.

They are, however classified as pre-purification, main purification and post purification phases and include various types of therapies like oil massages, fermented liquid massages, medicinal enemas, herbal purification methods, diet regulations, daily regimens, intake of oral medicines etc. The treatments suggested here are for general guidance only. It may vary according to the decision of the doctor for each person.

Panchakarma for old age care

Pre-purification therapies Pre-purification therapies are the first ones applied to loosen the toxins, open up the circulation channels and get the body ready for discarding these wastes. These methods are highly relaxing for the body and mind.

A few of the following pre-purification methods are usually adopted in the treatment of Obesity.

Sirodhara therapy refers to the pouring of warm medicated herbal oil on the person’s forehead, non stop, for about 30 to 40 minutes from a suspended oil filled vessel hung 3 or 4 inches above the patient. The medicated oil is made b feel. y boiling herbs and fruits such as gooseberry, bala,sandalwood, bael, liquorices, nut grass tuber,winter cherry etc in gingelly oil, coconut oil, ghee, milk etc.

Abhyangam means full body massage done with bare hands, using warm herbal oil. The high penetration ability of the healing herbs help surface the toxins inside the body, and ensures active blood circulation to afflicted areas. Medicinal herbs like neem, bael, sida, spreading hog weed, ten roots rock salt, sweet flag etc. are used.

Elakizhi is massage-sweat therapy using warm oil and cotton pouches filled with fresh green leaves and herbs. It causes nervous reflex and dilates blood vessels in the arthritis areas. Plants like vitex, Castor, Datura, Calotropis and Tamarind are commonly used. They have good anti inflammatory and analgesic properties. Main Purification Therapies for old age care

This is the phase of elimination of toxins that were loosened at the pre purification treatment stage. These therapies are highly potential methods and are usually overseen by doctors. The commonly adopted Panchakarma treatments for after retirement care are: Nasyam Vamanam and Virechanam.

Nasyam is the instillation of medicated oil through the nose. The excess humours accumulated in the human body are eliminated through Nasyam. It improves blood circulation and reduces nerve stretching and inflammatory pains in the head. Sarsaparilla, nut grass tuber and cardamom are some of the main ingredients used in nasyam.

Vamanam- is also known as therapeutic vomiting. It is a treatment that eliminates the vitiated doshas (waste products) through the upper gastro-intestinal track. It expels and cleanses undigested food, Kapha and Pitta. Herbs generally used in vamanam include - emetic nut, sweet flag, liquorice etc.

Virechanam consists of intake of safe herbal medicines leading to the elimination of the poisonous wastes through the anal route. This cleansing of the mid zone benefits the entire body system. The appetite and body strength increases making you a more active and energetic person.

Rasayana Therapies for old age care

These are body nourishing therapies to rejuvenate the body and mind after the Panchakarma treatments. They keep the enzymes in the tissue cells in their normal functioning condition. It restores and balances the body functions and maintains the overall health and well being of an individual for much longer periods after the Panchakarma course. Rasayana therapy is found to be very effective in fighting old age disabilities and the treatments consist of both oral medicines and DIET regulation

Oral medicines for old age care

Herbal medicines form an important part of any ayurvedic treatment. Oral medicines for after retirement care rasayana treatments will be herbal concoctions, powders, pills, fermented syrups, and or herbs processed in clarified butter (ghee). These are prepared specifically to restore the lost balance and to provide the needed inputs to cure age old problems. Kashayam,Arishtam ( herbal decoctions and fermentations), Lehyams – (semi solid formulations) are commonly prescribed.

Chyavanaprash is considered to be a remarkable anti-aging medicine. Goose berry (Phyllanthus Embelica) is one of the main ingredients used in its preparation. Sankupushpi, Brahmins (Gratiola monieria) and Mandukapparni (Hydro Cotyle Asiatic a) are effective in boosting ones’ memory and could be taken on the advice of a physician. Besides, the juice of the above mentioned herbs taken with honey also acts as a memory booster.

The type and quantity of the medicines to be taken are decided by the doctor after a detailed consultation and examination. The patient's body type, age etc are also important factors to be considered.

Diet Regulations for old age care

A balanced diet should be followed during old age. It is advisable to consume more of fruits, vegetables, milk and unpolished rice. At the same time one should also reduce the Intake of salt, oil, meat and eggs. One should also drink at least three litres of water daily. A diet, that contains more anti-oxidants including Gooseberry, lemon, Orange, Carrot, Apple and Leafy Vegetables, is recommended.

Yoga and Life Style for old age care

Yoga and meditation are always beneficial and have always played a vital part in curing every type of disease. Yoga exercises done every day replenish and rebalance the physical and emotional systems that are depleted by the everyday stresses that lie so heavy on our lives. Yoga makes it possible to rest on a strong base of confidence and strength within oneself.

Life Style : It is advised that senior citizens avoid tension, stress and anxiety in their daily lives. They are also advised to take at least one or two weeks rest after the Panchakarma experience. At this time the body is weak after the purification process and needs time to get back to normalcy. They should engage themselves in some sort of useful activities including gardening and light agricultural activities. However, they should avoid strenuous exercise, stimulating experiences, late nights and viewing television for long periods.

Keeping animal pets and socializing with people of their age are all useful methods to keep worries and distractions away. They should spend more time with their family and children .They should develop a feeling of being wanted in society and avoid all forms of negative emotions. An early morning walk is very beneficial.

The observance of truth and discipline and freeing oneself from anger and a fast paced life style are very important factors that help us to lead a long, healthy and contended life.

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