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Problems associated with old age on the surge: Experts

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: Increase in the population of the elderly in the country has become a challenge for experts in the field of Gerontology, in terms of providing them with better health care facilities and other activities which could increase their lifespan, experts have said.

To deliberate upon the various aspects relating to ageing, a three-day ‘International Symposium on Ageing and the ’16th Biennial Conference of Association of Gerontology (India)’ was organised by the Department of Biochemistry, NEHU and Association of Gerontology on the theme ‘Problems and prospects of elderly in today’s world’ at the NEHU campus.

The symposium which coincided with the ‘World Elderly Day’ saw the participation of renowned personalities in the field from across the country and abroad.

Experts claimed that the problems associated with aging are getting more serious with each year.

“The population of elderly people in India stands at 65 per cent. It has also brought about numerous problem attached with it,” Prof S Goto of Juntendo University, Japan observed.

Prof Goto, in his short presentation, stressed on the importance of education and lifestyle which could improve the activities of daily living of elderly people, coupled with muscle power which could be attained through training and exercises for 10 weeks.

“Daily exercise will increase the strength of the muscles and enhances the chances for longer lifespan of elderly people from 5 per cent to 50 per cent,” he said.

Prof Zolt Radak of Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary, in his brief presentation on the topic ‘Effects of regular exercise to ageing brain’ revealed that ‘in the last decade it became clear that regular exercise beneficially affects brain function as well and can play an important preventive and therapeutic role in stroke, Alzheimer, and Parkinson diseases’.

“It appears that exercise-induced modulation of the redox state is an important means by which exercise benefits brain functions, increases the resistance against oxidative stress, facilitates recovery from oxidative stress and attenuate age-associated decline in cognition,” Prof Radak said.

Earlier, addressing the inaugural session, NEHU Vice Chancellor Prof AN Rai said that an intensive study into the problems of the aged will be rewarding and provide a multi-disciplinary platform to address elderly related issues.

Stating that the problem of ageing is a global concern, Prof Rai said various initiatives have been taken by the government to address this problem like the setting up of the national programmes for health care for the elderly.

The NEHU VC has also pointed out that a large section of the Indian population consists of the youth, who are an asset of the country in terms of development.

“However, we must foresee that these young people will one day become old and our country will have the highest number of elderly people, hence better facilities must be put in place to cater to their future needs,” he observed.

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