DemographicsThe size and composition of India’s population are some of the most crucial demographic metrics used for planning purposes. The growth rate of the over 65 demographic in the country has partially been due to reduced death rates as a result of the success of diverse health interventions following the census 1981. People are living longer, and estimates reflect that over 10 percent of the country’s population is over the age of 60 years in 2021. This points to a re-evaluation of services for the elderly, understanding their condition and financial needs, and consequently, supporting the implementation of the necessary policies in order to facilitate the lives of the elderly. This would further suggest that in the future, more people would be accessing pensions and the need for increased government pensions would become a pressing priority.
Economic statusThe old-age dependency metric is used to gauge the ratio between the number of persons over the age of 65 years and the number of persons between the ages of 15 and 64 years, expressed per 100 persons. In India, this ratio grew from almost 11 percent to over 14 percent from 1961 to 2011 and was projected to increase to over 20 percent in 2031.
The distribution of elderly who are economically dependent on other people saw an increase in the rural areas. However, the proportion of entirely dependent elderly in rural as well as urban areas had declined. In 2017, those that were entirely dependent in rural areas relied on their children or their needs while second in line was the relative spouse.
The challenges further pile on from a rising need for healthcare with an increase in age. Due to higher morbidity from chronic diseases, the elderly have long-standing healthcare needs that are tied together with high out-of-pocket expenditures which more than three-fourths of them cannot afford. In order to effectively address these challenges, there is a pressing need of positioning elderly health care into a broader framework in the universal access and affordability plan of Ayushman Bharat (Universal Health Coverage). This, along with other government schemes that protect financial security, such as higher tax exemption for senior citizens would contribute toward alleviating the economic and social conditions affecting geriatric well-being in the country