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ASHA for elderly

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Government policies and intervention for vulnerable populations


Source: Indian Express

Context: The article came in the editorial section and suggests some solutions for caring elderly with chronic diseases. You can copy a few points from this in your notes for ‘elderly care’.

Status of elderly in India:

  • The UN World Population Ageing Report notes that India’s ageing population (those aged 60 and above) is projected to increase to nearly 20% by 2050 from about 8% now.
  • By 2050, the percentage of elderly people will increase by 326%, with those aged 80 years and above set to increase by 700%, making them the fastest-growing age group in India.
  • A study suggests 8 per cent of the population over 75 was afflicted by dementia
    1. Alzheimer’s Association suggests that the country is already home to 4 million people with this condition.
    2. Dementia is a condition associated with ageing and resulting from progressive degeneration of the brain.
  • Lack of family support: Transition to a nuclear family means that an increasing proportion of the elderly will live only with their elderly spouse or alone.

Solution for elderly with chronic disease:

  • Strengthening Primary health care which integrates care for diverse health conditions, home-based nursing, palliative care and rehabilitation.
  • NGOs/Civil Society help: E.g. Asha Deep Foundation provides Day Care Centre for the elderly members of our community who are either neglected, have no children or are abandoned by their families.
  • Community-based care system for elders
    • ASHA program could be used for building a community-based workforce to support the diverse health and social care needs of elders.

Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs): They have been singularly responsible not only for the dramatic reductions in maternal and infant mortality contributing to our increased life expectancy but also for achieving our impressive Covid vaccination coverage.

They were deservedly awarded the WHO Director-General’s Global Health Leaders Award in May.

What elders need, most of all, is a caring and compassionate person, with the requisite skills, to accompany them on the last journey of their lives.


Insta Links

A new vision for Old Age Care


Practice Questions

Q. “Care for the elderly in the country needs to primarily adopt an approach which emphasizes on seeing them as assets in India’s growth rather than as seeing them as mere dependents to be cared for”. Discuss. (250 Words)