Elderly Population in India

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Elderly Population in India

Source-This post on Elderly Population in India has been created based on the article “The vulnerabilities of India’s elderly “published in “The Hindu” on 18 June 2024.

UPSC Syllabus-GS Paper-2- Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population by the Centre and States.

Context -By mid-century, India’s elderly population is expected to reach 319 million, growing annually at about 3%. This group will mostly consist of women, with a sex ratio of 1,065 females per thousand males. Additionally, 54% of elderly women are projected to be widows.

In India, the four major vulnerabilities faced by the elderly population are restrictions in activities of daily living, multi-morbidity, poverty, and the absence of any income. According to the Longitudinal Ageing Survey of India (LASI, 2017-18), approximately 20% of the elderly face each of these challenges, with significant differences between states. These findings can help focus welfare efforts on addressing these issues among the elderly population. Elderly Population in India

How is the rising elderly population in India being viewed in relation to familial transitions?

1) The increase in elderly people isn’t happening by itself; it’s part of broader changes in families, including smaller households. There is a need to consider how elderly individuals live together in households, especially when there are multiple elderly people living together.

2) In households with elderly, issues such as dependence, caregiving, social security, and financial protection are more important compared to households without elderly. This shows that elderly vulnerabilities rises from household circumstances rather than just their individual characteristics.

What are the issues faced by the elderly population in India?

1) A concerning aspect is that 25% of the elderly report poor health, higher than the 20% among those aged 45 and above. Chronic diseases affect 75% of the elderly, and 40% of those aged 45 and above have disabilities. Diabetes and cancer are prevalent among India’s elderly, posing significant threats.

2) Mental health is becoming a growing concern, with 20% of people aged over 45 reporting issues, mostly linked to depression.

3) Food insecurity is an issue, affecting 6% of individuals aged over 45 who consume reduced portions or skip meals, while 5.3% go without food despite feeling hungry.

4) Awareness about welfare provisions is quite low, as only 12% of people know about the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, and just 28% are aware of the various benefits available to the elderly. Similarly, schemes such as IGNOAPS, IGNWPS, and Annapurna are also poorly recognized.

5) India’s elderly generally have low life expectations, and their vulnerabilities lead to various forms of abuse from family, community, and society. Abuse is reported by 5% of the elderly, particularly affecting women in rural areas are most neglected.

A detailed article on Care for elderly population in India can be read here.

What should be the way forward?

1) it’s important to encourage preparations for life that ensure not only financial independence but also healthy, active, and productive years, especially with longer lifespans.

2) There is a pressing need to empower this vulnerable group socially. There is a need to establish new types of institutions to change how society views the elderly, valuing them as assets rather than burdens.

3) Given ongoing changes such as youth mobility, digitalization in services, and social exclusion, it’s important to prioritize enabling an active life for future elderly individuals. The elderly should qualify for the acronym Equip Life with Dreams Energy Renewal Longing and Yearn.

Question for practice

What challenges do elderly people in India encounter? How can these challenges be addressed in the future?

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