‘India is ageing much faster than previously thought’

Dr. Chatterjee of AIIMS explains in his book how people look at the growth of older adults which impacts society

“India is ageing much faster than previously thought and is expected to have nearly 20% population of the world’s 60 years and above by 2050 with the largest number of older adults in the world,” said Prasun Chatterjee, Department of Geriatrics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Speaking about his new book — Health and Well Being in Late Life — Dr. Chatterjee said: “Through my book, I have tried to help people look at this tremendous growth of older adults which impacts nearly all sectors of the society from finance to social protection and family structures to intergenerational ties, in addition to humongous cost of complex health-related problems..”

He cautioned that the existing health system for the elderly is not commensurate with the felt-needs, especially to actively screen and manage various age-related complex health problems like fall, frailty, dementia and multi morbidity. “There is no mechanism to prevent and deal with 21st centuries menacing health problems like dementia and loneliness,” he said.

Currently six medical institutes — AIIMS, New Delhi; Madras Medical College, Chennai; Christian Medical College, Vellore; Amrita Institute of Medical Science, Kochi; Mahatma Gandhi Medical College, Pune and Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi provide postgraduate training in geriatric medicine.

Active ageing

Despite this, unlike many other developed nations, preparation for active ageing is not a priority in India, said Dr. Chatterjee. He noted that ageing population could be a demographic dividend but due to non-preparation the dependency ratio would increase exponentially. Furthermore, a pragmatic solution to make our senior citizens be active in late life is yet to be discussed in our country.

As per World Population Ageing Report by UN, older adults aged 65 and above would be expected to be more than the children aged 5 years or less the by end of 2019. In India, geriatric health care is changing with national programme for the Health Care of Elderly (NPHCE) being in process of implementation across the country.

“The objective is to provide easy access to promotional, preventive, curative and rehabilitative services to the elderly through community based primary healthcare approach, capacity building of the medical and paramedical professionals as well as the care-takers within the family. The book lets the reader understand how old age-related problems exist and can be positively tackled through clinical and non-clinical means,” the doctor concluded.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 7:20:07 AM |

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