Are seniors a wasted resource? – Jammu Kashmir Latest News | Tourism

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KB Jandial
The twenty-first of August has been celebrated as the Day of Older Persons since 1991. This day was founded by then US President Ronald Reagan, who signed the August 19, 1988 Presidential Proclamation, which was issued on August 21, 1988. The very first celebration of the day took place in 1991. Later it was adopted by the UN as World Day of Older Persons
President Reagan said in his proclamation, “Throughout our history, older adults have accomplished much for our families, our communities, and our country. This remains true today and gives us ample reason this year to set aside a special day to honor the seniors who mean so much to our country.
Reagan further proclaimed, “For all they have accomplished throughout their lives and for all they continue to do, we owe our gratitude and heartfelt greetings to our seniors.” We can best show our gratitude and appreciation by ensuring that our communities are good places to grow and grow old, places where older people can participate as much as possible and can find encouragement, acceptance, support and the services they need to continue living. a life of independence and dignity.
Reagan’s words have stood the test of time, not only in the United States but in other countries as well, and 34 years later, seniors are leading more productive lives than at the time of the proclamation. Reagan himself is an example of this – he was 69 when he became President of the United States and lived to be 93. He was not only the oldest elected president (now Biden is the longest serving president), he was also the oldest. when his term ended at the age of 78.
In the United States, this day recognized the contributions of older adults who spent their lives serving society and had a positive impact on people’s lives. With more opportunities available today, many seniors can even start their second career and be an example even for seniors.
The Day is also celebrated in India, but with little enthusiasm. One view is that the observance of the Day is an effort to recognize the issues older people face due to age, social neglect and to raise awareness of these issues. It is also an effort to recognize that parents and grandparents are the living memory of history. They possess a treasure trove of wisdom experiences gained from navigating the many aspects of life, which they can productively share with the next generation.
In India, an “elderly citizen” is someone aged sixty or over. Their population is growing with an increase in life expectancy that exceeds 70 years. According to the 2011 census, their population was 104 million. Of these, 53 million were women and 51 million men. This population was projected to 138 million in 2021 with 71 million female and 67 million male in the Technical Group Report on Population Projections for India and the States (2011-2036). The senior population is expected to further increase by around 56 million by 2031.
The United Nations Population Fund and HelpAge India report said the number is expected to reach 173 million by 2026.
Indian census data shows that the share and size of the elderly are increasing over the decades. From 5.6% in 1961, the population increased to 8.6% in 2011 and 10.1% in 2021. It is expected to increase to 13.1% in 2031. For men, the increase was slightly less than 8.2%, while for women it was 9.0%. . It is interesting to note that until 1991, the number of elderly women exceeded the number of elderly men, but in the last two decades the trend has reversed. Older men outnumbered women, and older women are expected to outnumber men in 2031.
A real critical problem in India is old age dependency which haunts most of the elderly and a major cause of distress. Available data indicates that the old age dependency ratio in India increased from 10.9% in 1961 to 14.2% in 2011 and 15.7% in 2021 and is expected to reach 20.1% in 2031.
According to available data from the Periodic Labor Force Survey -2018-19, around 65% of elderly men and 18% of elderly women in the 60-64 age group had participated in economic activity. In rural areas, 72% of elderly men and 21% of women participated in economic activities, while in urban areas, it is only 51% among men and 10% among women. Similarly, in the 65+ age group, participation in the economic activity of older men and women is at a very low level. This means that the financial dependence of seniors on their siblings has increased. But, following the decline of the traditional value system of respect and care for elders, they face a very difficult situation. Society must look back and follow traditional norms and ethical practices, because with the rapid and modern evolution of life, traditional practices are disappearing, endangering the very basis of humanity.
The government passed a law against elder abuse, but it didn’t make much difference. Decent Elders Homes with medical support in every city is quickly becoming an essential need to ensure a dignified life for seniors.
Along with growing domestic and social isolation, older people have to deal with health issues related to old age. Common diseases of old age include cataracts, glaucoma, deafness, failure of special senses, change in mental outlook, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, etc. While osteoarthritis is a complex disease that causes joint pain and reduced joint mobility and function, osteoporosis is the loss of bone mass that causes risk of fractures. Both become very common in older people. Many have certain chronic illnesses that require finances and support that are lacking, compounding seniors’ problems.
The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the State Department of Social Welfare are responsible for ensuring that older people lead safe, dignified and productive lives. These departments are supposed to ensure that elders do not suffer from social inequality, exploitation, discrimination and injustice. To this end, they formulate policies and programs for the welfare of the elderly.
At J&K, some government initiatives are worth mentioning. A laudable initiative came from the Chief Justice of the J&K High Court, Justice Gita Mittal who, with the help of the Legal Aid Authority, Social Welfare and Health Departments, created day care centers and recreation centers for elders named “Ahata-e-Waqar”, first in Srinagar and later in Jammu, Samba and Leh. These Centers have an entertainment area for seniors in addition to health coverage. In fact, these daycare centers should be an integral part of every housing colony. Recently, the Department of Health in Jammu has customized a national health program and issued ABHA (Ayushman Bharat Health Account) card to elderly people, which enables them to access consultants and other services, including including free diagnostic facilities and no OPD card but only at Gandhinagar Hospital. updated the infrastructure.
Since the Day reminds government and society of the contributions of older people, but do they really care? There is no institutional dialogue with older people, although some older people and pensioners have formed registered bodies that continually report their problems to the government with virtually no positive response. They do not yearn for recognition or appreciation for their past service, but certainly expect a positive response to their problems. Today’s hukamran do not realize that one day they too will retire and become old people.
This year, the central government. Pensioners’ Welfare Association, Jammu celebrates the day with an awareness lecture on “Joint Pain and its Management” by Dr. Sumit Mahajan, MS, DNB, M. Ch (Chief Consultant and Head of Orthopedics and Joint Replacement Hospital Apollo, Amritsar). This event is designed to help seniors learn about how to prevent knee damage and also about recent advances in joint replacement and the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in patients with severely deformed knees. The Elderly Welfare Association, Jammu is also organizing a function to celebrate the Day with a cultural program and an AYUSH camp.
National Seniors Day should be an opportunity for government and society to reflect on what they have done for seniors who are definitely a treasure trove of human resources. They don’t have many requests but expect their small issues to be resolved. It is necessary to value their objective and impartial points of view on social issues. It is up to the government to create a mechanism for that. It is equally important for society to use the knowledge and expertise of learned older people for social causes. Otherwise, they are a wasted resource.
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