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Challenges Faced By The Ageing Society And How To Curb It
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The growing necessity to delve more into geriatric studies is a sign of positivity. As per WHO’s report, it is estimated that the ageing population of the world will increase from 900 million to 2 billion from a given period of 2015 to 2050. NGOs have a major role behind this. From providing home support for the elderly to creating social awareness, they have done a tremendous job to entail everything that is needed to tackle the problems faced by elderly people. In developed countries, such activities are being carried out with an indomitable spirit but in comparison to developing countries like India, there is a lot to be done given that our problems are very different, one of them being overpopulation. But the road to a better future is being paved steadily; therefore, let us have a look at the major challenges which the ageing society faces in general and how that can be controlled.
Population Explosion- As mentioned above, the constant increase in population has become the apex cause of concern. According to the 2016 report by Ministry for Statistics and Programme Implementation, there were nearly 104 million people aged sixty or above which according to that year comprised of 8.5% of the country’s population. This is increasing the burden for social organisations to provide a sustainable life to the elderly people.
Lack of Healthcare Services - Another major factor is the lack of adequate measures to provide sound healthcare facilities for every elderly person. There is news of old people dying because of not getting proper treatment, unable to afford treatment or worse, not able to find a bed in hospitals, which has become a common thing. In many rural areas, the situations are disparaging. Despite efforts by various governments, elders in the villages suffer the most.
Lack of Infrastructure - Similar to the above points, there is a lack of infrastructure for many aged people in India as a result, are suffering painful deaths. Although there are many senior citizen homes in India, many elderly people aren’t so fortunate to afford them. Moreover, there have been complaints that services are not up to the mark, every home doesn’t provide enough caregivers to look after, no sociable activities, etc. In not so urbanised areas, there are problems with the electricity and water supply, there be no proper hospitals or poorly constructed nursing homes as well.
Social Support Deficiency- The older a person grows, he/she develops a sense of insecurity. That is because many elderly individuals are victims of isolation and negligence. You will find a community centre or club which specifically adheres to the geriatric populace. Moreover, children move out to distant places or force them to stay separately which leave them yearning for physical and moral support.
Solutions to solve the challenges faced by the senior citizens should be for both, monetary and non-monetary reasons. Let us have a look at them
Despite being such a populated and heterogenic country, there are many who not even consider that population is actually a problem. This is mostly the case in rural areas. But wherever it is, the problem needs to be handled with effective means. This cannot be controlled unless some dogmatic government rule impedes the natives from producing beyond a specified number, but it’s important to provide every ageing citizen with a prominent life to live. There should be various programmes that provide financial aid in the form of employment that is suitable for people for that age so that they can live off independently like integrated plans that cover every small big, city and rural area to provide the necessary costs for food, clothing, shelter and hygiene for the suffering individuals. In fact, there are government plans which have been implemented nationwide to provide care for the elderly.
Healthcare in India needs to significantly improve since huge expenditures are being spent to meet healthcare costs, but many aged individuals are still devoid of any benefit. The older people come from different walks of life because of the diversity in culture and background. Their physical, psychological and social needs should be considered and carefully examined. Not just hospitals or nursing homes but there should be various health camps conforming especially to senior citizens and health drives that will instigate the elderly populace to visit and understand self-care. For a person who is unable to manoeuvre from his/her home should be given the requisite in the form of treatments, check-ups at their private spaces itself.
Indeed there are a lot of old age homes that accommodate senior citizens, but there are many more who are unable to afford such shelters or are unaware. Although building more old age homes isn’t the only solutions but old people, in particular, face a lot of issues in places where the basic amenities aren’t fully available. Not all are recipients of proper housing. In villages or smaller cities, there are perpetual problems of water or power crisis which should be laid to rest. In the case of natural disasters, houses should be able to withstand any calamity that strikes or should have the proper evacuation means that are especially suitable for old people. For houses as well as old age homes, the living conditions should be worthy for everyone to live with affordable rates/rents. In the case of the latter, proper services should be provided.
Humans are psychosocial beings. As older they grow, due to demented health, they aren’t able to socialise like the yesteryears. Their needs need to be understood. An aged person living off independently can visit day care homes where he can meet his peers and converse about the day to day life. There should be clubs organised by the respective RWA especially for them, where people from different walks of life can come and indulge in various activities. Senior citizens also suffer from various diseases that may restrict them to beds or hospitals. During such times of distress, it’s better to visit them or interact with them once a while; be it your kin or someone from the neighborhood.
Thus, the world would be a much better place if we can create a place worthy for our elders. There are a lot of challenges but to overcome them by ingenious means remains the ultimate goal. On a personal level, you too can do a lot of things for them. If you see anyone suffering, contact the senior citizen helpline of your city immediately.
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