Senior Citizens

  • The percentage share of people aged above 60 years is only 8.9%, in absolute terms
  • They constitute more than 10.4 crore persons (3 times Canada population)
  • In 2050, it will be 19.4%. By 2050, 2 in 10 people will be 60 years or older.  Increased life expectancy due to advances in medicine is one of the major reason.
  • Mohini Giri’s report on welfare of senior citizens, which was given in 2011. No action taken
  • SC has asked the Centre for a roadmap to provide them basic facilities like shelter, food and healthcare
  • 65% of the elderly in India are dependent on others for their financial requirements and undergo financial crisis.
  • Need to ensure healthy, meaningful & dignified life.
  • Government must ensure policies that enable older people to continue participating in society.
  • The stereotype of older people as frail and dependent is not correct. Many contributions are often overlooked while their needs and demands are overemphasized.
  • There are several welfare schemes for the elderly but successive governments’ lack of concern and lethargy towards this section of the population had rendered these schemes non-operational and defunct over the years.
  • Besides, no money is allocated by big companies under the corporate social responsibility head
Major issues faced by elderly:
  • Elder Abuse
  • Economic Dependency
  • Failing Health
  • Emotional Dependence
  • Align health system with needs of older people
  • Develop system to provide long term care
  • Ensure everyone can grow old in an age-friendly environments
  • Devise new methods to address age related issues
  • It states that the continuously declining inter-generational support within families necessitates the development of well-developed, self- sustaining pension system in the country.
  • The report calls for including personal finance and retirement planning as a part of formal education curriculum as they promote the overall objective of financial literacy.
  • The promotion of pension system is vital as it helps in achieving twin objectives of providing income security to a vast number of ageing population.
  • It also helps in garnering long-term funds for critical, growth-driving sectors of the economy as also the capital market.
  • Hence, the report has called for sufficient incentivisation of intermediaries to increase penetration of pension system in the country.
  • In India, which is an under-penetrated financial market has most of the investors preferring to invest in fixed deposits (FDs), which account for more than 44% of the financial savings as opposed to the provident and pension funds which accounts to just 14% of the savings that are primarily fed by the organised section of the society.  
Elderly should be seen as a resource:
The elderly should be seen as a blessing, not a burden. The elderly are becoming the fastest growing, but underutilized resource available to humanity. Rather than putting them aside, physically (and mentally), to be cared for separately, they should be integrated into the lives of communities where they can make a substantial contribution to improving social conditions. The benefits of turning the ‘problem’ of the elderly into a ‘solution’ for other social problems is being demonstrated in several countries.
Vietnam’s example:
In Vietnam, Old People’s Associations (OPAs) are improving the lives of the elderly in many parts of the country. In a country of 90 million people, as many as 8.5 million are members of OPAs in their village and town communities. The associations are democratically run by the elderly in the communities. They set their own agendas, choose what community causes to apply themselves to, which elderly persons need special assistance and assign responsibilities among themselves. They represent the needs of the community and the elderly to government agencies, who also see them as a vital support for the government’s outreach programmes into communities.
How elderly can be utilized:
  1. Elderly can act as jury in courts, help youth overcome problems of drugs, violence; share their life experience like PM asking all retirees to save their work experience for newcomers;
  2. Can act as moral guides for community causes like Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, counsellors etc. and thus monetise and channelize their social capital.
  3. Can act as ambassadors of their community in traditions, various decentralised decision making process and social audits. Old People’s Associations OPAs in Vietnam are great example of cooperative way of functioning.
Thus they are of large value to the society. Schemes targeting their health, insurance, etc. should be given more boost so that their worth is utilised in economy and dependency issue is also addressed. Geriatric care like Atal Pension Yojana, Vrishha Pension scheme, National Health Protection Scheme etc. are good examples. Incentives should be given for penning down their life experience and being visitors in nearby educational institutes.
Ageing is becoming a major social and policy issue in India. Critically analyse the mutual relationship between Ageing and its impact on aged parents or grandparents, working women and children when they are living together in Indian homes. (200 Words)
Modernisation and Urbanisation is pushing Indian society from Joint family to Nuclear Family. Due to increasing average age and rising population old age people has become a crucial issue of discussion. It impact on:
  1. Old age people: Old age people do need physical and emotional support in this age. Family having women, children can act as major source of such support to them. Geriatric care is very crucial otherwise in this age the physical capacity is very low.
  2. Working Women: After giving birth to kids they have to return back to their job and for that Old age people can act as a major support.
  3. Children: Working parents can‘t give so much time to their children. Grandparents can ensure that right socialization and ethical values are getting incorporated by children in this age.
Govt. has launched Atal Pension Scheme; Geriatric care is included in NRHM. But large numbers of grandparents suffer from insufficient care being taken by their son, daughters. The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 was step in right direction but lack of stringent provisions has resulted in low success of such provisions.
Working age population holds resources and has responsibility to ensure care of their parents. The lack of care of old age person clearly shows lack of values and ethics among young population. We need to make some long term steps like changing our education system and making all citizens realise the importance of old age parents in our life.

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