A UGC Minor Research Project By  Dr. P.  Jenis Mary

Aging is universal phenomenon and natural biological process of life cycle. It is not a disease which can be cured. According to Hurlock (1991) old age is the closing period in the life span. It is a period when people ‘move away’ from previous, more desirable periods or times of ‘usefulness’. Life span is frequently subdivided into early old age, which extends from age sixty to seventy, and advanced old age, which begins at seventy and extends to the end of life. Today the needs and problems of elderly are rejected to a vast extent and the matter is made worse as government classifies these people based on cast and other socio cultural dimensions, therefore all the elderly are not seen in the same view.

The elderly population (aged 60 years or above) account for 8.6 percent of total Indian population as of 2011. Indian traditional joint family system had been the main shelter for aged persons. Even presently they are regarded as respectable in family, but in the wake of urbanization and modernization this joint family system is fast disintegrating, giving birth to neutral families and thus neglecting them.

In recent years the population of elderly is increasing in the world, the elderly today are neglected and are not cared. The main motivation of the study is  Now-a-days the old are abandoned by their children either due to their busy life style and work or due to their illness.

In this study, Simple Random Sampling has been used for selecting the respondents. In this, method each and every item in the population has an equal chance of inclusion in the sample and each one of the possible sample has the same probability of being selected. The study is Descriptive in nature consisting of 250 respondents.

Social mapping was taken by field investigator. It helped to know the elderly population in the area. It helped the researcher to create awareness among the people of how elderly people should be respected in the society. The researcher could find out the needs and problems of elderly. Awareness was created about the Vishwas Trust and the Helpline Centre which the elderly for emergency purposes. The unexpected outcome of social mapping   had been the elders were motivated to form the neighbourhood group in their area

 The study was conducted in various parts of Dakshina Kannada and neighbouring cities in Mangalore.The study was done through interview schedule.  It highlights the socio-demographic profile, family details, psycho-emotional problems, essential of physic-care; types of abuses faced by elderly are explained with the help of graphs and tables for better understanding of the reader.

The major problems found among elderly were dependency issues. It also includes difficulty to find financial assistance for Future and present liabilities like Marriage of the children, medical expenses etc., as majority thirty four percent of the respondents avail pension less than Rs.2500 only. A lot of elderly were going under physical and psychological abuse especially from son and daughter in laws, thus they require socio- psychological help. Many of the elders are deprived from love and respect causing pain and anxiety in them.

Physical problems related to bones, heart and chest disease have increased in the elderly. 13 percent of the respondents suffer from heart problems. A vast majority of them suffer regularly from Blood pressure and 37 percent of the elderly suffer from Diabetics. Poor eye sight is a very common problem and 64 percent of the respondents suffer from joint pains have depleted the mobility of the elders.

Proper medical care is the need for the hour, specialist have to work for elderly needs. Hospital infrastructure should be built to support elderly people. A majority of the respondents do feel physiotherapy for elders should be encouraged. Medicines related to old age problems should be well subsidised.  A vast majority of the people have voiced for providing psycho- emotional support that is not given in general by the busy family. 88 percent of the respondents did agree it is important to have a trained social workers and gerontologist to look after them.

The study analysesthe present laws and role of government to protect and safeguard the rights of the elderly. Various government and non-government agencies programmes and schemes that are available for the elderly are mentioned. These schemes go unnoticed because of lack of awareness and dependency on children. These schemes would facilitate the elderly to live a satisfactory life. Schemes like Annapurna which gives 10 kgs of subsidized rice to the old; likewise National Old Age Pension Scheme which is sanctioned by both the Central and the State Government are not well propagated and are underutilized.

In conclusion, one can say that aging is a mystery, but life is a greater mystery. Change is inevitable law of nature. Nothing can remain static in the world. Increased life expectancy, rapid urbanization and lifestyle changes have led to an emergence of varied problems for the elderly in India. It must be remembered that complete overview of care to the elderly is possible only with the Collaboration of Family, Community and the Government.

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