No country for the old: survey finds nearly half of elderly Indians lonely
New Delhi: In a country of over one billion, almost every second elderly person suffers from loneliness, reveals a new study titled Changing Needs & Rights of Older People in India.
Working on a sample size of 15,000 older people, the survey by the Agewell Foundation says that 47.49% of elderly people in India suffer from loneliness. The condition is worse in urban regions, with 3,205 elderly people out of 5,000 feeling lonely. “In urban areas 64.1% elderly were found suffering from loneliness, whereas as in rural areas 39.19% elderly (3,919 elderly out of 10,000 rural elderly) claimed that they are suffering from lonelines,” the survey said.
But what are the factors responsible for loneliness in old age? According to the survey, for majority of the respondents, it was living alone or with their spouses. For others it was “less interaction with family members” (27.3%), “poor health” (19.06%) and “facing isolation and non-availability of social-interaction” (12%). “36.78% elderly suffering from loneliness claimed that living alone or with their spouses only is the most responsible factor for their condition,” the survey noted. The study also noted how every fifth elderly person in India needs some kind of psychological counselling.
“Out of the 15,000 total respondents, 2,955 admitted that they seek counselling or advice from their relatives or friends, when they undergo psychological problems,” it said. Among those affected, the share of urban elderly (63.86%) was seeking psychological counselling was higher than those in rural areas (36.14%). Conducted during the months of April and June this year, the survey was spread across 300 districts of 25 states and union territories of India.
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