Mental Health of Elderly Population
In India, the philosophy from our scriptures shows that respecting elders is not because of their age but for the wisdom that they embody. We bend our heads, kneel before them for the knowledge that will be shared with us by their life experiences and their narrative skills of the event. For most of us, while growing up, the best part we can remember easily is that of grandma’s food or her stories or granddads playful yet acting as a strict administrator of the house. In our modern-day, even with higher life expectancy with medical advances, downward trends in mortality, and also lower levels of fertility, and ease of digital communication, elders are facing not only discrimination but also are becoming more lonelier than ever.
Ageism refers to preconceived notions of what the person might think or prejudice on how they might feel and marginalization towards others based upon their age.
In the Global Report on Ageism by the WHO. India is one of the low-and middle-income countries which accounts for the highest prevalence in the practice of ageism. To be specific, there is a greater prevalence of practicing ageism among senior citizens. The aging of the population is becoming a major hurdle for policymakers all over the world. In India, with 7.4% of the senior citizen population. Which poses serious pressure on various socio-economic problems. Who also face not only physiological problems but also a set of psychological problems. The ratio of elderly was high in 1951 with 1028 per 1000 and over the years dropping to 938 in 1971 and 972 in 2001. With 8.6% percent in 2011 and future projections to 10.1 percent in 2021 and further to 13.1% in 2031. In 1991, the stats showed that elderly female population more than elderly male at 29.4 million to 27.3million respectively. At present stats, it stands 110 million and projections predict to increase to 240 million by 2050.
Even with the numbers, India stands behind in providing infrastructure to support health and other basic amenities to our elderly. Leaving this physiological when we address the psychological problems. The mental well-being of the elderly is rarely a topic of discussion. Indian there are steep suicide rates for people who are above 60 years of age. According to NCRB data, which finds that Maharashtra, from city Mumbai city alone, last year i.e. 2020 around 121 elderly citizens ended their lives. This rose about 31% from the previous year. With the Pandemic lockdown influencing greater impact on men and elderly women are more vulnerable than men. The higher mobility of people from their homes for education and other job prospects, with rising in urbanization. As a result, the elderly population is feeling missing their children’s and those who live with them practice discrimination against elders. Higher despondency rates with loneliness, isolation the deaths of their spouse, friends and the emotional abuse received from the relatively younger generation. Also being discriminated against from workplace who don’t hire, with a notion that elders can’t be productive in nature. Resulting in evidence showing that mental health issues are important causes of morbidity and premature mortality. With higher rates in Underprivileged and low-middle-income countries.
Leaving out our traditional approaches like Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy. We need to look at change makeover to address the psychological problems faced by senior citizens with insurance companies covering expanses of therapy consultation and Urban city planners must encourage companies to hire. Also form clubs for elders to meet their age group people where they can share, talk, and connect with their old times. So that in future children’s must also have their fruitful childhood times spent with their grandparents.