The World population of the elderly is increasing and by the year 2050, adults older than 65 years will comprise 1/5th of the global population. The biggest challenge in the contemporary application of Ayurvedic geriatrics is to come up with protocols to document, diagnose in an integrative framework and manage geriatric problems.

In India 3.8% of the population are older than 65 years of age. According to an estimate the likely number of elderly people in India by 2016 will be around 113 million. The biggest challenge in the contemporary application of Ayurvedic geriatrics would be to come up with protocols to document, diagnose in an integrative framework and manage geriatric problems. This would require critical investment in establishing advanced research, treatment and teaching centers that have a state of the art facility to deal with geriatrics.

The twenty-first century is witnessing a gradual decline in fertility, and with increase in life expectancy, the society will need to grapple with issues of longevity. The cause of morbidity and mortality world over is shifting from communicable diseases a few decades ago to non-communicable diseases. The leading causes of mortality among aged people comprise respiratory problems, heart diseases, cancer and stroke. Significant causes of morbidity among this group is chronic inflammatory and degenerative conditions such as Arthritis, Diabetes Osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, psychiatric disorders, Parkinson’s disease and age related urinary problems.

It is essential that a multi-dimensional intervention be conceived that will involve a) trans-disciplinary research b) advanced treatment centers and c) specialized postgraduate education. There is a very urgent need to establish centers in the country that would engage in the kind of trans-disciplinary research that we are envisaging in order to take Ayurveda globally and also to bring the clinical services of Ayurveda into the mainstream. This would require a generous funding for undertaking such research and also establishing centers that would provide effective clinical services. There is also a need to support specialized trans-disciplinary PG researches in centres where PG in geriatrics is offered.

In most of the cases the condition cannot be attributed to a single cause or in certain conditions of neuro-psychiatric disorders like, Senile dementia, Alzheimer’s depression, the structural cause is unknown. In such cases the conventional medical therapy fails to come out with effective management plan and hence is severely compromised. Another challenge with conventional medical therapy is that it does not have health-promoting agents. Ayurveda on the other hand has interventions like chayavanaprasha, triphala that enhance physiological processes that influence metabolic and immunological status. Such interventions are significant in the context of geriatric care.

Rasayana therapy of Ayurveda is a dedicated stream of medication for immune promotive, antidegenerative and rejuvenative health care and is known for preventing the effects of ageing and improving the quality of life of healthy as well as diseased individuals. Scientific studies have proven the efficacious role of Rasayana remedies in the management of chronic life style related diseases and degenerative changes.

One is a radical approach in which it recharges the whole metabolic process of the body by eliminating the toxins from the system by a three to four months rigorous and organized process known as Kutipraveeshika Rasayana. However, this process is seldom practiced due to the extreme intricacy of the physiological process involved and the need for utmost care to be taken by the physician and subject including the environment where the treatment is done. Hence this Kutipraveeshika remains as a textual marvel of Ayurveda than a practical process of contemporary relevance.

The second approach of Ayurveda, which is quite popular today, is called Vataatapika Rasayana – which can go along with the normal day to day life. This type of Rasayana is particularly important in the current scenario, as it is has a relatively easy mode of administration without any restrictive pre-conditions.

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