According to United Nations’ report, by 2030, the current world population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach around 8.6 billion, and around 9.8 billion in 2050. The report also predicted that, in roughly seven years, or around 2024, the population of India is expected to surpass that of China. The population growth is expected despite reduction in fertility level.
The report has highlighted that reduction in the fertility level results not only in a slower pace of population growth, but also rise in an older population. It is estimated that compared to 2017, the number of persons aged 60 or above will be more than double by 2050. Population ageing is projected to have a profound effect on societies, underscoring the fiscal and political pressures that the healthcare, old-age pension and social protection systems of many countries are likely to face in coming decades.
“India still lacks far behind other countries in implementing welfare policies for elderly. Better healthcare, finance and social protection are their primary needs and we haven’t yet succeeded in fulfilling these requirements. Also, with growth of population, we need to sensitize society towards elderly. We should also teach our youth how to age,” said Sailesh Mishra, founder of Silver Innings, an assisted elder care home.
In the recently released report by WHO the problem of geriatric care has been highlighted. It identified elder abuse as an important public health problem. It is estimated that, over the past year, around 15.7% of people aged 60 years and older were subjected to some form of abuse. It highlighted that the situation could be worse in developing countries. With the rise in population there will be also, rise in number of elderly people in India.
“We need to develop dedicated training centers for geriatric care. More people should be trained to take care medical and social needs. Also, our policies should be inclusive of elderly. Just because they have retired it doesn’t mean they cannot be of any help,” said Dr Alka Subramanium, a psychiatrist, Nair Hospital.