Patient Stories

Mrs. S -Story

Mrs. S -Story

We are delighted to report on a patient with hydrocephalus after a stroke who has shown remarkable improvement over a period of 12 months with the help of our comprehensive care program- physiotherapy, psychology, speech therapy, and Ayurveda. The patient had suffered a stroke that resulted in hydrocephalus, which is a condition where there is an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain.

The patient was initially unable to move her limbs and had great difficulty speaking; she was essentially wheelchair bound and had very limited mobility requiring considerable assistance for all activities. Being a former athlete and regular swimmer, she also experienced depression and anxiety due her disability. When she came to Buddhi Clinic, several months of physiotherapy delivered to her as a mono-therapy had not resulted in much improvement and she remained very disabled.

However, with the help of our team of healthcare professionals including the physiotherapist, psychologist, speech therapist, and Ayurvedic-Naturopathy practitioners, the patient began to show signs of improvement.

Physiotherapy helped the patient regain strength in the limbs and improve her mobility. Psychology sessions helped her cope with the emotional struggles of being physically impaired and unable to speak, and provided her with the tools to manage depression and anxiety. Speech therapy helped her to gradually regain her ability to communicate effectively.

Ayurveda played a significant role in the patient’s recovery as well. Our Ayurvedic practitioners prescribed external therapies that helped improve muscle tone, blood flow, overall mobility, alertness and motivation. Our holistic practitioners also recommended dietary and lifestyle changes that supported the patient’s overall health.

Through treatment the patient was under the care and supervision of our allopathic doctors who provided guidance on medication and therapy. Indeed, at the end of the first cycle of intensive therapy, the clinical note said:

“Making good progress in therapy. She is now able to walk with limited support although she tends to be forward propulsive. Speech is present, expressive and appropriate with word finding difficulties being evident. She has problems with spontaneous speech. Family recognise that she is progressing well and report increased alertness, attempts to initiate action but also some confabulation. Utilisation behaviour observed.”

Plan: Therapy to continue for another full cycle.

With continued comprehensive care, with all four specialists remaining involved and the dedicated support of her spouse and caregivers, Mrs. S improved significantly. She was able to walk without assistance and perform daily activities first with little support and later independently. Her speech also improved, allowing her to communicate more effectively with others. At the end of one year of regular care, the clinical note was …

“Has made very good progress, is self ambulant, communicative, with improving ADL. Swallows well, speaks clearly, diet is diverse. Walking in the swimming pool (with suitable guidance and support) as well as cooking (used to be accomplished in this) and table top weaving (was a clothes designer before) discussed as OT.”

Plan: Therapy to continue with aforementioned focus

Our combination of physiotherapy, psychology, speech therapy, and Ayurveda proved to be highly effective for this stroke patient with hydrocephalus who has also remained stable in medical management not requiring further surgical intervention. It is evident that a sustained, comprehensive and multidisciplinary program can help even those with serious neurological conditions and considerable disability, make significant progress towards regaining their independence and improving their quality of life.

Mr. Keerthi V

Senior specialist- Physical therapy

Patient Stories

Back to the Hills

Back to the Hills

In October of 2010, I was introduced to an elderly lady admitted under Dr. Ennapadam S Krishnamoorthy and Dr. Rema Raghu in the Intensive Care Unit of one of our admitting hospitals.  She was 88 years old, and had just suffered a stroke, which affected her mobility greatly.   

I was assigned to lead our therapy team to assist in her recovery. On her part, I found her determined to get better too. Thence started my fascinating and enduring journey with Mrs. A.  

Our Buddhi Clinic team started working with her and in the intensive phase, the comprehensive therapy delivered to her included physiotherapy (electrotherapy, manual therapy and exercise therapy, each session lasting one hour), holistic external therapies using a combination of Ayurveda, Naturopathy & Acupressure, and psychological supportive care including relaxation training. All this was delivered along with allopathic (modern medical) treatment, first in the ICU, then in the hospital room and finally after discharge at her home.

With these comprehensive therapies, Mrs. A began to recover from the effects of her stroke. So much so that after the initial 5-6 week period of intensive therapy, the step down care became physiotherapy alone.  As her physiotherapist, I was introduced to her large extended family, whose support and care she enjoyed. During her therapy sessions she liked to speak about her family members and their support, all of which played a major role in her recovery.  She thus not only shared her family with me, her hospitality, love and care was very moving. 

Mrs. A. was someone who usually spent the summer months at a hill station where she had a beautiful property.  Unfortunately, that year, because of her illness, she was unable to undertake her summer trip.  However, her determination to get better and cooperation with therapy and rehabilitation was such, that she could, quite quickly, stand and walk again.  So much so, that the very next summer, she was able to go back to her favourite hill station, and walk in the hills again. A big salute to her!

Mr. D.Jerald M Yuvaraj

MPT(NEURO); MIAP; MS; MAPP; MSC; DCM ; MHSC (NEURO) HOD & Senior specialist-Physical therapy.

