Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Pollution restrains elderly’s movement, worsens health condition

According to 14.5% elderly their major concern during winters is risks of infections due to severe pollution level, rough weather and weak digestion during winters

New Delhi: Heightening Levels of pollution have not only deteriorated the air quality in Delhi but have also majorly impacted the social and physical life of the elderly. About a quarter of elderly (21%) during a survey claimed that their major concern is rising pollution level during winters, which causes many health related problems and restrict their outings. The survey was conducted on over 1500 elderly living in Delhi NCR in December, by Agewell Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, working for welfare and empowerment of older persons.

Majority of elderly complained that they suffer from loneliness and winters are the time when they get little opportunity to go out and meet people. As far as health of elderly is concerned , according to 14.5% elderly their major concern during winters is risks of infections due to severe pollution level, rough weather and weak digestion during winters. According to 41.2% elderly Joint Pain, Back Pain, Arthritis is the most common health related complications, faced by elderly during winters, the report said.

The report highlighted that every fifth elderly (19.6%) claimed that high blood pressure or heart attacks are most common health related problems during winters. Following that 18.1% older persons interacted during the month claimed that in their opinion chest infections and breathing problems, asthma attacks are more common in old age. Stroke and paralysis adjudged as most common health related issues during winters by almost 9.5% elderly. About 11.7% elderly respondents that other health complications like skin problems, swelling, etc. are most common health issues during winters

“During winters with high level of pollution, older people are forced to live alone inside their houses. At this juncture, it’s our moral responsibility to care for elders and keep them engaged in some kind of activities of their choice. We should share the warmth with them, as they just need Warmth," Himanshu Rath, Chairman, Agewell Foundation said. “It not only affects them physically but psychologically as well. In today’s digital age, older people are more prone to loneliness and depression caused due to cold weather conditions," he said.

Pollution levels have already been reported to spike to ‘severe’ category on Monday. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data, 27 areas in the national capital recorded ‘severe’ pollution, while seven witnessed ‘very poor’ air quality. In the NCR, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Noida recorded ‘severe’ air quality, while Faridabad recorded ‘very poor’ quality air.

According to CPCB data on Monday an overall air quality index (AQI) was 417, while the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) recorded 418, both fall under the ‘severe’ category.

The overall PM2.5 level (fine particulate matter in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometer) was recorded at 328 and the PM10 level at 488 in Delhi, the CPCB said. The authorities warned that moderate fog and emissions during night hours may result in deterioration of the air quality and this situation may prevail till Wednesday.