September 30, 2010

"CHANGING TRENDS OF OLD AGE”

A Study by Agewell Research & Advocacy Centre (for Needs & Rights of Older Persons)
In Celebration of  
International Day for Older Persons, 1st October

On the occasion of International Day for Older Persons, 1st October, 2010, Agewell has conducted a survey on fast changing needs of older persons of the county, with an objective to bring about a perceptual change in society about changing trends of old age.

In today’s fast paced life, nothing is permanent but change. Change has become acceptable to population of all ages. Even older persons, who are known for famous adage - “Old Habits Die Hard” are talking about change, they are all set to change their old habits of adjusting or adapting themselves in whatever environment is given to them till few years back. In most of the societies, older persons usually lived a marginalized life, though with respect from society members. But today, in completely changed socio-economic scenario they also want to remain in mainstream of the society.

The survey was conducted during the 3rd week of September and 15000 older persons from across the country were interviewed.

MAJOR FINDINGS
·        90.32 % older persons want to change things accordingly, so that they can better their old age. Only 9.68% older persons were in favour of adjustment with present environment or conditions.
·        In the age-group of 60-69 years 98.97% people want to change the present environment, where as 96.55% and 51.6% in the age-groups of 70-79 & 80+ respectively want to change their living conditions.  
·        Older men were found more dissatisfied (93.61 %) in comparison to older women (87.11%). 
·        In rural areas 83.51% older persons are expecting or working for change in their lives whereas in urban areas almost all older persons (97.13 %) told that they want change, irrespective of the kind of change.
·        ¾ old rural women (78.93%) were thinking of change in their lives, whereas 95.39% old urban women were not satisfied with present circumstances and voted for change,
·        88.26% Older men from rural areas were found struggling for bringing in a change.
·        1/5th older persons (20.22%) gave 1st priority to change the social environment. 15.87% older persons expressed their desire to change medical set up so that their life could be more comfortable.
·        Fast changing financial,  psychological and interpersonal needs were found as major concerns of older person

Study concludes
-   To get rid of social marginalization, loneliness, isolation and even negligence  in old age, older persons are struggling to change their way of living and thinking. They don’t want be marginalized any more, instead they want center stage. 

-   Older persons are desperately looking for new opportunities, avenues and possibilities, through which they can utilize their energy, knowledge and capabilities & can bring a perceptional change in society about Old Age.

-   Society in general and opinion leaders & policy makers in particular need to understand fast changing needs of older persons due to fast changing socio-economic & demographic scenario of the country, so that older persons friendly environment could be ensured in the society and older persons could get opportunities to play an important role in society.

“Why should I tolerate ill-treatment from my daughter-in-law? After all I am also getting a good pension and living in my own house. If she doesn’t mind herself, I can live on my own with my wife”                        – Harish Chandra Verma, 71, New Delhi