Cerebral Musings Media

Integrative Health: Dr. ESK’s Revolutionary Vision for Neuropsychiatry’s Future

Introduction: The Fusion of Tradition and Innovation in Neuropsychiatry

In the intricate dance of mind and brain, neuropsychiatry stands as a crucial mediator. It’s here, in this delicate equilibrium, that we find the genius of Dr. ESK’s approach. This field, though medically advanced, often meets the challenge of addressing conditions that don’t have simple solutions. Dr. ESK offers a novel proposal—a merger of age-old therapeutic wisdom with pioneering medical methodologies. In doing so, he introduces a patient-centric landscape where holistic health isn’t just an ideal but a tangible reality.

The genesis of Dr. ESK’s approach rests on the idea of encompassing the entire health spectrum, ranging from the esoteric corners of ancient medicine to the sophisticated labs of modern diagnostics. His philosophy, richly steeped in multidisciplinary care, addresses not just the physical manifestation of neuropsychiatric conditions but also the underlying emotional and spiritual facets.

1. A Panorama of Multidisciplinary Care

Neuropsychiatric conditions present a labyrinthine challenge. With ailments such as autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, and epilepsy, one size doesn’t fit all. Dr. ESK’s passionate endorsement of a multidisciplinary stance is more than just a medical perspective; it’s a holistic philosophy. Drawing from his extensive experience in the UK, especially in the nuanced domain of epilepsy care, he emphasizes the transformative power of collaborative medical expertise.

It’s not just about addressing the ailment but understanding the patient’s journey, ensuring a rounded approach that encompasses emotional healing, social rehabilitation, and mental fortitude. Dr. ESK’s vision seeks to build a medical orchestra, with each expert—a neurologist, a psychologist, a physiotherapist—playing their unique part, crafting a harmonious symphony of care that resonates deeply with the patient’s experience.

2. Rediscovering Healing Beyond the Modern Paradigm

Modern medicine has achieved monumental successes, yet there remains an uncharted territory of alternative therapies that many patients gravitate towards. Dr. ESK’s journey from skepticism to advocacy for treatments like Ayurveda, yoga, and homeopathy captures a seismic shift in the medical paradigm. These therapies, once marginalized, now shine under the spotlight for their holistic approach.

Diving deeper into Dr. ESK’s epiphany, it’s evident that patient testimonials played a pivotal role. Stories of transformation through Ayurvedic treatments or the therapeutic calm of yoga shifted his perspective. By synergizing the diagnostic precision of modern medicine with the holistic ethos of these time-tested therapies, he endeavors to create a treatment blueprint that is exhaustive yet tailored, methodical yet empathetic.

3. Integrative Health Center: The Crucible of Holistic Healing

2010 marked the dawn of an ambitious dream: the Integrative Health Center. Far from being just another clinic, this center stands as the embodiment of Dr. ESK’s expansive vision. It is a place where the wisdom of an Ayurvedic practitioner coexists harmoniously with the diagnostic prowess of a modern neurologist. This isn’t merely about offering a wide array of treatments; it’s about curating a holistic journey for each patient.

The center’s diverse palette, with 15 different therapeutic modalities, showcases the potential of combining advanced brain stimulation techniques with the meditative allure of yoga and the rejuvenative touch of naturopathy. It serves as a testament to Dr. ESK’s commitment to crafting holistic health odysseys that resonate deeply with individual life stories, addressing not just the medical conditions but also the soul’s yearning for holistic wellness.

4. Tailored Healing: The Pinnacle of Personalized Medicine

At the heart of Dr. ESK’s integrative approach lies the ethos of personalized medicine. In this context, treatments go beyond mere clinical prescriptions. They become deeply interwoven narratives that resonate with individual histories, values, and aspirations. Every treatment becomes a chapter in the patient’s journey, crafted meticulously to resonate with their unique life story.

By infusing the patient’s narrative into the treatment, Dr. ESK proposes a form of care that’s not just reactive but profoundly transformative. This vision challenges the traditional paradigms of healthcare, pushing the boundaries to ensure medical interventions are curative and deeply resonant, addressing both the ailment and the individual’s holistic well-being.

Conclusion: Shaping the Future of Neuropsychiatry

As we stand on the cusp of a medical revolution, Dr. ESK’s innovative vision offers a glimpse into the radiant future of neuropsychiatry. The blend of ancient wisdom and contemporary science promises more than just treatments—it pledges transformative healing journeys. Integrative health, as envisioned by him, reframes patient experiences, positioning them not just as beneficiaries but as co-travelers on the path to holistic well-being.

This merger of the old and new, tradition and innovation, is more than just a medical approach; it’s a philosophy that has the potential to redefine the very essence of healing, ensuring that patients are treated not as case files but as unique individuals, each with their distinct story and healing journey.

"Integrative health is the answer to modern personalized medicine." - Dr. ESK

Dr. ESK’s profound statement encapsulates the need for a paradigm shift in healthcare. In a world that’s rapidly evolving, his vision serves as a timely reminder that true healing encompasses both art and science, tradition and innovation, the individual and the community.

Cerebral Musings Media

Can an integrated system of medicine work? | The Hindu Parley Podcast

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) under the Union Health Ministry and the Union Ministry of Ayush have agreed to enhance cooperation in health research in the field of integrated medicine. This move will help Ayush departments at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) evolve into departments of integrated medicine.

