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SENIOR CITIZENS:THE VULNERABILITIES OF INDIA’S ELDERLY



  Jun 21, 2024

SENIOR CITIZENS:THE VULNERABILITIES OF INDIA’S ELDERLY



The Ageing Phenomenon

• Longevity and Low Reproduction: The 21st century has seen remarkable improvements in human longevity coupled with low reproduction rates, leading to an ageing population.

• Redefining Ageing: Ageing is increasingly viewed not just in terms of age but also considering related functional aspects and evolving vulnerabilities.

Key Vulnerabilities in India

1. Restrictions in Daily Activities: About 20% of the elderly experience limitations in activities of daily living.

2. Multi-Morbidity: Many elderly individuals suffer from multiple chronic diseases.

3. Poverty and Income Absence: A significant portion of the elderly population lives in poverty without any stable income.

4. Social and Financial Dependency: The familial and household composition often exacerbates these vulnerabilities.

Addressing Vulnerabilities

• Inclusion and Social Security: A multi-pronged approach involving inclusive policies and social security measures is necessary.

• Life Preparatory Measures: Ensuring financial independence and promoting healthy, active, and productive years for the elderly.

• Community and Household Dynamics: Understanding and addressing the vulnerabilities arising from household and familial structures.

Future Projections

• Demographics: The elderly population is projected to reach 319 million by mid-century, with a significant number of women, many of whom will be widows.

• Health and Longevity: While future elderly populations may have better education and economic conditions, they may face increased health challenges and chronic ailments due to rising longevity.

Health and Nutrition Concerns

• Chronic Diseases: 75% of the elderly suffer from one or more chronic diseases, with diabetes and cancer being particularly prevalent.

• Mental Health: A significant portion of those aged 45 and above report mental health issues, including depression.

• Food Insecurity: Issues of food insecurity, such as eating smaller portions or skipping meals, affect the elderly, impacting their overall nutrition and health.

Awareness and Welfare Measures

• Lack of Awareness: There is limited awareness of welfare provisions and legal protections for the elderly, with only 12% aware of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.

• Abuse and Neglect: Around 5% of the elderly report experiencing abuse, especially women in rural areas, indicating a need for greater protection and social agency.

Recommendations

• Social Agency Creation: Developing innovative institutions and social agencies to support the elderly and change their perception from liability to asset.

• Active Life Course: Focusing on ensuring an active and fulfilling life course for the future elderly, promoting their well-being and reducing vulnerabilities.



SRIRAM’s



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