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to a sharp increase in seniors. An ageing              a burden. A survey dated June 15, 2019 by the
        population has far-reaching implications,              NGO HelpAge India reported that 35 per cent
        whether social, economic, or medical. As               of respondents looking after the elderly said
        people age, several issues arise. There is             that they did not feel happy taking care of
        reduced mobility, age-related ailments and             them.
        conditions, a need for care-givers, financial
        worries, dependency, loss, possibility of              However, the only constant is change and
        abuse, and increasingly, loneliness. Almost            one has to accept that social structure is
        75 per cent of India’s population lives in rural       not immune to it. We therefore have to
        areas which means that for every senior                find ways to address the issues caused by
        living in an urban area there are three in rural       this transformation in society and evolve
        areas and both have their own set of specific          new ways of handling them. One of the
        concerns which need looking into.                      consequences of the changing family
                                                               structure has been that assisted living has
        The issues related to ageing are numerous              started to take shape in India. A wide range of
        and have to be tackled by society as a whole           options from government-run old age homes
        – individuals, communities, NGOs and                   to five star assisted living communities have
        government – with understanding, resolve,              sprung up all over the country.
        and above all, empathy. Are we as a society
        ready for the challenges of a rising senior            Issues faced by Seniors
        population?                                            Seniors can actually be classified into two
                                                               groups – “young seniors” (60 to 75 years)
        Change in Indian Society                               and “senior seniors” (over 75 years). With the
        Indian society traditionally followed a joint          increased awareness today about fitness and
        family system which ensured security for               healthy living, young seniors are by and large
        seniors in the autumn of their lives. However,         active and able to manage on their own. It is
        with the growing trend of nuclear families,            the senior seniors who often require care-
        and children living away from parents,                 givers and assistance.
        seniors are often left to fend for themselves
        at a time when they most need help. The                So what are the main issues that seniors face?
        support system provided by the joint family            Three major issues are related to health,
        has crumbled, leaving seniors vulnerable to            finance, and loneliness. It must be noted
        distressing, and often traumatic, situations.          that the root of all these problems can be
                                                               traced to much before one becomes a senior.
        Many Indian children who go abroad to study            As Fred Astaire commented, “Old age is
        decide to settle there. Parents are thus left          like everything else. To make a success of
        behind to live on their own. An important              it, you’ve got to start young.” It is important
        change in Indian society has been the role of          to plan your finances and to follow a fitness
        women. The percentage of working women                 regime from a younger age in order to
        has increased, as a result of which there is           minimise problems in senior years.
        often nobody at home to take care of an aged
        person. Children, too, in today’s competitive          Good health is absolutely crucial as one
        world, are busy with so many activities in             begins to get older. With age, physical
        addition to school work that they do not have          ailments are inevitable and it is essential
        much time left for grandparents. Caring for            to get good geriatric care at this stage. The
        the elderly requires patience and dedication           five “I”s of geriatrics include: Intellectual
        and is increasingly considered by many to be           impairment, Immobility, Instability,

                                                                                   SENIORS TODAY | Volume 1 | Issue 1
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