Will such an integrated system of medicine work? Here we discuss the question.

Guests: Ennapadam S. Krishnamoorthy, founder of Buddhi Clinic, Chennai; Cyriac Abby Philips, senior consultant and clinical scientist in Hepatology, The Liver Institute, Rajagiri Hospital

Host: Zubeda Hamid

Canine Neuropsychiatry

Kaiser and his 3M Workout

Greetings folks! My name is Kaiser and I am a 5 plus year old Rottweiler who is a bit of a Chennai celebrity (read my opinion piece published in The Hindu open page ….). Today I am describing my 3M workout developed specially for my middle aged dad but applicable to all “mediatrics” (if kids are pediatric and elders geriatric, mediatrics sounds right doesn’t it?!). 

What are the 3M’s that challenge ye folks as you age?! The first M is memory, that unique ability to dig up the past and connect the dots. Dad who is a neuropsychiatrist (of some repute I hear) tells me that memory, cognition and emotion are all closely linked. Thus when I take my mediatric dad for his walk, here’s how I help his memory. As my piece in The Hindu would have told you, I am prone to “react” to several environmental stimuli on our morning walk- barking dogs; people who walk too close, worse jog past; raise their hands in greeting; yell out to dad (the sheer cheek of it, I tell ya); worse stare at me, looking me in the eye! My response to all this and more, is to charge at the unsuspecting individual, my strong 55 kgs dragging along poor, unsuspecting dad. But I still would rate my morning walks as one of the greatest joys in life as I mentioned in A Rottweiler’s Multiverse. Now, with all this etched into his memory, dad pays constant attention to his environment, avoids all such provocateurs like the plague, and is constantly looking for escape routes to ensure I don’t “encounter” these folks!  What I am working on constantly, apart from attention and memory, therefore, is his cognitive flexibility, the ability to rapidly change plans, adapt to the environment and shift set, skills that ye folks lose in your mediatric phase. 

The second M is mobility. You would notice how folks in middle age walk slower with a broader based step, climb down stairs gingerly (anticipating a fall) and seek to make predictable movements alone. One brain function that clearly declines with advancing age is “posture and balance” says dad and this is compounded by various problems like poor core muscle strength, a decline in muscle memory, delayed reflexes, the list goes on. As I tell dad often, fear not, for Kaiser is here! My 55 kg body weight, immense strength and propensity for the unexpected charge, ensures that my mediatric dad gets a super work out. Not only do I give his upper limbs the stretches they require through my constant tugging, I ensure he is constantly practising the maintenance of posture and balance by varying his route, jumping on and off footpaths, rushing through sidewalk gardens, even going vertical in my pursuit of other dogs (and irritating humans). While Dad has a few kgs on me in terms of weight, I the Kaiser have quite a bit of muscle to compensate. Let me assure you, despite his own falls (that teach him valuable mobility lessons each time) I keep him in ship shape with my workout. 

The third M is mental health or indeed mind care. Now imagine this middle aged guy did not have my wonderful companionship; my warm breath, wet tongue, large paw handshakes, need to sit on his lap not mindful of my own size, share his meal generously (he needs to be on a diet, given his age), all of which contribute immensely to his happiness and good quality of life (in my humble opinion); he would just be a “sad mediatric” with little to show for himself. Instead, walking me around, he is the veritable human showpiece of our neighbourhood, “Kaiser’s Dad”, with the ladies even admiring his “strength in controlling that Rottweiler”, moments that I allow him to savour. Clearly, I have a huge role to play in his “mind care” and his own pursuit of happiness. 

Thus, I “the Kaiser”, that translates to Emperor in German, strongly recommend Dad’s 3M approach, which I believe has become “institutional” in Buddhi Clinic, not just for the rehabilitation needs of those so affected, but for preventive brain health in ye mediatrics. You can acquire a dog (I have a preference for Rottweilers, but hey we are not the breed for all ye folks) – perhaps any dog that you can walk regularly, would suffice. And if you choose not to be that lucky (ie you don’t want one of us canines in your life), well there is always Buddhi Clinic where I understand they blend modern science and ancient wisdom for 3M care- Memory, Mobilty & Mental Health. You can write to dad in confidence founder@buddhiclinic.com and I am sure he will help you. Ciao!

Helpful Advice

How Can You Help Children Identify & Tackle Mental Health Issues?

Taking care of your child’s overall health involves making sure their physical, mental, emotional, environmental and social needs are met. Usually parents hope to find the best school they can afford, the best tuitions & after-school activities, nurturing friend/social groups, and positive influences on their children’s lives. However, in our society, we often neglect taking care of our children’s mental health needs. Good mental health can be the difference between a child succeeding and being happy, while learning and acclimatizing faster than those children with poor mental health. 

How do mental health problems affect children?

Mental health problems can affect the way a child thinks, how they cope with difficult situations, their moods & emotions and their ability to form or want social connections. Mental health problems in childhood can delay & disrupt a child’s normal life – causing behavioral problems, a lack of social skills, emotional stunting, cycles of negative feelings, anxiety about their place in the world, and much more. These problems can distress, antagonize and isolate children; these children have a much harder time coping with reality than children with good mental health. 

