Home Alone!

Elderly_Home_Alone
When Elderly are Home Alone!!

Mr. S a quintessential gentleman of 92 summers lives alone in Chennai. After an illustrious career in the Indian Army, having occupied high positions and served actively in 3 wars, he retired to a salubrious lovingly constructed home, over 3 decades ago. Over time his home has emptied itself of his loved ones: first the children and their families migrating to live and work abroad, then the sad passing of his beloved spouse. Yet Mr. S has soldiered on- visits to his local club to play Tennis and Bridge, daily walks in the neighbourhood park, his favourite newspaper read with diligence and attention, periodic socialising with friends. Annual visits to the US where he would spend the better months of the year with the family. The ravages of time have however taken their toll. The onset of dementia about 5 years earlier, gradually made it impossible for him to continue his routine. Most of his friends have either passed on or are too immobile for him to meet frequently. The children and grandchildren visit, often taking turns, striving to attend to his every comfort. He does, however, find it increasingly difficult to place them, and to have meaningful interactions. The sad reality is that this proud soldier is in the winter of his life, home alone!

Mrs. M of 87 summers is home alone too. Widowed over a decade earlier, this mother of two successful NRI male professionals has lived alone in her Chennai apartment all this time. Her successful sons who are both in the 60’s and have made their lives and careers abroad. Spirited and sagely, she lived an independent life, commuting in autos, managing her own financial affairs, travelling abroad periodically to spend time with her children, grandchildren and recently great-grandchildren. All this came to a halt however, a few months earlier, when she was struck down by two successive neurological conditions: a stroke that affected her mobility, from which she recovered, and inflammatory neuropathy that conferred fresh disability. Yet she has shown determination to survive these setbacks, to stand up and walk again. Her children and their families have tried to visit, to spend time, to attend to her every need. But in their absence, which sadly is much of the time, the care has been provided by a loyal team of caregivers, lead by our TRIMED home care doctor and home therapy team.

Like many elders both Mr. S and Mrs. M have had several ups and downs in the months/ years that we have been privileged to care for them. It’s not just the periodic health check or blood test. The many mini crisis- episodes of breathlessness precipitated by a change in weather, sometimes by an evolving pneumonia or reactivation of asthma; falls in the bathroom, sometimes with just soft tissue injury needing an ice pack, on other occasions a fracture needing hospital intervention; urinary tract infections on occasion leaving the person confused and disoriented; the care of the home alone elder is a veritable roller coaster ride. Yet, through regular medical visits, sessions of acupressure and reflexology, Physiotherapy, cognitive retraining and supportive counselling, therapeutic massages- both Ayurvedic and Naturopathic, our team has kept these elders in good spirits, pain free, able to cope with the ravages of time and chronic disease. TRIMED’s home care thus comes with a difference; not just doctor visits or lab tests, but care that uplifts the individual, rehabilitates them, improving life quality and activities of daily living, supports the caregiver, providing help in times of crisis and succour always.

That PICA (parents in India, children abroad) syndrome is a horrific emerging reality in urban India, came to the fore last week for us. Mrs. M became acutely ill, early one morning. From arranging an ambulance for immediate hospital transport, to rushing over to assist at 5.30 AM, the TRIMED team acquitted itself remarkably well. In the end we lost the grand old lady to the inevitable icy cold hands of death; a peaceful passing with as much comfort as we could muster. Until her family living abroad could come and take charge, TRIMED was in action- participating in making arrangements for the freezer box, funereal, even the priest! We feel greatly privileged to have served Mrs. M in this way. In the end, while circumstances left her “Home Alone”, she found TRIMED and therein a caring team of professionals, willing to go the extra mile.

The Kundalini in Our Bowels!

220px-DiagrammaChakraKundaliniWhen Mrs. S, the wife of a practicing physician, first approached us, she been suffering with an uncontrolled appetite and irritable bowels for over two years. She was eating every two hours, had gained over 10 kgs, and had to visit the loo at a similar frequency. She had consulted an army of medical specialists, had been labelled “neurotic”, “anxious”, and a variety of other disparaging terms. At TRIMED, our 360* assessment of her TRUE HEALTH revealed one very important aspect that perhaps had not been identified in her myriad scans and tests- Mrs. S had several features of autonomic dysfunction, although she was otherwise in perfect health.

When we first prescribed our Trimed Therapy Gastro disease management program for Mrs. S, she and her family were disbelieving; that using a combination of alternative medical approaches, our very special brand of integrative medical therapy, would help. Nevertheless, desperate as she was, Mrs. S committed herself to a TRIMED program that included a detoxification process, diet, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation exercises, as well as sessions of therapy both with ayurveda oils and therapeutic mud. The only allopathic input from us for this program, was to introduce a ion channel stabiliser and continue her prescription of lactobacillus and pantoprazole (both longstanding).

Over a month Mrs. S started to report an improvement in her symptoms. Her bowel movements began to stabilise and her visits to the loo halved. Her appetite too became more stable and manageable, with her managing her diet with smaller frequent meals. Three months on, Mrs. S reported normal bowel movements, a healthy appetite but with regulated diet, stabilisation of her weight and greatly improved quality of life. Mrs. S found TRIMED and in her we found the silent cause of numerous symptoms, autonomic dysfunction- the aspect of human physiology that our ancient texts focus on as the kundalini.

The Man Behind the Dementia Mask !!

 

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iStock.com

When the TRIMED team first encountered Mr. R aged 61 years, he was curled up on his bed in a fetal position, doubly incontinent (for both urine and faeces), barely taking in a few sips of liquid and a few mouthfuls of food each day. He was mute and had last communicated with the family in a meaningful way about 4 months earlier. According to the family he had been suffering from memory loss for over 3 years and had experienced considerable worsening in his clinical condition in recent times. His wife of 35 years was beside herself with anxiety at his declining health. It was his son, visiting from the US, moved by the plight of his beloved father, who found TRIMED.

At TRIMED Mr. R was first put through a “360* Assessment”- a measure of his TRUE HEALTH, in which our family physician, ayurved, naturopath & yoga doctor, physical therapist, clinical psychologist and nutritionist evaluated him. A detailed blood profile, brain imaging, electrophysiological tests and expert neuropsychiatry opinion from the Neurokrish team, completed our work up, revealing surprisingly few bodily aberrations that we proceeded to correct. He was started on suitable allopathic drug treatment for his condition, including anti-dementia drugs and vitamin supplements. Mr. R was inducted into TRIMED’s disease management program for dementia and over 3 weeks received nutritional therapy, ayurveda treatments, reflexology, physical exercises & mobilisation, and motivation enhancement training. Drawing him out of his cocoon in a few days, the TRIMED team soon had him up and about, taking part in his therapeutic program with increasing interest, eating well and sleeping normally. Caregiver education about dementia was effectively delivered and cognitive retraining instituted, reminiscence therapy being a particular forte among our counselling psychologists.

Today, 6 weeks on, Mr. R strode into our TRIMED centre confidently for his review appointment. With a beaming smile he greeted us appropriately with a “namaste”. He continues to have recent (and some remote) memory disturbances and to confabulate (make up) his replies. However his social behaviour and interactions are appropriate, he recognises his family members and addresses them suitably, is eating, sleeping and exercising well. Indeed he even follows “the TRIMED way” our one hour exercise protocol, with a bit of prompting. Mr. R’s son is leaving for the USA this week, a happy man. He found TRIMED for his father, and in his father TRIMED found “the man behind the Dementia mask”.

We at TRIMED are inspired every day, by people like Mr. R, their families, and the power of “modern healthcare with ancient wisdom”.