GREYING POPULATION

India had 149 million older adults (10.5 %) in 2022. This figure will grow to 347  million (20.8 %) by 2050 according to projections.  

UNFPA Report 

  • decadal growth rate of the elderly population of India – 41% by 2046 it is likely that elderly population will have surpassed the  population of children (aged 0 to 15 years) in the country 
  • More than 40% of the elderly in India are in the poorest wealth quintile women, on average, had higher life expectancy at the age of 60 and at the  80, when compared to men 
  • predominance of widowed and highly dependent very old women among  people aged 80+ 

“Poverty is inherently gendered in old age when older women are more likely to  be widowed, living alone, with no income and with fewer assets of their own, and  fully dependent on family for support,” the report said. 

Challenges 

  • Increased dependency on kith and kin 
  • Social isolation and poverty : Breakdown of the joint family system leaves  elders devoid of the much needed social support 
  • Mental health issues : pessimism, nhilism, depression, anxiety, dementia  are most common 
  • Emotional, physical or financial abuse from family members Many towns and cities in India are not ‘elderly – friendly’ : Lack of  infrastructural facilities like ramps, handrails, pavements. 
  • Limited access to healthcare and financial services : due to lack of  awareness and ease of accessibility to these services for the elderly

ADMINISTRATIVE SET UP 

  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment : ensures equitable  treatment to such sections of society which have suffered social  inequalities, exploitation, discrimination and injustice.  
  • The Social Defence Division of the Ministry : caters to the requirements of  Senior Citizens among others 

SCHEMES & POLICIES 

  • Atal Pension Yojana 
  • AYUSH for senior citizens 
  • Bhavishya pension tracking system 
  • PM Vaya Vandana Yojana 
  • Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana 
  • National Policy on Senior Citizens 2011 

MEASURES 

  1. Proper planning for old age in all aspects such as lifestyle changes,  financial savings, physical health, etc. 
  2. Community integrated services for elders to make help available and  accessible 
  3. City and town planners should consider elder-friendly designs to improve  mobility and reduce dependency. 
  4. Encourage the creation and running of elderly self-help groups and short  term care facilities like creches or day-care facilities.  
  5. Implement more inclusive geriatric policy making addressing  gaps in all spheres. 

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