Much like physical health, your child’s mental health will change over a period of time, which makes it important to keep a track of. It is important to be able to sit down with your child, and help them build habits that will contribute towards a healthy mental health balance.  Some habits such as a regulated sleep cycle, brushing teeth twice a day, eating nutritious & healthy food, exercising regularly, and socializing with other people regularly, can help children learn lifelong lessons in how to maintain a healthy mental health balance. 

However, something to note is that mental health problems can be quite common during childhood. By learning how to spot the problem early on, you can ensure that your child gets help sooner rather than later, because the faster you address these problems, the faster you can work together to find solutions. 

How do you identify problems in children?

It can be tricky to distinguish between regular hormonal changes, growing pains and emotional fluctuations from a full-blown mental health problem. This is why it’s important to seek the help of a professional when you cannot pinpoint the exact problem. However, here are a few things you can do with your child to help them identify if they have a mental health problem.

  • Sit down with your child and talk to them about their problems. Ask them questions about their feelings, their thoughts, their worries & anxieties, and so on. Pay close attention to what they say, take notes and watch out for any warning signals they may be giving off verbally and non-verbally. 
  • Listen, listen, listen! Make sure you listen to your child, instead of talking over them. Sometimes, we have the tendency to come up with preconceived ideas about how our child feels.  It is important to put these notions aside and instead just process what they say to you. Even though you might have ideas and input, see what your child feels comfortable with – you might find all they want is a shoulder to cry or, or someone to commiserate with them. 
  • Take regular notes about your child’s feelings and emotions. Has your child been feeling extra moody or withdrawn for more than 2 weeks? Have you notices severe mood swings or big changes in behavior? This may mean your child is experiencing a mental health problem. Look into other aspects of their life like: 
  • Do they regularly have problems making friendships or creating relationships with other people?
  • Do sudden feelings of worry, fear, or anxiety overwhelm them in situations that shouldn’t?
  • Are they unusually irritable or explosively angry?
  • Do you notice sleep issues or food related issues?
  • Are they experiencing weight fluctuations or sudden illnesses (stomach aches/headaches/nausea) without cause?
  • Are they isolating from other people, forming bonds with unhealthy elements or avoiding school/activities?
  • Are they using drugs or alcohol?
  • Do they talk or joke about death or talk about hurting themselves/wanting to die?
  • Have they stopped doing things they once enjoyed?
  • Are they spending an unhealthy amount of time on social media or digital devices?

Answering these questions could give you a more thorough insight into your child’s life, and can help you make notes that you can share with a professional therapist. 

What can you (and your family) do to encourage healthy mental health habits?

  • Encourage, validate and accept.  Encourage your child to share their feelings & learn more about their emotions. Validate their feelings & emotions, by agreeing with them instead of arguing – tell them that you hear them, and you understand them. Accept their emotions, thoughts, feelings and ideas, and reward them for being honest with you.
  • Come up with coping solutions together. Make your child an important part of the solution process. Make sure that they know this – by feeling like their voice is being heard, they may open up to new ideas that you may bring up to them as well. Every child is different, and children may have to find different ways to cope that works for them. 
  • Enforce healthy habits in your household. Children learn from the adults around them, if you have unhealthy habits they are sure to pick up on them, so try to set healthy habits for your entire family to follow.  This can be something as simple as planning healthy meals for everyone at home, and can be as complex as developing healthy ways to deal with frustration. If someone at home uses curse words or violence to deal with unfavorable situations, you can be sure your child will learn to do this as well. 
  • Build strong and positive relationships between your children and other members of your family. Make sure that your children learn from other role models around the family. Monitor these interactions and make sure you keep your children away from traumatic interactions.
  • Establish regular/weekly family time activities. You can set aside a particular amount of time per week to allow for activities like game nights, educational trips, beach days, and more. Ask your child what they would like to do, and make them a part of the decision process so that they feel validated. 
  • Reduce stress, conflict and negative emotions around the house. Teach your family healthy coping mechanisms to use at home around children. Instead of shouting, hurling abuses, or resorting to violence, you can all sit down and talk together. Your child should feel safe and at ease within their environment, and this is a good way to express it to the rest of your family. 
  • Limit time with screens, and spend quality time out in nature. Social media and digital media can have an adverse affect on your child’s development. Restrict their use of digital devices, monitor how they spend their time online, and provide them with fun & healthy alternatives. You can take the whole family or just your child on outdoor adventures once a week; maybe even encourage them to learn how to enjoy being in nature. 

The most important thing to remember is that it’s okay to ask for professional help, whether your child needs it or someone else in your family. Don’t shame or blame anyone for seeking help, be there for him or her instead, and offer whatever help you can! If you need to consult a psychologist or psychiatrist, please don’t wait; get the process started at the earliest!

Helpful Advice

Moving Past COVID-19, How Should We Approach The Mental Health Needs Of Children?

The overarching health responses to the COVID-19 pandemic affected the daily lives of most people around the world, including the lives of children. The UNICEF has noted that children affected by various byproducts of the pandemic could feel the effects for many years to come. More than 13% of children and teens aged 10–19 are estimated to be battling with a diagnosed mental disorder globally. Close to 50,000 youths die by suicide – which ranks amongst the top five causes for deaths within this age group. 

