A national survey carried out by the NGO HelpAge India has shown that as many as 47% of elderly people are economically dependent on their families for income and 34% are relied on pensions and cash transfers, while 40% of the surveyed people have expressed the desire to work “as long as possible”, highlighting the need to pay greater attention to social security of senior citizens in the country.
The report, released by Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry Secretary R. Subrahmanyam on the eve of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, was based on a survey with the involvement of 4,399 senior citizens and 2,200 caregivers across 22 cities.
The report stated that 52% of elderly people surveyed reported inadequate income; 40% said they do not feel financially secured; 57% of the elderly said their expenditure was excess than savings; and 45% claimed that the pension amount was not enough for survival.
“This suggests both financial planning for later years and social security needs much greater attention,” HelpAge India said in a statement, adding that it had been advocating for a ₹3,000 a month universal pension.
The survey also found that 71 of senior citizens were not working, while 36% were willing to work and 40% wanted to work “as long as possible”. Thirty per cent of elders were willing to volunteer their time for various social causes.
“One good news is that 87% elders reported there is availability of healthcare facilities nearby, however 78% elders mentioned unavailability of app-based online healthcare facilities and a significant 67% elderly reported they do not have any health insurance at this critical stage in their lives and only 13% are covered under government insurance schemes,” HelpAge India said.
The report highlighted the way elder abuse is perceived and reported. Fifty-nine per cent of elders felt that elder abuse was “prevalent” in society, but 10% reported being victims themselves.
While addressing the gathering, Mr. Subrahmanyam said the Ministry was working on a new national policy on senior citizens and it would be finalised in the coming few months.