The Sai Medical Unit (SMU) in conjunction with the Sathya Sai International Organisation of Australia recently ran a successful Sai Health Week (SHW) from the 5th to 13th September 2020. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, most of the events had to be showcased online. In Western Australia however, limited public gatherings were allowed and SMU organised a Healthy Ageing Workshop (HAW) targeting at raising the awareness of important health issues concerning those over the age of 40 years old. The audience comprised of Sai devotees and members of the public.
The MC introduced the workshop by presenting Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s vision of ideal healthcare, which is predicated on six principles. These principles are based on a strong commitment to universal state-of-the-art healthcare and helped the audience to appreciate the deeper purpose of SHW and the HAW.
A variety of topics were presented by young adults, a group of qualified medical and para-medical specialists over 4 hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon at the Perth Human Values Centre (PHVC). The workshop however was anything but lazy. There were a total of 6 sessions and each were short and sharp, lasting no more than 20 to 25 minutes with 5 to 10 minutes of question and answer time at the end of each session. The quick pace kept the audience engaged and participative, resulting in the PHVC remaining at the maximum COVID-restricted capacity of 60 participants throughout the workshop.
The first topic was on eye conditions of the ageing presented by an ophthalmologist, who discussed the four major eye conditions people suffer from as they age. Videos were shown of the surgical procedures for correction and valuable tips were provided for eye care and management.
Next, two clinical pharmacists discussed the importance of sleeping well to age well. They explored various medications helpful for improved sleep quality, addressed misunderstandings around the use of medications and demonstrated relaxation exercise for better sleep. Sathya Sai Baba’s recommendations on sleep for each age group from infancy to late adulthood were also shared.
The third topic addressed dental health concerns for the mature patient by a dental surgeon. Common issues such as dry mouth, mouth ulcers, bad breath, medication induced problems, tongue health, dental decay and options to replace missing teeth were discussed. There was also a discussion around a very popular Ayurvedic technique called oil pulling and its impact on improving gum health.
This session was followed by an afternoon tea break where audience members had the opportunity stretch their legs, have a bite to eat of the lovely finger food provided by the Sai Ladies Wing, and ask more questions to the presenters.
The fourth topic was Stroke – Think Fast! This session covered stroke, one of the most significant illnesses creating debilitation in our community. The session covered the causes of stroke, main risk factors and modes of prevention. The talk finished with a description of the F.A.S.T. (Face droopy, Arm weak, Speech slurred, Time to act fast) campaign, which is designed to help us quickly identify stroke, so we can seek urgent medical help.
The fifth topic covered general health and well-being for the older-aged population. Topics covered included key primary care areas of diet and nutrition, exercise and mental health. General guidance on dietary requirements and the importance of certain food groups were given. Benefits of exercise were presented, including physical and mental health. Finally, important information on advanced care planning was presented, including what it means and where to obtain further information.
The final session began with a creative visualisation by a general medical practitioner passionate about integrative health – mind, body and soul. She guided all participants to access their higher self where perfect health resides and draw from that space to heal. This was followed by useful advice from an exercise physiology student and personal trainer on how to minimise the risk of falling through simple exercises to strengthen the body. There was also a demonstration on how an elderly person should correctly pick themselves off the floor after a fall.
To conclude the session, the panel of presenters answered questions from the floor and were given gifts as a token for their time. The audience voiced their heartfelt appreciation to the presenters and requested that more such event can be organised in the future. We thank Swami for the opportunity to serve Him through his effervescent seniors and pray that we can continue to be His instruments of Sai MediCare.
In addition to the Healthy Ageing Workshop in Western Australia, a number of other presentations were made around Australia by the Sai Medical Unit as part of Sai Health Week. The links to view these presentations are provided in the links below: