13 October 2011

The high cost of ageing

We are living longer thanks to advances in medicine, but rising costs are often beyond the fixed incomes that support the aged and the first area to suffer is a healthy diet.


As we live longer thanks to advances in medicine, unanticipated factors, including health and financial circumstances, have to be dealt with. Unfortunately rising costs are often beyond the fixed incomes that support the aged and the first place senior citizens try to save money is by no longer following a healthy diet. Many hard-pressed older citizens tend to deny themselves the correct nutrients, thus depleting their immune systems. We’ve all heard the horror stories of seniors resorting to eating pet food.

For those welcoming their aged relatives into their homes, many adaptations, be they temperamentally, psychologically or even structurally, have to be made.

Hylton Mallach of M-Kem 24-Hour Medicine City, (affectionately known as Mr M), himself a Senior Citizen, is well aware and sympathetic to the cause of the affected.

“Anticipate the possible consequences and be prepared for what will, hopefully, never occur”, he says, “rather than be in denial and be faced with making drastic changes to one’s lifestyle at short notice.”

“Many age-related afflictions are gradual processes, which become perpetual with age.  Such as high blood pressure and other circulatory problems, arthritis, as well as Type 2 Diabetes.  Besides which, medical aids would cater for, at least, a large percentage of that cost and would naturally be budgeted for.”

“Unfortunately, many Senior Citizens suffer with Dementia and Alzheimer’s and the drugs prescribed are often not paid for by medical aids and are inclined to very expensive, upwards of R1000 each per month, despite the fact that M-Kem’s maximum dispensing fee of R26.00 (plus Vat) is added to their cost price.”

“Older folk are inclined to fall easily; often resulting in broken bones and thereafter requiring the aid of orthopaedic tri-wheelers, walkers, wheelchairs, and commodes etc. which are stocked at M-Kem Medicine City.  I always caution against the use of inferior quality apparatus which, if not up to standard, could lead to catastrophic consequences, such as broken hips, should the patient fall.”

“Although unpleasant to talk about, I have to mention the very sensitive area of incontinence, both urinary and faecal.  As a result of changes in the ageing body, this is almost inevitable to a greater or lesser degree.  Health Professionals are trained to give advice in this area and in particular M-Kem’s nursing sisters, pharmacists and many floor assistants have particular training in this field and advice is completely free.”

“Self-selection of items for the aged is not advised, as the range is extensive and complex and definitely ‘one size fits all’ does not apply. As M-Kem is open 24 hours a day it means we have a qualified pharmacist on duty at all times and nursing sisters most of the time.  Men and women requiring catheters, incontinence pads and incontinence underwear and the numerous other products, will be assisted in their selection with empathy and understanding.” 

“In consideration of the Senior Citizen, we have installed a chair-lift in the pharmacy, enabling easy access to the coffee shop, salons, wig clinic, Green Cross Shoe shop etc. on the first floor and we have disabled parking bays right outside the entrance”, he says.

Contact M-Kem 24-Hour Medicine City on 021-948-5706 for more information or see


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