Old age is commonly perceived as the “Help Age” requiring dependence in physical, psychological and social forms. With the doubling population of elderly estimated to touch 12 per cent by 2025, geriatrics as a branch of medicine assumes special importance. Geriatrics caters to elderly population more than 60 years – including prevention, early detection, treatment and rehabilitation. “Healthy and graceful ageing" – making ageing an active and enjoyable experience is the motto of geriatricians world wide." The elderly are prone to multiple ailments as diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis, dental caries and multiple fractures," says Dr Medha Rao, HOD Geriatric Care, MS Ramaiah Medical College and Hospital. In the current scenario, the number of elderly as well as the life expectancy is rising due to improved health facilities and timely healthy checkups. Dr Pretesh Kiran, consultant, Geriatric Care, St John's Medical College and Hospital observes, "India will have close to 13 per cent of its population in the 60 plus age bracket. In the current scenario, over 70 per cent of the elderly people are dependent on others, mainly their children for their economic and social needs. However, the family structure in India is rapidly shifting from the joint and third generation family to nuclear families, thus resulting in decreasing support for the elderly. "It is important for the young to inculcate the habit of saving for their old age. It is also important for today's youngsters to promote and preserve their health in order to lead a healthier life in the future. Issues such as poor dietary practices and a sedentary lifestyle need to be addressed early on in life in order to ensure a hassle-free old age," says Dr Pretesh. If an individual has ailments like diabetes, hypertension, kidney and cardiovascular problems, they need to make provisions for a later health plan. Tips to age with good health Follow a balanced diet with 60 per cent carbohydrates, 30 per cent proteins and 10 per cent fats with 7 per cent saturated fats and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Physical activities like daily jogging, brisk walking, swimming must be followed on a regular basis. Say 'No' to addictions like smoking, alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Maintain good oral hygiene and undergo annual dental checks. Make sure you have annual health checks after 18 years of age (as per US preventive task force guidelines) including blood sugar and blood pressure check ups. Those with family history of diabetes, hypertension, premature coronary artery disease in family are advised to start early and be vigilant about the onset of these diseases. Early detection and treatment of diabetes, hypertension with close follow-ups are essential to prevent long term complications like kidney disease and heart ailments. Good retirement plans with financial investment starting in early working years and having healthy positive mental attitude forms important pillars of active ageing. Adding life to years and years to life is the goal of geriatrics in its preventive and curative aspects.