Senior Citizens/Aged

Mains Marks Booster     1st August 2023        
output themes
  • A society's older population is a significant resource. Growing older is a natural process that comes with possibilities and difficulties. 
  • Everyone 60 years of age or over is deemed elderly according to the National Elderly Policy.
  • India has 104 million senior adults (60 years and above), or 8.6% of the total population, according to the Census of 2011. There are more women than men among seniors (60+).
  • According to the Quality of Life for Elderly Index from the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM), the percentage of seniors in the population is expected to increase from 7.5% in 2001 to over 12.5% by 2026 and reach 19.5% by 2050.

Challenges faced by senior citizens

Related concepts

Social

    • Under the influence of industrialization, urbanization, technical and technological progress, education, and globalization, Indian society is undergoing a fast shift.
    • Since intergenerational links were a defining characteristic of the traditional family, they are eroding and changing as a result of the conventional beliefs and institutions.
  • Other issues:
      • children's disregard for their elderly parents.
      • retirement-related disillusionment.
      • Elderly people feel helpless, lonely, worthless, and isolated.
  • Generational Gap.

Health

  • The most common health conditions are blindness, locomotor impairments, and deafness.
  • Hospitals in remote regions lack geriatric care facilities. 
  • A recent survey found that 30% to 50% of older persons reported depressive symptoms. Most elderly people who live alone are women, often widows.
  • Poverty, ill health, and loneliness all have a significant link to depression.

Economic

  • Retirement and ageing parents' reliance on their children for fundamental needs.
  • Sudden rise in out-of-pocket costs for treatment.
  • The elderly who live alone or with just their spouse suffer adverse effects, most commonly poverty and despair, as a result of the migration of young people of working age from rural communities.
  • Inadequate housing options.
  • According to a national study conducted by the NGO HelpAge India, up to 47% of older people depend on their families for financial support, 34% rely on pensions and cash transfers, and 40% of those polled said they would like to work "as long as possible."

                                                          National Policy on Older Persons

  • The policy was adopted in 1999, calls for state assistance to meet older people's needs for housing, health care, and other necessities as well as their rights to an equitable share of development, protection from abuse and exploitation, and access to services that will enhance their quality of life. 
  • The strategy also addresses topics like social security, generational ties, the role of families as main carers, the function of non-governmental organizations’, workforce development, research, and training.

Schemes for Senior Citizens 

    • Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY): To provide financial security and a regular source of income to senior citizens.
    • Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana: To provide regular income and financial security to senior citizens.
  • Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana: To support elderly individuals in surmounting physical limitations associated with ageing and enabling them to lead a life of dignity and productivity.
  • Integrated Programme for Older Persons: To improve the quality of life of the aged group by providing basic needs like food, shelter, opportunities etc.
    • SAMPANN Project: Launched in 2018, for retired people from the Department of Telecommunications, to offer a smooth online method for processing and paying pensions.
  • SACRED Portal: It was developed by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, it allows anyone over the age of 60 to register and search for jobs and employment possibilities.
  • Seniorcare Ageing Growth Engine(SAGE): It was started with the intention of assisting those people who are interested in starting their own business offering services for aged care.
    • Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana: Under this scheme government has incorporated awareness-raising and sensitization programs with school and college students to enhance intergenerational ties.
    • It attempts to give people, families, and groups information and educational resources so they can comprehend the ageing process better.

    Way forward

    • Protecting older people from impoverishment and all the ills that may accompany it is the first step towards ensuring that they live dignified lives.
    • Near-universal social security pensions have been attained in the southern States as well as India's poorest States like Odisha and Rajasthan. 
    • Further, redesigning the National Social Assistance Program, will make it much simpler for all States to take the same action.
    • There is also a requirement of additional services and resources, such as health care, equipment for people with disabilities, help with everyday activities, recreational possibilities, and a healthy social life.
    • A preferable strategy would be to include all widows and elderly or handicapped people as eligible, subject to clear and unambiguous "exclusion criteria".

    Conclusion

    • Eliminating the stigma attached to ageing in India is the first step in reducing the financial cost.
    • Behavior change may be influenced by education, public awareness campaigns, and innovative projects like Switzerland's time bank.
    • Furthermore, it is thought crucial to enhance our pension systems through increasing funding and coverage. To achieve this, the government must designate a particular budget for the elderly population.
    Samadhaan