Delhi

‘Deteriorating social status, loneliness making elderly feel left out’

Deteriorating social status, poor access to health and legal facilities, and crippling loneliness are some of the issues confronting the elderly population in the Capital, and even the country, a recent survey has suggested.

1,500 respondents in NCR

Titled ‘Changing Needs and Rights of Older People in India - A Review’, the study was conducted by Agewell Foundation.

It considered responses from 1,500 elderly people across Delhi-NCR as part of its nation-wide survey that included 15,000 aged citizens across 300 districts in 25 States.

According to the survey, the social status of the elderly in India has deteriorated in the past 15 years. Even healthcare facilities haven’t seen much of an improvement.

“Every second elderly respondent admitted that he/she was highly dependent on the family. Of the 15,000 respondents, half of them said their level of dependence on their children was quite high,” the survey noted.

As many as 38.96% of the elderly felt that there were not enough social interaction opportunities available to them.

Desire re-employment

Gainful re-employment, in fact, was something many respondents desired.

Also, the survey found that almost every second elderly person — 47.49% of respondents — was suffering from loneliness. As many as 52.51% of the respondents, however, said that they didn’t feel lonely.

As many as 64.1% of the respondents in urban areas were found suffering from loneliness. In rural areas, the corresponding figure stood at 39.19% of the elderly.

The study, which attempted to identify the reasons responsible for their loneliness, found that 36.78% of the elderly who claimed to feel lonely lived alone or with their spouse.

Himanshu Rath, the founder chairman of Agewell Foundation, said, “With the proportion of older people in the population increasing, they are struggling for their due share in the mainstream. They want to make their presence felt in society.”

The study concluded that a social security system, old age healthcare, empowerment of the elderly and protection of human rights are among issues that need to be addressed on priority basis.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 7:18:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/deteriorating-social-status-loneliness-making-elderly-feel-left-out/article19167088.ece

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