Study On The Problems Faced By Older Persons
In Minority Communities
With the issues of the safety and well being of the minorities in the country being debated at the international level, Research & Advocacy Centre at Agewell Foundation conducted an extensive nationwide survey to
study, identify and classify the problems being faced by older persons of the minority communities during the month of August 2009.
Online PR News – 10-August-2009 – – New Delhi: September 10 2009: With the issues of the safety and well being of the minorities in the country being debated at the international level, Research & Advocacy Centre at Agewell Foundation conducted an extensive nationwide survey to study, identify and classify the problems being faced by older persons of the minority communities during the month of August 2009.
According to the Government of India’s population projection, the population in 60 years plus is expected to increase to 98 million by 2011. 19.5% of the total population (i.e. 20,10,31,460) is minority population (including 13.4% Muslims). Data also suggests that two-third of elderly live either below the poverty line or marginally over it. Nine out of ten elders are from the unorganized sector and have no social security to cover their basic needs.
The broad objective of the study was to study the problems/issues faced by older people in minority communities. The specific objectives of the Agewell minority study were - to understand the status of elderly people within their community and family, to highlight the concerns of elderly in their community, categorized as: Medical/Health related, Financial. Social /Family, Legal, Religious problems and Security related concerns.
For the survey a representative sample of 5000 older persons from 5 major minority communities (Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist & Jain) covering both rural and urban areas was interviewed spread across 50 districts from different 25 states.
58.46% of the respondent elderly were facing medical problems. Most affected communities are Muslim community - 67.7% & Christian - 62.8%.
81.5% of urban minority older persons are facing social problems. In rural areas this percentage is quite low as 55.4%.
57.6% of elderly in minority communities are facing financial problems. In Muslim community alone 85.8% older persons had no or less regular income.
37.6% of the minority elderly (49.2% Muslim, 20.1% Buddhist, 40.5% Christian 38.8% Sikh & 39.5% Jain) were facing legal problems.
61.7% of minority elderly (86.7% Muslim, 46.2% Buddhist, 66.5% Christian 41.2% Sikh & 68.1% Jain) responded that they don’t feel themselves secure.
41.36% of minority elderly (66.1% Muslim, 31.8% Buddhist, 56.3% Christian 32.1% Sikh & 20.5% Jain), asserted that their religious rights are not protected.
In the age group of 60-69 years health, financial & social status of older persons in all minority communities was found comparatively well. In this age group 78% of older persons ((75.1% Muslim, 76.8% Buddhist, 77% Christian 78.1% Sikh & 81.5% Jain) said that they are enjoying good health.
Almost two-third (66%) older persons ((54.1% Muslim, 56.8% Buddhist, 60% Christian 65.1% Sikh & 92.5% Jain) agreed that they are not facing financial crisis.
After retirement from service majority of minority older persons i.e. 57% are still head of their families.
Majority of (53.4%) older persons had household assets worth below Rs. 5 lakh in rural areas, whereas in urban areas almost two-third of (67.8%) older persons had properties worth > Rs. 5 Lakh.
Salient observations & recommendation
Status of older persons in minority communities varies from age-group to age-group. Older persons in the age group of 60-69 years are very much active, physically as well as socially.
Financial backwardness is yet another main concern of Muslim minority older persons.
Older Persons in the largest minority communities, Muslim and Christian’s primary concern is security and safety.
This age group has to be given opportunities to involve themselves in social development activities in the area. They should be encouraged to participate in voluntary/ self-help group activities.
Agewell Foundation was established in 1999 as an NGO dedicated towards the welfare of Older Persons across the country. Agewell is bringing about a change in the perception of old age and assist older persons to move towards confidence, respect and mutual caring. It has established a consortium of over 1500 NGOs and 6500 volunteers spread across 540 districts of India, working on improving interaction and transaction between generations and extend support and strength to millions of older persons of India.
For more information please visit our website: www.agewellfoundation.org