The COVID-19 pandemic gave rise to a number of complex problems that have had mental health ramifications for children and young adults. Feelings of fear, grief, uncertainty, social isolation, increased screen time, and parental fatigue have negatively affected the mental health of children. Friendships and family support are strong stabilizing forces for children, but the COVID-19 pandemic has also disrupted these support systems.

Some of the challenges children and young people faced during the COVID-19 pandemic are:

  • Routines changing – With most parents working from home and advisories telling families to stay home, a lot of children have had their routines completely upended. Without the support of their friends, extended family and activity groups, children lost access to most of the activities they could participate in.

  • Breaks in continuity of learning – Most schools were forced to move towards distance learning, disrupting the way children received their education. Teachers had to navigate digital teaching methods that weren’t as commonly used before the pandemic, which made it harder for students to adjust as well.

  • Breaks in continuity of health care – During the height of the pandemic, it was incredibly hard to access physical health care services, as well as mental health services. Children were not able to get immunizations at the proper times, and unless they had an extremely serious illness, hospital care couldn’t be prioritized. 

  • Missed significant life events – A number of children missed the opportunity to create significant life memories, since a large number of important events had to be restricted or cancelled altogether – concerts, movies, weddings, funerals, etc.

  • Lost security and safety – During the pandemic, a large number of families had to bear the brunt of the situation, with a loss in earnings or even a loss of employment. Access to food was disrupted, and an access to digital technology became increasingly important. Children of violent/abusive parents faced increased threats of physical harm and other forms of abuse within their homes, without being able to escape. 

How is your child coping?

Encourage your child to open up to you, and be honest with them about how you are feeling as well, so that they understand that it’s okay to feel the way they do. Feelings of isolation, depression, anxiety, anger, and disappointment are common for all age groups, however, if these feelings affect your child’s ability to function, you will have to step in and provide support. 

Younger children may not be able to voice their feelings, so watch out for deviations in their behavior and overall development. Be present for your children, and do not let them keep their feelings to themselves. Monitor their feelings and their coping mechanisms, so that you can help them avoid unhealthy coping methods. 

How do you recognize signs of stress in your child?

Infants, toddlers and young children could show signs of stunted development or backward progress regarding their educational and developmental goals. Post lockdowns, and restrictions, these children may also exhibit other unhealthy behaviors like:

  • Increased irritability and prolonged fussiness
  • Sleep difficulties and changing sleep cycles
  • Physical illnesses issues such as nausea and vomiting, loose motions or constipation, and stomach problems
  • Separation anxiety
  • Tantrums, biting, screaming, crying, bedwetting
  • Unusually aggressive/physically violent behavior

Older children, adolescents and teens will show slightly different signs of distress with symptoms such as:

  • Unusual mood changes, increased irritability, feelings of hopelessness/anger/resentment/unfairness, which can lead to frequent confrontations with family and friends
  • Behavioral changes in the form of dropped relationships, loss of appetite, self-harm or suicidal tendencies
  • Losing interest in activities they once enjoyed, or giving up on goals they were passionate about
  • Severe difficulty with cognition – loss of memory, foggy brain/ negative thinking, or concentrating on harmful behaviors.
  • Losing focus with regards to school activities and their overall education
  • Lack of basic personal hygiene, trouble with self-care, loss of energy for simple activities
  • Risky and harmful behaviors, such as drug or alcohol usage, violence against others or social media addictions

Dealing with the loss of a loved one to COVID-19

A large portion of the population lost someone near and dear to the Covid-19 pandemic. This sudden loss of someone special in your child’s life could lead to some serious mental health problems. It is extremely important to be there for your child and to help them find positive coping strategies. They can feel utterly helpless, with thoughts of how unfair life is, so it is imperative to make sure they have sufficient outlets for their grief for a longer period of time, until they are able to come to terms with the loss.

COVID-19 trauma recovery

Now that life has returned to some semblance of what it was before the pandemic, everyone is trying to cope with another ‘new normal’. However, it can be very hard for young children to reacclimatize to their new environments when they have been stuck at home for almost 2 years. Additionally, according to research, around 20% of people who contracted COVID-19 developed mental health issues. It is important to sit down and talk to your child every two weeks or once a month, so you can see how they are progressing, and if they are showing symptoms of additional mental health problems. Trauma recovery can be a grueling process, but the support of family and friends can be invaluable during the healing process. 

Though the hardest part of the pandemic is seemingly behind us, there are a lot of aftershocks that can still be felt today. Make sure your child feels at ease within your home environment, and support their mental health needs as they reintegrate into their schools, activities and social circles. The best way to make sure that your child’s mental health needs are met is to monitor their behaviour, and consult a doctor if you notice any symptoms of mental health problems.

