UDHAVI Year End Meeting - December 2020

UDHAVI Year End Meeting - December 2020

UDHAVI's year end event was held on 19 December 2020. Does it even need to be said that the event was a resounding success? We had three goals in mind: to entertain the elders as they are craving for some form of communication (as are all of us!), to have an informative exchange by inviting experts, and to chase away the COVID blues and welcome a fresh new year with all the hope that UDHAVI can restart its visits.

Renuka invoked Lord Ganesha for showering His grace on everyone. Kalpana welcomed the gathering and also kept the atmosphere electric with her MC skills. Sabita spoke a few words about UDHAVI and introduced the core members to the audience. She also gave a few tips to the elders on issues affecting them. Radhika then introduced the Guest of Honour, Dr. Lakshmi Sankaran, Chairperson, Sundram Fasteners School of Applied Psychology, The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM). Dr. Sankaran started by thanking UDHAVI for facilitating BALM interns to visit the elderly as part of their internship program. This has led to a productive interaction between UDHAVI and BALM and she expressed interest in continuing with the program. She said that elders should follow AEIOU - be Active, Eat properly, keep In touch, stay Online and Unwind. There are mindfulness colouring books available that are good as cognitive exercises - all it needs is a set of colour pencils. Elders should try to cultivate a sense of humour, have a positive attitude and a sense of gratitude, which will enable them to be at peace with themselves and with others around them.

The Chief Guest of the evening was Dr. Ramesh Sadasivan, who is a general physician and is a member of Dr. V. S. Natarajan's team of doctors specialising in geriatric home care visits. He is known for his soft-spoken nature and depth of knowledge. Dr. Sadasivan started his talk with the explanation of communicable and non-communicable diseases (NCD). He said that though COVID has captured the attention of everyone, the prevalence of NCDs among the elderly is the one we should be more watchful of. These include:

  1. Hypoglycemia - when blood sugar level drops below 80 mg/dcl. This happens in the early morning and is usually the result of a mismatch between the food consumed and medicines taken in the previous night. The sugar levels should be tracked regularly on a chart to monitor the changes in the individual.

  2. Fainting - due to (a) vertigo or (b) hypotension (low blood pressure on getting up) or (c) syncope when passing urine (mainly in males) or (d) not being able to feel the floor (mainly among diabetics). Regular exercises and the use of mobility aids will help with this.

  3. Acute asthma especially in winter - many elders are reluctant to use inhalers or nebulisers when it is necessary.

  4. Urosepsis - due to urinary tract infection (mainly in females), diabetes and chronic kidney disease. It can lead to recurrent infections in males.

Dr. Sadasivan suggested that elders should take the existing vaccines for pneumonia and flu, and preventive measures for COVID. They should get the tests done regularly and check with their physician once in three months. The habit of blindly taking medicines should be avoided.

Both the experts fielded questions from the audience. After the informative sessions, the audience were treated to a scintillating mouth organ recital by Mr. R. Narayanan, a retired banker who teaches MBA students. Sudesh, the Hony. General Secretary of UDHAVI, thanked all those involved in the program and the audience. Gita Dattatri provided a perfect ending by rendering a few shlokas from the Bhagavad Gita and having the audience chant along with her.

Many of the elders called us and expressed their happiness and appreciation at a job well done. And they want more of it! Hopefully there can be a "physical" event in the near future!