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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 72-76

Geriatric population in India: Demography, vulnerabilities, and healthcare challenges

Jan Swasthya Sahyog, Village Ganiyari, Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Rachna Jain
Obstetrician and Public Health Physician, Jan Swasthya Sahyog, Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh - 495 001
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_1794_20

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Global pandemic due to corona virus disease (COVID-19) has exposed vulnerabilities of the geriatric population all over the world. India has been adding progressively increasing number of elderly to its population. This is happening with increasing life expectancy and decreasing mortality. In comparison to children, the population as well as deaths in elderly are rising with changing demography. The elderly population has its own vulnerabilities based on education, socioeconomic condition, gender, place of residence etc. They are affected by various non-communicable diseases which form predominant cause of morbidity and mortality like cardiovascular diseases, stroke, cancer, respiratory illnesses etc. The elderly also contribute to various kinds of disabilities like movement, vision, hearing and in many cases multiple disabilities. They are also more vulnerable to mental health problems and cognitive impairment. The article also suggests a way forward in dealing with rising geriatric age group and its associated problems. The programs supporting this population are largely scattered which needs to be consolidated to include social security, pension and food security along with health benefits. The approach to health care of the elderly needs a comprehensive strategy instead of the present fragmented approach where different disease based programs for non-communicable diseases, cancer and mental health cater to specific health issues of the elderly. Greater awareness, training and skill building in geriatric health for primary care physicians need focus and energy. Prioritizing training and research in this field including the need for more geriatricians has been highlighted.

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