Nearly one lakh people above the age of 60 years in Delhi and National Capital Region are bed-ridden and require round-the-clock care, found a survey conducted by Agewell Foundation, a consortium of non-government organisations.

The survey covered 1,000 bed-ridden patients of the total 2.5 million people in the age group of 60 and above. The patients, family members and the patients’ care-takers were interviewed in September for the survey.

The Survey found that at any given time almost 5 to 6 per cent of the older population lived with the threat of ailments which could render them bed-ridden. The female population fared better against the men in that 67.5 per cent of male patients were confined to bed against 32.5 per cent of female patients.

Of the total bed-ridden patients, 66.5 per cent were confined to bed for less than 12 months while 33.5 per cent were long-term patients. Almost 86.1 per cent of all respondents had been affected by physical chronic illnesses, heart attacks or accidents while 13.9 per cent were affected by different kinds of mental or psychological problems.

It was found that bed-ridden patients had to face major problems such as lack of people who could care for them, depression, nervousness, cleanliness and hygiene, bedsores and high blood pressure. About 38 per cent were cared for by spouses, 23 per cent by family members and 39 per cent by other care-givers.

While 33 per cent patients ranked positive attitude as the most effective health care technique, 25 per cent said the care they received was important. Of the total number of bed-ridden patients, about 65 per cent were from the older persons category.

The survey concluded that though a person could be bed-ridden because of several reasons, the most common reason was old age and related ailments. Older people who were bedridden and their care-givers faced insurmountable problems in the absence of any knowledge or training to look after such older people. Also, while social alienation occurred with all patients, it was more in the case of the elderly and therefore they needed more care.

While it was tough on the entire family to look after a bed-ridden patient, at least two to three immediate family members had to go though a great deal of emotional, physical and psychological trauma.

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