Helpful Advice

Improving the Mental and Emotional Well-Being of the Elderly with Home Health Care

Senior health care is a comprehensive issue that needs to be addressed on several fronts: social, mental, psychological, physical and economic. There is an immediate need for public awareness about mental health problems of older adults. With over 23% of the population predicted to be senior citizens by 2035, India will face several issues with mental health care provisions for the elderly, most of them stemming from a lack of infrastructure, government programs and public awareness. Rapid urbanization and digitalization has caused a number of problems for the elderly. For those set in their ways, the shift to a more digital lifestyle can be extremely frustrating and isolating. The demand for community care and home-based care for elderly Indians has become a focal point of elderly mental health care services, since the current systems in place are not well equipped to provide consistent qualitative services. Home-based care should ideally be provided through familial and community based health care initiatives that focus on providing elders with the individualized services they might need. There is also an increased need for community health workers in India, who are trained to identify problems and provide help to elders with mental illness. 

Why are some of the benefits of home care for the elderly?

  • Provides them with familiar surroundings and socialization options

The older you get, the more the concept of home can change. Rather than being about a physical place, home can be the sentiments and emotions carried by a person. For the elderly, being able to interact with familiar locations and objects can have a profoundly positive effect on their mental health. If they live in a place that is accessible to their friends and family, it helps them socialize whenever they want.  

  • It helps them retain a level of independence

At a senior care facility or hospital or hospice, your loved one may not be able to maintain any freedom. To the current generations of elderly Indians, being independent is quite important. A growing number of elders prefer to live with their spouses or by themselves, and age at home, in a place they can call their own. Staying at home therefore can have a positive effect on their happiness levels. 

  • Affordable alternative to nursing homes or assisted living facilities

A large number of people think that choosing a nursing home over home care will save money long-term, however this isn’t true. Here are some things you could do to make sure that home care is affordable for your loved one:

  • Hire an in-home caregiver privately, through recommendations, rather than from an agency
  • Use digital technology to monitor your loved one, and to be there for them when they need it
  • Make low-cost modifications around the house to make the house more livable and more accident-proof
  • Home care improves the overall quality of life and positively affects mental health

Being forced to leave home when their health declines can significantly increase emotional and mental stress for the elderly. Having private home care means that they can stay in a place that makes them feel happy, rather than somewhere that makes them feel like a burden.  

  • Personalized home care plans make sure that elders are up to date with their care

In the more formal setting of a nursing home or assisted living facility, your loved one will most likely receive generic care, food, housing and clothing that can feel very restrictive. Through a personalized home care plan, they are free to adjust their care in the way that best suits their individual needs. It also allows their family, friends and caregivers to participate in their daily lives, while making sure they get the level of care they require. 

  • Elders can have pets if they choose to

While this might not be the case for everyone, a large number of elderly people will choose to have a pet companion, to make sure they aren’t lonely. If relegated to a home or facility, they will not be able to have their pets with them. Having their pet means that they are likely to experience less stress, less loneliness, a higher sense of purpose, and increased calming effects on those with dementia, anxiety and heart problems. 

  • Caregivers can help with daily activities, respond quickly to emergencies, and are a call away

Caregiving can be helpful, but tedious. You may not be able to handle everything yourself, so the next best thing to do is to hire a professional caregiver. A caregiver could perform many tasks, including: feeding, bathing, dressing, preparing meals, housekeeping, keeping company, providing transportation, giving medical reminders, 24/7 live in care, and many more! 

What can you do at home to improve the mental health of a loved elder?

  • Make sure they are provided for, and that you know how to contact a doctor or professional, when they need it.
  • Encourage them to exercise, go on walks, or do any physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Make the effort to educate yourself in regards to their afflictions. If they are diagnosed with a mental health illness, you should study up on it, so that you know what they are dealing with.
  • Discuss their diagnosis and treatment options with them, and help them identify their problems as soon as possible.
  • Allow them the freedom to socialize the way they want to, and schedule times that the entire family can get together.
  • Soothe them when they are absent-minded or unfocused, this is common the older you get. Instead of blaming them for being forgetful, gently remind them where things are, and help them find what they need quickly.
  • Make sure that the care they receive is client centered, goal oriented and continuous.
  • Talk to the caregiver and give them accurate information about your loved one. The more information you can share, the more the caregiver can tailor a plan for your loved one. 
Helpful Advice

The Effects of Digitalism on Children

Around the world, digital technologies have rapidly become an active part of everyday life. There has been a seismic shift in the way people interact with their environments, from work to leisure, from healthcare to food & grocery management. Whether it is through social media, payment wallets or apps for a plethora of needs, we have digital technologies to aid us in most aspects of our lives. This is true for children as well. Due to the restrictions imposed upon large sections of the world population during the Covid-19 pandemic, numerous schools had to move towards online education – further digitalizing children’s life world over. 

Children today have been a part of the digital world for their whole lives, unlike people born before the 2000s. They are active digital consumers, even at a relatively young age, interacting with a number of new and interactive digital technologies. They are almost always ‘connected’ to the digital world – depending on digital services for everything from school to social interactions. This level of digital interaction comes with a number of positives and negatives. Children could use these technologies to further express themselves, to learn more (at a faster speed), to connect socially with others their own age, and to learn a more globalized approach to life. However, there are several drawbacks to letting children interact with these emerging digital technologies – they are often targeted by online predators, cyber bullies and harmful content, that they may not be able to find their way past. 

