Healthy ageing

Ageing presents both opportunities. and challenges.

Older people are a resource to the society. According to the Census 2011, India has 104 million older people (60+years), constituting 8.6% of the total population. The increase in longevity and decline of joint family systems and breakdown in the social fabric often pushes senior citizens into loneliness and neglect

Ageing is a natural phenomenon. Census 2011 highlights that amongst the elderly population (60+), females outnumber the males, while more number of elderly still reside in the rural areas than the urban areas. According to the UN Population Prospects, 2015 Revision, this sub-group is expected to reach more than 300 million by 2050, accounting for almost 20% of the population.

Leading a heathy life, with physical activity, adequate fruits and vegetables intake, low salt sugar and transfats, avoiding tobacco and alcohol and other habit forming substance, with positive attitude and mental wellbeing are the attributes, which promote quality of life even at oldage.

Surveys amongst the elderly population reveal that noncommunicable diseases and disabilities are extremely common in older persons.

In order to ensure quality life for the senior citizens, the Government of India has endorsed various policies and programmes. The National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP), 1999 envisages state support to ensure financial, security, health care, and other needs of the older people.

The National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly (NPHCE) is an initiative to provide dedicated health care services to the elderly population at various levels of primary health care settings.

WHO advocates for universal health coverage for health and well-being. Without considering the health and social care needs of the older people, SDG 3 will be impossible to achieve.

Integrated-care approaches, which are community-based, designed around the needs of the older person and effective coordination with long-term care systems, is the need of the hour.