In India, just as everywhere across the globe, people are enjoying longevity. It is also no secret that Indian population is ageing and will continue to age on a consistent basis of the newt decades. It is also estimated that the population aged up 60 years and above will eventually grow from 77 million. This was about 7.4 percent of the total population in the 2001 and up to 300 million (17 percent) by 2050!
The ageing of the populace has key implications for the health system of India and humanity as a whole. This requires being further researched, understood as well as addressed by appropriate and apposite strategies and movements. According to Dr. Nata Menabde, the WHO Representative to India, the challenge for India, as for all nations across the globe, is not only to add a few more years to life but most significantly to add life to years. The prime motive here is to guarantee that the elderly can easily live life in full terms. He also added that it is all about leading an inspiring as well as creative lives. In order to make this possible, being in good health is extremely essential.
With the steady upsurge in life expectation and the aging population, the problem of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as like stroke, heart disease, cancers, mental health problems, diabetes and vision and hearing damage will persist. This will increase demands for health services. Dr. Samlee Plianbangchang, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia said that with trend towards nuclear family, it has become extremely difficult to take good care of elderly population. He also mentioned that long term care of old and weak will require extra inputs both from the families and governments.
Dr. Nata Menabde also added that the inauguration of the National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly (NPHCE) by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is a significant step in this direction.