Advantages of digitalization on children’s mental health 

  1. Increased IQ and EQ levels

Children around the world are showing higher levels of IQ & EQ than their predecessors. Many experts around the world attribute this to the rise of digital technologies and the access that children have to it. The increase in the number of technological devices and applications used by children can serve to increase their stimuli to a range of complex problems. 

  1. Educational & mental skill development

Digital technologies can have a positive impact on a child’s development right from adolescence, if they are exposed to the appropriate technologies. Educational and instructional tools can help children develop cognitive skills early on, by allowing them to interact with technologies that can have multiple benefits. Games designed to help children with memory, attention, language, math, science and more, can help children improve in areas where they may be lacking. 

  1. Enhanced learning opportunities & advanced problem solving

Children today have access to content on the Internet that would otherwise be extremely hard to access. Instead of having to depend on schools, libraries or after school tutorials, children can download any extra modules, work sheets, video tutorials and more, from the comfort of their living rooms. They can interact with other children, teachers, parents or experts online, through various apps and websites that will provide them with the opportunity to learn whenever and wherever they way. Visual design, technical drawing, coding, Web 3.0 and statistical programs help children develop both creative and cognitive skills. 

  1. Emergency management

One of the most positive effects of digitalization on children is that it helps parents keep track of their children, even in case of an emergency.  Mobile phones, smart watches, tablets, and more come equipped with tracking software, so you can locate your child if they appear lost or confused. By using alarm features on these devices, parents can make sure their children are trained to take medication on time, or to stay in touch in case of a medical emergency. 

  1. Critical thinking development

With the advent of interactive games, mental exercises and language tutorials, children can develop critical thinking skills much earlier than ever before. By exposing children to different technologies that can boost strategic thinking, parents can help their children think for themselves, while solving complex problems right from a young age. 

  1. Engaged through entertainment

Parents can find a wide range of technologies that can provide their children with informational content that is most interesting to them, and thus they can learn while they have fun! Parents can use digital technologies to help their children with a variety of problems, ranging from common boredom to attention deficit disorders. Children can enjoy their leisure time, by working on activities that can help them build better mental health, instead of focusing on negative things. 

  1. Staying socially connected

With the advent of social media, children can now stay in touch with the world around them easier than ever. They can keep in touch with their family and friends, at the click of a button, thus expanding their social connectivity and reach. If monitored properly, digital technologies can help children connect with others within their own age-group, who share their same interests, much easier than ever before. 

Disadvantages of digitalization on children’s mental health 

  1. Lower attention spans

The extreme use of digital technologies such as tablets, laptops and tablets can lead to difficulty in concentration and can cause distractions to children. The misuse of apps and technologies aimed at educating children can actually result in a lack of focus, short attention span and other learning disabilities in children, especially if experts have not certified the apps or technologies.

  1. Minimized ‘real world’ interactions

A number of digital technologies available to children tend to ‘gameify’ learning, by rewarding children with levels, stars, and more. Children who do not like socializing are more likely to distract themselves in these virtual worlds where they may feel more comfortable. However, this will just serve as a temporary problem to a problem that will only grow as they become older. Children must be encouraged to maintain a balance between their online and real world interactions, so that they learn to get along with people in various settings. 

  1. Increased aggression levels

Children tend to have colorful imaginations that can easily be manipulated by online interactions. Games in general could increase aggression levels in children, since they could lead to frustration in children who are not equipped to handle failure yet. Violence and frightening images depicted in games or social media, could lead to unhealthy emotions building up in children. 

  1. Health problems lead to mental health problems

Overexposing children to digital technologies can lead to a number of physical health problems that can have a negative impact on their mental health. Some of the most common problems include: neck pains, skeletal distortion/bad body posture, numbness in the arm, hand or fingers, vision problems, sleep issues and obesity. If children use technology to offset physical activities in real life, it can have an extremely adverse effect on their physical and mental health wellbeing. 

  1. Cyber bullying, abuse and other security risks

While social media can help children stay entertained, it can also lead to cyber bullying, which is a common problem in the digital age. The anonymity of the Internet gives rise to a number of harmful comments and posts from all corners of the world. Children could be bullied over their appearance, number of social contacts, interests, mental health and more. It is important to monitor children’s social media in order to make sure predators aren’t targeting them.

  1. Risk of depression, social anxiety and fear of missing out

It is easy for children to compare themselves and their lives to those of other people online. This can cause a high level of social anxiety and even depression in children, who may turn to social media in order to feel better, thus continuing the cycle. Instead of them falling deeper into the social media hole, it is important to bring them out of it and base them in reality. In extreme cases, it is important to seek out the help of an expert who can help your child cope with their difficulties. 

Helpful Advice

7 Effective Behavioural Changes That Can Improve Mental Health in Adults

Around 14% of the Indian population suffers from some variation of mental health disorders, while an even higher percentage will face mental health crises at some point in their lives. Every year, more and more Indians sign up for mental health therapy of some sort, and this barely scratches the surface of India’s growing mental health problems. Indians face a lot of problems in seeking health for their mental health concerns including: social stigma, an incredibly low therapist to patient ratio (7.5:1000000) and high costs of continuous treatments. 

