NEW DELHI: India’s elderly have been hit hard due to the coronavirus-led lockdown, with at least 65% losing their livelihood in this period, showed a survey by HelpAge India, a charitable organisation for elderly. While 61% elderly in rural areas were impacted by the lockdown, the share in urban India was 39%.
In the survey, 67% were in the age group of 60-69 years, 28% in the old-old category of 70–79 years and 5% in the oldest-old age group (80 plus). The survey was conducted on over 5,099 elder respondents, with 2,639 in urban areas and 2,460 in rural.
“The elderly are facing a triple struggle – along with high health risk, many are battling survival due to loss in income, and further coping with challenges of social isolation,” said Rohit Prasad, chief operating officer (COO), HelpAge India.
“Most elderly in India have to work to make ends meet, as there is no universal social security system. Most of them are unskilled, casual workers, mostly from the unorganised sector, who earn a meagre daily wage to survive,” Prasad said.
The study showed that 62% elder respondents suffered from chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, cancer, hypertension, etc. At least 42% elders reported worsening of health conditions during the lockdown, of which, 64% were from rural areas, compared to 36% from urban regions.
According to the study, 61% respondents felt confined and socially isolated in their homes during the lockdown. In his case, the rural-urban distribution was equal, with 50% elders from both areas.
At least 42% elders reported worsening of health conditions. Of these, 64% respondents were from rural areas, as against 36% from urban areas. 61% were young-old, 31% old-old and 8% oldest old.