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Longitudinal Ageing Study in India: There will be over 319 million elderly by 2050

Longitudinal Ageing Study of India (LASI) Wave-1, is a full–scale national survey of scientific investigation of the health, economic, and social determinants and consequences of population ageing in India.

 Report will provide evidence base for national and state level programmes and policies for elderly population.

  • There will be over 319 million elderly by 2050, threefold the number identified by the Census in 2011.
  • Around 55 percent people above the age of 60 years suffer from a chronic disease.
  • Around 40 percent have some form of disability and 20 percent suffer from mental health issues. Also, 27 percent of this population group, which translates to roughly 35 million people, have multi-morbidities

                 LEARNING FROM HOME/WITHOUT CLASSES/BASICS

Population ageing is taking place in nearly all the countries of the world. By 2050, nearly 8 in 10 of the world’s older population will live in the less developed regions.

While global ageing can be seen as a symbol of medical, social, and economic advances and also has major health, social and economic consequences over the past half century, it also represents a significant policy challenge. According to the 2011 census, the 60+ population accounted for 8.6% of India’s total population or 103.84 million elderly.                    

        The process whereby the proportion of children in the population decreases and those of old persons increases is known as the “ageing of population”. General improvement in the health care facilities over the years is one of the main reasons for continuing increase in proportion of population of senior citizens.. Ensuring that they not merely live longer, but lead a secure, dignified and productive life is a major challenge.

Changing Social Structure and Institutions

                Indian society is undergoing rapid transformation under the impact of industrialization, urbanization, technical and technological change, education and globalization.

            Consequently, the traditional values and institutions are in the process of erosion and adaptation, resulting in the weakening of intergenerational ties that were the hallmark of the traditional family.

Economic Problems

Economic factors definitely play a major role in generating care for elderly people. Economic dependence is one of the major factors that very often affects the wellbeing of older persons.

Psychological Problems

The common psychological problems that most of the older persons experience are : feeling of powerlessness, feeling of inferiority, depression, uselessness, isolation and reduced competence. These problems along with social disabilities like widowhood, societal prejudice and segregation aggravate the frustration of elderly people.

Health Problems

Health problems are supposed to be the major concern of a society as older people are more prone to suffer from ill health than younger age groups. It is often claimed that ageing is accompanied by multiple illness and physical ailments. Besides physical illness, the aged are more likely to be victims of poor mental health, which arises from senility, neurosis and extent of life satisfaction.
Ageing is predominantly a women’s problem. Not only do women live longer but most of them are widows. They face serious discrimination with respect to their rights and are over burdened with familial responsibilities. This adversely affects their health, nutrition and mental well being.

                 The year 1999 was declared by the UN as the International Year of Older Persons followed on 13th Jan 1999, by the Government of India approving the National Policy for Older Persons for accelerating welfare measures and empowering the elderly in ways beneficial to them. Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 provides legal sanctions to the rights of the elderly. In addition constitutional provisions for old age security, old age pension, establishing old age homes, expanding geriatric services, liberalizing housing policy for elders have also been undertaken.

Relevant Constitutional Provisions

Article 41 of the Constitution provides that the State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want.

Article 47 provides that the State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties….

Legislations

National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP), 1999 Government of India adopted ‘National Policy on Older Persons’ in January, 1999. The policy defines ‘senior citizen’ or ‘elderly’ as a person who is of age 60 years or above The National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP) was announced in January 1999 to reaffirm the commitment to ensure the well-being of the older persons. The Policy envisages State support to ensure financial and food security, health care, shelter and other needs of older persons, equitable share in development, protection against abuse and exploitation, and availability of services to improve the quality of their lives. The primary objectives are:  to encourage individuals to make provision for their own as well as their spouse’s old age;  to encourage families to take care of their older family members; to enable and support voluntary and non-governmental organizations to supplement the care provided by the family;  to provide care and protection to the vulnerable elderly people;  to provide adequate healthcare facility to the elderly;  to promote research and training facilities to train geriatric care givers and organizers of services for the elderly; and to create awareness regarding elderly persons to help them lead productive and independent live.

The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 was enacted in December 2007, to ensure need based maintenance for parents and senior citizens and their welfare. The Act provides for: – • Maintenance of Parents/ senior citizens by children/ relatives made obligatory and justiciable through Tribunals • Revocation of transfer of property by senior citizens in case of negligence by relatives • Penal provision for abandonment of senior citizens • Establishment of Old Age Homes for Indigent Senior Citizens • Adequate medical facilities and security for Senior Citizens.

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