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The Increasing Demand For Senior Citizens' Assisted Living In India
India is witnessing a significant demographic shift with a rapidly aging population. As the younger generation migrates to other cities for job opportunities, many elders are left alone, yearning for companionship and care. Unfortunately, not all seniors can afford the luxury of old age homes. However, nonprofit organizations like SERUDS are bridging this gap by providing free old age homes and catering to the needs of the elderly population.
The Growing Elderly Population in India
According to a report by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the number of elderly people in India reached nearly 138 million in 2021. The proportion of the population aged 60 years or more has risen from 5.6% in 1961 to 10.1% in 2021. It is projected to further increase to 13.1% in 2031. In fact, the senior population is expected to grow by 130% between 2020 and 2050, reaching a staggering 320 million.
Demand for Living Facilities
As more Indians retire, there is a surging demand for living facilities tailored to the needs of senior citizens. However, the reality is ...
... that many homes remain unaffordable for a large portion of the elderly population. While those who can afford it move into gated senior homes, a significant segment of India's aging population relies on economic support from others for their livelihood.
Challenges of Social Security
A considerable number of older people in India, especially those in lower-income groups, face a lack of social security due to their reliance on the informal sector for income. This leaves them vulnerable and financially insecure in their old age. In 2019-20, over 9.3 million individuals aged 61 and older availed work benefits under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), highlighting the challenges faced by older workers.
Plight of Homeless Elderly
Approximately 20 million elderly individuals in India are homeless, without a place to call their own. Senior citizens living in poverty often experience abandonment by their own families due to their inability to earn a sustainable income. In such circumstances, free old age homes provided by organizations like SERUDS play a vital role in ensuring their well-being and providing a sense of belonging.
Challenges Faced by Old Age Homes
Old age homes, particularly the smaller and mid-sized ones, are facing significant challenges due to the economic downturn. These homes have traditionally relied on donations from local philanthropic individuals and business communities to sustain their operations. However, the current economic climate has made it increasingly difficult to secure the necessary funding. As a result, the ability of these homes to provide essential services and support to the elderly is at risk.
The Role of NGOs like SERUDS
Recognizing the need to support and care for the elderly, organizations like SERUDS NGO have taken up the noble cause of establishing free old age homes. These homes offer shelter, nutritious meals, medical care, and companionship to seniors who would otherwise be left neglected and vulnerable. Currently, there are nearly 1,500 old age homes across the country, housing around 70,000 elderly individuals.
The demand for senior citizens' assisted living in India is on the rise, driven by a growing elderly population and the challenges faced by economically dependent individuals. While the country witnesses a surge in retirement, not all elders can afford the luxury of old age homes. NGOs like SERUDS are playing a crucial role in addressing this gap by providing free old age homes and supporting the most vulnerable members of society. However, more support and awareness are needed to ensure a dignified and secure life for all senior citizens in India.
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