Thanks to development in medical science for the decline in the death rate in India and cure easily available for most of the ailments which has increased human longevity. The number of aged persons in India is increasing. Because of the influence of modernization and urbanization aged persons are facing many problems.
‘ word ‘Ageing has been defined variedly by researchers in different context. in the broadest sense, “as those changes Aging occurring in an individual, as a result of the passage of time’. “Ageing is a part of living. It begins with conception and terminates with death
“Ageing may best be defined as the survival of a growing number of people who have completed the traditional adult roles of making a living and childrearing.”
Problems of aged in india
Population ageing is a global issue, which has been recognized to have implications on the health care and social welfare systems. The process whereby the proportion of children in the population decreases and those of old persons increases is known as the “ageing of population”. The global population of elderly has constantly been increasing during the second half of the last century.
This has been possible due to easy availability of life saving drugs, control of famines and various communicable diseases, better awareness and supply of nutrition and health facilities and comparatively better overall standard of living. These mortality rates and substantial achievements have resulted in drastic reduction increase in the life expectancy at birth and the overall span of people. This phenomenon has been experienced by developed countries in the mid of 20th century. During the last thirty years, this has been emerging as a significant problem in developing countries also.
The number of people 60 years and over in the globe is 673 million in 2005 and is expected to increase to 2 billion by 2050, almost a triple increase and the first quarter of 21st century is going to be called as The age of ageing’. More developed regions have almost one-fifth of their population over 60 years but 8 per cent in the less developed regions. And the share of old persons; living in these countries is expected to rise from 64 per cent to nearly 80 per cent in 2050
India, like many other developing countries in the world, is presently witnessing rapid ageing of its population. According to World Population Prospects, UN Revision, 2006, the population of aged in India is currently the second largest in the world. Even though the proportion of India’s elderly is small compared with that of developed countries, the absolute number of elderly population is on the high. There has been tremendous increase in the number of elderly population since independence in India from 20.19 million in 1951 (5.5 per cent of total population) to 43.17 million in 1981 . 55 million in 1991.
According to 2001 census; around 77 million population is above 60 years which constitutes 7.5 per cent of the total population of the country. This number is expected to increase to 177.4 million in 2025. (The growth rate of the population (1991-2001) of elderly has been higher (2.89) than overall growth rate (2.02) of the total population. According to World Population Data Sheet- 2002, 4 per cent of the Indian population are in the age group of 65+ which accounts for 41.9 million. This phenomenon of growing population of senior citizens has been the result of recent successes in the achievement of better health standards and a longer span of life for our citizens. Due to this dependency ratio for the old has increased from 10.5 per cent in 1961 to 11.8 per cent in 1991; it is projected to be 16.1 per cent by 2021.
Defining the Concept
Ageing is a continuous, irreversible, universal process, which starts from conception till the death of an individual. However, the age at which one’s productive contribution declines and one tends to be economically dependent can probably be treated as the onset of the aged stage of life.
Old age is the last phase of human life cycle, which is again universally true. The use of the words elderly’, ‘older persons’ and ‘senior citizens’, in both popular and scholarly work gives the impression that they are a homogenous group, but in fact there is considerable variation between and among various categories of older people and also between societies. As such it is difficult to provide a clear definition. Different writers have viewed ageing in different contexts as the outcome of biological, demographic. sociological, psychological or other processes.
The WHO defines those aged 60 -74 years as elderly. In 1980 the UN recommended 60 years as the age of transition for the elderly segment of the population and has been categorized as follows:
- Young Old – between the ages of 60-75 years. Old-Old-
- between the ages of 75-85 years
3.. Very Old – 85 years and above
World Population Data Sheet – 2002 considers aged population as population in group of 65+ as old. In the Indian context the age , age of 60 years has been adopted by the census of India for the purpose of classifying a person as old, which coincides with the age of retirement in government sector. The terms Young-Old for 60 to 69, OldOld for 70 to 79 and Oldest Old for 80 to 89 have been used.