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the activities of MPHW should include aspects of health education. The stress should be not only on prevention of diseases and their early detection and amelioration, but also measures to ensure a positive health as much as the person's age permits.

It must be made known to the elderlies that losses are common in their stage of life. Instead of getting into despair they are to be advised to accept these losses realistically. The losses may be of any type: loss of vision, hearing, the use of a limb, speech, money, children, spouse and prestige. The death of spouse is the most tragic. The most important loss the elderly have to endure is the progressive loss of life itself. They should be counselled to share problems and difficulties with a view to make these stresses lighter. 'Shared problems become halved and shared joys multiply'. The fact that their children and other family member may differ from them need not mean any conflict. There is bound to be a generation gap and the elderly people may be more conservative and youngsters seek newer activities and ideas. These types of attitude in the youngsters need not necessarily indicate hostility towards the elders.

The family members, especially the younger ones are to be talked over about the acceptance of the aged members as part of the family. They should be particularly informed that old age is the future of every youth. It would be their turn to face it and hence it would pay them to look after their own elderlies, with a view to understand their own needs when they grow old. It has been said that old age is like a new country, the travellers to which are advised to get familiar with different aspects of that country before they embark on travel-its geography, the habits of people, climate, cloths, food and other aspects of that country. Suitable recreational facilities' are to be provided for the elderly, who are fairly well preserved physically for their age. They may be taken to the local movies or on a visit to the nearby temples. Such of those, who are eligible for Pension benefits and the Government Noon Meal Programme, but yet have not received, may be helped to secure these benefits by approaching the concerned authorities. Possibly, there are some who are without anyone to look after them and arrangement may be made to get them admitted into the 'Home for the Aged'. Attempts should be made to secure spectacles, hearing aids, walking sticks and warm clothing for winter for the elderlies. Contact with voluntary organisation like Helpage, Rotary, Lions etc. is to be established to get these benefits.

Final Challenge

When dealing with the elderly, the health workers should not be oblivious of their philosophical, religious and spiritual needs. It is not enough to advise them on matters of health, money and family and social aspects, important though they are. The big challenge that faces the elderly is their own dying. Many of them may not express, but an intelligent and a gentle conversation will reveal their attitude towards death in general and to their own dying. It is in this area that they need counselling on spiritual and philosophical matters. Many of them may have lost zest in their life and this symptom which may be due to depression has to be cleared. Philosophical and religious counselling could be carried out with the help of religious leaders, community and group discussion. The main aim in counselling to the aged is to invest him with dignity and a sense of being accepted by the family and the society. The main aim in counselling the family is to make the elderly an integral part of the family and not as an extra baggage and unwanted person.

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