Elderly care in India: an overview
According to a report the aging population is expected to reach around 330 million people by 2050. This means that there is a growing demand for care and resources. Seniors around the world now prefer to age in place while remaining active contributors to their communities. Further adjustments need to be made to regulations and policies to ensure that India’s aging population is catered for across all income brackets.
Older people are not a heterogeneous group; they have a variety of diverse health and wellness needs over decades of varied aging needs. Many formats of eldercare have emerged over the years, including:
- Autonomous and assisted residences
- Elderly care at home
- Rehabilitation services for seniors
- Palliative care
- Community care
While the aging industry continues to grow, it lacks a regulatory framework, licensing and accreditation to ensure high quality care for all aging Indians. In addition, more needs to be done to ensure funding for such care through tax incentives, health system reforms and social care that ensure funding for aging people who cannot afford private health plans or services. aging.
As this market grows, it needs to be well regulated so that older people are not taken advantage of and a variety of services are available to help older people stay active, be more independent and age gracefully. healthy.
According to one study, 43% of seniors are entirely financially dependent on others (even more so for senior women at 67%) and 18% live alone or with a spouse. The report found that around 45% were unaware of the government resources available to them and one in two suffered from loneliness. Drastic measures must be taken to ensure the stability of their health and well-being through effective community and social support programs.
For older people to feel safe, they need to know that the social determinants of health are being respected. According to a report by UNFPA and HelpAge International, the main areas of concern for their well-being were the need to feel:
- Income security with access to job opportunities to subsidize pensions.
- health in old age access to medical care, medicine, equipment and education, without going beyond their limited funds.
- Enabling and supportive environments that provide them with positive opportunities for empowerment in a safe, secure and accessible community.
- Participation and contribution to communities that show they are valuable and give them meaning.
It is a daunting task for the Indian government to tackle all of this alone. The scale of the effort required indicates the need to create industry partnerships with growing startups in social and community support, healthcare and assisted living, to help them solve these problems. These startups will likely fall into three main categories:
- Aging in Place Startups – These startups will help seniors learn and use all the new technologies that are being developed to help an age stay more effectively.
- health technology – New medical devices can help monitor health more effectively, medical care can become more comprehensive through digital tracking. Additionally, physicians can follow up with telehealth appointments and virtual monitoring. Although it will never replace in-person healthcare, it can help reduce the burden on the healthcare system.
- Care – More extensive care services will need to be offered, from nurses to people supporting daily living skills such as cooking, cleaning, laundry and companionship
In addition to infrastructure and intention challenges in elderly care, India also faces new perils with inflation hitting a record high of 7.79% in April 2022. According to a Reuters report, in India’s meager state pensions mean that only a minority of pensioners can afford good health care with almost 15 million people aged 60 and over – around 10% of the total – nearly homeless. This is alarming data that poorly reflects the country’s attempt to give much of its population a chance to live a healthy and dignified life after retirement.
According to World Data Lab India’s silver economy spending is set to grow from $100 billion to $1 trillion by 2030. It’s time for governments, insurance and healthcare providers, and organizations are gearing up for this change and starting to lead the way in taking care of India’s growing aging. population.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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