Aging is one of the processes of the life cycle, and although we tend to relegate it to the last stage, in reality, it starts after 30 years of age, without us being able to notice it.
“Is a cellular agingwhich does not have a certain symptomatology, but every ten years there is a decline of 10% of the functions”, explains Dr. Carmen Sucre, a specialist in Memory Center for Geriatric Specialties.
However, the difference is in aging slowly or quickly, and that will depend on the diseases that are causing changes in the body, the environment, the public health systems and the personal lifestyle: if it has been organized or disorganized.
If chronic diseases are controlled with good treatment, proper diet and exercise, the patient can be diabetic and live to be 100 years old. “But if I am diabetic and I don’t have a good health system or my awareness of the disease is not clear, it ends accelerating deterioration or death”, indicates the doctor.
Geriatrics, says Dr. Sucre, is a relatively new specialty, from the 19th century, due to advances in health that have allowed the world population to have a longer life expectancy. It is also one of the four spheres that intervene in the health of the aging adult, along with the social sphere, autonomy and physical functionality, and mental health.
“The important thing is to emphasize that aging is a dignified process, not a terminal stage in which you no longer serve or have to isolate yourself. (From the age of 65) it is an age in which one is more sensitive, life is valued, the simple things that are not seen in youth, values, family time”.
Sucre proposes preventive geriatrics, that is, that the person from the age of 40 begins to take care to a healthy, successful and dignified aging, “which arrives walking and speaking well, stable, making decisions; and, if I have a degenerative disease, knowing that when I was well I decided on that disease and that my family is clear about it”.
The geriatrician explains that in this area we work as a team, due to the different complications that older patients have, not only health, but also social. “The problem can be loneliness, abandonment; that he stopped walking because he has no one to visit him and he is depressed”; or, for those same reasons, he stopped eating and is malnourished.
The keys to a dignified ageing, in addition to a healthy lifestyle, are in the company, but also in study and learn something new, playful and recreational, to move away from what has been done all his life. “We also talk about orienting ourselves in space and time every day.” Evaluate the ocular and auditory part. Have dental checkups. Now there is odontogeriatrics, because the elderly need to keep their teeth until the end of their lives or resort to prosthetics, to access an ideal diet.
“I also highly recommend, when you are older, keeping the spiritual part, so that you have that peace of mind.” It is important that at this stage of life you can go to a center where you can receive stimulation and share with contemporaries.
The Memory center (urb. La Joya) offers long and short stay residence service, day center and workshops to stay active in old age, through cognitive, psychomotor activities and rehabilitation exercises that reduce deterioration. “The reactivation (since the pandemic) has been slow, with a lot of fear on the part of the patients due to the consequences of COVID-19, and with new protocols, because there is not only coronavirus, but many other respiratory and dermatological diseases that affect this population. More information: 098-020-6949.
Colony for the Third Age (COTE)
As of this month, the Pro Senex Foundation’s Center for the Integration of the Elderly has been renamed Colony for the Third Age (COTE), to offer several laboratories, such as the Singing Coral and the one of Body Building (starts May 15).
In June, in addition, the Laboratory of Dance to Remember. And since April the Laboratory of Participatory Recreation.
“Laboratory comes from labor. And these are restless laboratories, because older people are restless”, says Dr. Aldo Guevara D’Aniello, a geriatrician and gerontologist.
Each module is developed with an instructor who gives the work guidelines during the meeting, establishing the goals to be achieved by week, month and year. “The dance one, for example, has as its goal that the attendees integrate the group Remember Dancing, which has been in existence for 26 years,” Guevara mentions.
labs work twice a week at different times, so that, if someone wishes, they can attend two. The first requirement, says Dr. Guevara, is to be 60 or older. To find out the rest, you can call 234-6747 or 099-951-3229.
Medicinger, at the Interhospital
For those who are not yet used to the idea of being in large groups, a personalized workshop or with a small group it can be a good way to start socializing and stay active.
Medicenger offers workshops on different topics (now they are dealing with memory), either individually or for two or three participants. Soon they will speak on the caring for patients with Alzheimer’sin a workshop aimed at the family: how to feed them, how to treat them, how to distribute the hours of sleep, explains the internist and geriatrician Gabriela Altamirano Vergara.
Each activity is approximately two hours long. Open with physical activity and continue with exercises to strengthen memory, improve attention, orientation and perception. “When the patient arrives, a cognitive test, a quick and easy test. The idea is to make a scale for assessing cognitive impairment, and to serve as a reference to continue evaluating and ensure that this score improves or is maintained”.
Explain to the patient why you are doing this and the importance of be accompanied by a caregiver, who will witness the exercises. The patient receives printed material, with which he will work during the week. “When he has completed that material, he returns to new evaluation, work and new content.” Dr. Altamirano explains that many times relatives need urgent guidance to deal with your parents or grandparents; therefore, they must be included in programs for the elderly. Phone: 096-985-7615.
Club Mitra 60, face-to-face and online
Mitra 60+ is a recreation club created for the comprehensive well-being of the elderly with specialized activities, in a unique space, with a multidisciplinary team of professionals.
“Our face-to-face programs are in Quito from Monday to Friday, from 09:00 to 1:30, and in Cumbaya on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 09:00 to 12:30″, says the director, María José Ollague. But there is also Mitra Online, with live workshops via Zoom.
Students learn the disciplines of chair yoga, zumba golden, arts and crafts, active mind, dance and movement therapy, choir. They have workshops with special guests, as well as celebrations throughout the year.
Mitra functioned as an exclusively virtual space during the pandemic, and has now reopened its face-to-face rooms. “The happiness of meeting again is infiniteOllague says. “Some come with depression, and the change is immediate. They are motivated again, and I have seen more need than ever for a social space.” Information: 099-523-1502. (F)