65% elderly in India are financially dependent, says Agewell survey

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 16, 2018

Pension is the biggest source of income for those who feel ‘financially secure’

India, known for its ‘demographic advantage’ of a burgeoning young population, also faces a “demographic disadvantage” with every tenth person of over 1.2 billion population crossing the age of 60, and a majority (65 per cent) of them either facing a financial crisis or financially dependent on others.

As per a new survey, only one-third of the elderly population in India feels “financially secure”, with a majority (41.43 per cent) citing pension/family pension as its main source of income, followed by interest on savings or rent from property.

Four-fifths of the 15,000 rural and urban respondents in the nationwide survey of the financial status of the elderly by Agewell Foundation, on the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons on October 1, said their major financial problems were related to medical and healthcare.

Overall, however, the study found that the net worth value of older persons had increased, primarily due to the sharp increase in real estate prices over the past two decades. However, this often also led to “younger family members often manipulating their decisions”, the survey said, adding that “despite good net worth value, a majority of 70+ elderly lead lonely/neglected and miserable lives.”

Also, older persons suffer from a lot of medical, social and financial problems even after having good net worth value, because there are hardly any dedicated and elderly sensitive schemes for senior citizens, said the survey.

“Financially insecure old people expect social security, free healthcare and subsidies, so that they can lead a comfortable and respectable life in old age, at the same time older people with sound financial health look forward to risk-free investment schemes, so that they can earn good returns to meet financial needs in old age,” said Agewell Foundation’s founder Chairman Himanshu Rath.

To make life comfortable and respectable for this section, the survey called for coverage under existing and/or new social security schemes, life and medical insurance for longer years, covering properties, movable/immovable under general insurance schemes and dedicated healthcare facilities.

Published on October 03, 2016

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