According to Census 2011, there are nearly 104 million elderly persons (aged -60 years or above) in India; 53 million females and 51 million males. Both the share and size of elderly population is increasing over time. A report jointly brought out by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Help Age International says that India’s population is likely to increase by 60% between 2000 and 2050 but the number of elders, who have attained 60 years of age, will shoot up by 360% and the government should start framing policies now else its consequences are likely to take it by surprise. India has around 100 million elderly at present and the number is expected to increase to 323 million, constituting 20% of the total population by 2050.
National Policy on Older Persons
Government of India adopted ‘National Policy on Older Persons’ in January 1999. The policy defines ‘senior citizen’ or ‘elderly’ as a person who is of age 60 years or above. Also, as per Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, senior citizen means any person being a citizen of India, who has attained the age of 60 years or above. The goal of the National Policy is the well being of older persons. It aims to strengthen their legitimate place in society and help older persons to live the last phase of their life with purpose, dignity & peace
Problems Associated with Old Age
The traditional norms and values of Indian society laid stress on showing respect and providing care for the elderly. Consequently, the older members of the family were normally taken care of in the family itself. The advent of modernisation, industrialisation, urbanisation, occupational differentiation, education and growth of individual philosophy has eroded the traditional values that vested authority with elderly. Various social and economic problems are associated with the old age. In modern society, improved education, rapid technical changes and new forms of organization have often rendered obsolete the knowledge, experience and wisdom of the aged people. Once they retire, elderly people find that their children are not taking advice from them. This realization often results in feeling loss of status, worthlessness and loneliness.
Now-a-days some children send their parents to old age homes, so that they don’t have to take care of them. Family care of the elderly seems likely to decrease in the future with the economic development of the nation and modernisation,
The elderly, especially those who are weak and dependent, require physical, mental and emotional care and support. When this is not provided, they suffer from neglect, a problem that occurs when a person is left uncared for and that is often linked with isolation. If the elderly are economically dependent on children, the problem becomes worse. Financial insecurity is one of the most crucial challenge faced by the aged people. Pension and social security is restricted to those who have worked in the public sector or the organized sector. Old age is a period of disappointment, dejection, disease, repentance and loneliness. The best way to address neglect of the elderly is to counsel families, sensitise community leaders and address the issue at all levels in different forums,
These are many schemes that the Government of India initiated for the welfare of old age people in India.
• Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY)
This scheme is run by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. It provides aids and assistive living devices to senior citizens belonging to BPL category. This scheme was launched in 2016.
• Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana
(VPBY) Run by the Ministry of Finance, the Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana was launched in 2014. It is intended to give an assured minimum pension on a guaranteed minimum return on the subscription amount.
• Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY)
The PM-Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) was launched in May 2017 to provide social security during old age. It assures minimum 8% per annum pension to old age people.
• Vayoshreshtha Together
Conferred as a National Award for senior citizens and was launched in 2005. It is applicable for eminient senior citizens and institutes involved in distinguished services for the cause of elderly persons.
• National Programme for Healthcare of Elderly (NPHCE)
Keeping in view the recommendations made in the National Policy on Older Persons, 1999 as well as the state’s obligation under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens, 2007, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had launched the National Programme for health care of the elderly during the 11th Plan period to address various health related problems of elderly people,
Resolution For the Problem
In today’s fast moving world, old age homes should not be looked down upon totally. They can be a secure place for the parents of those children who are working out of India or in some other distant city where they cannot visit or look after their parents regularly. However to opt for a old age home, choice should be left to the parents. We can also opt for many creative ideas like play houses and old age homes to be made together so that the children also get old people to talk to and old people can also have a good time. Such ideas are always best for community as a whole.
There is no one who would not grow old. Every being on the earth inevitably follows the cycle, determined by nature, that takes him/her through variegated phases of childhood, adolescence, adulthood and maturity. Each stage has its own vigour, its set of responsibilities and its particular problems. So, we should work in a way that everyone is benefited and no one is isolated. The government cannot do everything; the community itself has to step forward to take this responsibility and come out with some out of the box ideas to make this earth a better place for everyone to live on, where everyone is taken care of.
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