Elderly the biggest sufferers of recession: Survey

Bindu Shajan Perappadan

“Even daily life has been affected severely due to decreasing income”

NEW DELHI: Understanding that when recession strikes there is an economic slow down and it’s the elderly in society who suffer the most, non-government organisation Agewell Foundation recently carried out a survey to understand the impact of recession on older people.

The survey found that during the period of recession senior citizens suffer the most because of failing incomes, lack of opportunities and withdrawal of facilities for want of funds. The study shows that a majority of respondents believe that the economy is really suffering and that many of them are finding it very hard to address their needs, even their daily life has also been affected severely due to their day-to-day decreasing income.

For the survey, a national representative sample of 1,500 people was formed in three age groups – 55-60 years, 61-65 years and 65-70 years – and 500 persons were selected from each age group. The group included retired older persons, businessmen, non-pensioners, men, women, educated and illiterate rural and urban people for their assessments of the economy’s condition and whether they have taken action in response to the changing economy, and if they felt enough was being done to address economic problems.

The broad objective of the study was to assess the impact of economic slowdown on older persons in recent times.

According to the survey, 86 per cent of all respondents said the economy was in very bad condition and getting worse. But a large numbers of elder people have started making radical changes such as getting gainful occupational engagements, reducing their expenses on recreational facilities and luxuries. Over 30 per cent said they have trouble paying for their daily needs – food, fuel, utilities and medicines.

The survey also found that government/private employees have postponed their plans to opt for voluntary retirement scheme. The respondents aged between 65-70 years are less likely than those in the age group of 55-65 to have taken steps to cope with a slowing economy. About 60 per cent of the respondents had stocks individually or through mutual funds.

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