So how does one go about improving their mental health, in their own home & environment? A lot of therapists recommend identifying the pillars of good mental health, honest introspection, and adopting or changing daily practices to foster total body wellness. Today, you can access mental health services easier than ever before – whether you go in person, attend sessions online, or even through apps, WhatsApp and SMS. However, if you are unsure of what steps you can take, personally, to alleviate your mental health concerns, you could try enforcing some of the behaviors listed below. 

  1. Add Movement To Your Life

Until quite recently, humans have always had to be active in order to survive and thrive. Until the advance of modern transportation & technology, activities such as walking long distances, dealing with manual labor & exercising while working were commonplace for most people. With increasing reliance on technology that decreases our need for physical activity, it is important to find ways to make up for this. 

Be it through scheduled exercise, walks through nature, sporting activities, or manual activities such as gardening & dancing, you can add activities to your everyday life that will help you alleviate a number of mental health concerns. 

  1. Control Your Rest

Sleep is essential to each and every one of us. However, in a world dominated by hyper-evolutionary technology, our sleep patterns can go totally unregulated. We also need to find time to simply rest our minds and bodies, to let ourselves rejuvenate stress-free. 

We can do this through breathing exercises, yoga, light exercises and more. You can lie back in bed, even if you aren’t sleepy, with your eyes closed for a period of time, until you feel your mind calm down. You can take a walk or spend time with your pet, or find a quiet place in a beautiful area to just be one with the world around you. 

As far as sleep goes, set an exact time to go to bed, and to wake up. It is important to address sleep issues as soon as possible, since it has been shown that bad sleep habits can adversely affect your mental health. So remember to rest your brain, and sleep as peacefully as you can. 

If you find it hard to sleep, try exercising or going for a walk to make yourself tired. If you still find it hard to sleep, then at the least try to relax your body & mind while sitting in bed, emptying all negative thoughts from your brain in the process. 

  1. Eat For Your Brain

Over the course of time, the reason for which we eat food has changed significantly. People now eat for the flavor of food, and for enjoyment, whereas we once used to eat to survive. By foregoing healthy food, for those that give us comfort or joy, we are denying our body the nutrients it needs to function properly. Just as eating unhealthy food can lead to your body putting on weight, unhealthy food can have adverse effects on your brain and cognitive functions. 

To keep your brain optimally charged, try eating a balanced, nutritious diet that is packed with brain-rich foods. Berries, turmeric, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, nuts, coffee & omega 3 rich fatty fish are just some foods that can help your brain get the energy it needs. 

  1. Connect, Connect, Connect

Humans need social connectivity to thrive. Without the proper amount of social interaction, we are bound to feel lonely, disenfranchised & left behind. Social connection is one of the most important factors to keep in mind while evaluating mental health problems. 

Try to connect with other people in some way or the other. Talk about your problems with family, friends or acquaintances – keeping your problems to yourself seldom helps. Go out and make new friends through a new hobby, skill or interest. Find the people that you connect with the most, and put more effort into fostering those relationships. Be there for people around you who need help, and rely on others to help you get through your bad times. 

  1. Respect Your Boundaries/Limitations

As humans, we tend to believe that we are limitless creatures, and as we grow up, this notion erodes away. The inability to fulfill various tasks that we see others do with ease can be a source of internal conflict for many people. This does not have to be the case. Each and every one of us can find specific things that we do better than others, and it is important to celebrate. However, it is just as important to acknowledge and be open about our various limitations and boundaries, so that we may learn to forgive our failures. Setting boundaries for things you don’t like can help to reduce anxiety, depression and self-esteem issues. It can be extremely cathartic and uplifting to be able to set personal boundaries based on your preferences, because it exemplifies putting your own interested ahead of others’. 

  1. Exercise Mindfulness

Mindfulness is an ability that most of us have, but aren’t taught about. Practicing mindfulness can help you be fully present in any given moment, while it helps you take stock of your likes & dislikes, your strengths and weaknesses, your emotional triggers, etc. 

By focusing inward, and understanding your own psyche, you will be able to achieve a balanced center from which you can learn how to control your mind. Being mindful does not have to involve yoga or any activity, rather it is about creating a comfortable space for yourself that helps you introspect and learn from your experiences. Think of it as a way to take your brain off autopilot mode, and gaining mental control for yourself.  

  1. Regulate Your Emotions

Do not let your emotions control the way you live. Instead, regulate them just as you would other activities, and gain control over them. Once you have identified the issues, activities, people and other variables that cause your mind to get triggered negatively, you can work towards negating the effects of these emotions. 

Successfully regulating your emotions will help you focus more on the positive feelings that you have, and will help you build your life around those emotions, rather than being weighed down by the negatives. Once you are able to do this, thinking realistically (for yourself) becomes much easier – balancing imagination and the real world. 

By regulating our emotions and thoughts, it becomes much easier to see the world as it is, rather than the way we perceive it to be. Usually, this helps us realize what is important to us, and helps us keep a conscious account of the emotional toll we experience. 

By successfully implementing these 7 habits, your life can become easier, less stressful, and more productive. You will be able to identify the emotions, people and activities that bring you the most mental anguish, and then approach them with a healthy & positive mindset. Remember, your mental health is just as important as physical health, so make it a point to take care of it as well as you can!

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