While we keep hearing about the “young India” and the spurt of enterprise within India by young Indians, we might often not look a little bit deeper into our country’s demographic pattern and what it would be like a few years from now. Yes, well within our own lifetimes.
While India will be the youngest country in the world by 2020 the number of elderly people is likely to increase significantly after that. “By 2021, the elderly in the country will number 143 million, the report said. Presently, the elderly in divided into three categories: the young old (60-70) the middle-aged old (70-80) and the oldest old (80 plus).”
The increasing population of the elderly is “a development concern that warrants priority attention for economic and social policies to become senior citizen-friendly,” the report said. It draws the attention of policy makers to the “dichotomy of the happy picture of increased longevity and the prospect of long years of hopelessness, bereft of family, society or state support”.
We are right now at the crossroads of what could lead to increased focus on elderly care. Caregiving as a service while it exists in India is yet to be organised, professionalised and given the attention it needs.
This is skill which needs to taught not just through on the job experience, but through throughly researched training curriculum. Not only do the caregivers need to get trained, the family also needs to get oriented to facilitate effective caregiving, so that the elder gets the care he or she really needs in a positive environment.
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* Data source: livemint.com