We know that Ageing is a natural process. It’s a’ gradual, continuous process that brings change both physically and mentally. It’s the time where we should give more care to our body as an aging population tends to have a higher prevalence of chronic diseases, physical disabilities, mental illness, and other co-morbidities. For a country like India, health care services for the elderly is essential as aging population in India is the second largest in the world. According to a research, by 2050, the aged or senior citizen will overcome the population of children below 14 years.
Issues confronting health care services for elderly in India
However, India desperately falls short of basic infrastructure to care for the health, well-being and welfare of the senior citizens. Also a bitter truth (to swallow and digest) is that over 40 million of people are pushed into poverty every year due to mounting medical costs. This is because they can’t earn any income and are dependent on family for their welfare. In addition to this, the fact is that elderly women are more vulnerable than men to abuse from the family. But the scenario is completely different in western or developed countries. The elder people live on their own and with proper health care, they remain both physically and mentally fit.
Care for elderly varies from state to state in India. Different Indian states provide various features as pension which is not enough for a month’s medical check-up. Now the elderly people are living with no dignity and are affected by poor nutrition and health care. To overcome this, there is a need to build more old age homes so that they can live independently and also give more pension to make them financially stable.
NPHCE- A Hope for Ageing
The NPHCE or the National Program for Healthcare for the Elderly in India is an expression of the Government’s International & National commitments as chartered by the UNCRPD. The Vision of NPHCE are:
- Creating a new “architecture” for aging.
- To provide premium long-term service.
- To publicize the positives of dynamic, healthy and active ageing.
The various strategies to achieve the objectives are:
- Reorienting medical support education to support geriatric issues.
- Establishing public-private partnerships in the area of Geriatrics or geriatric medicine.
- Continuous monitoring and independent evaluation of programs in the implementation of NPHCE.
- IEC use mass media, folk media, and other communication channels to reach out to the target audience set.
- Strengthening the Regional Medical Institutes to provide better treatment for the elderly.
However, the outcomes of these strategies will be different. Under NPHCE, the package of services will be made available at different levels like the Sub-center level, PHC, CHC, District Hospital, and RGC. Although the NPHCE covers most of the health problems, it completely neglects the home-based care of an elderly persons in families. This is the major problem faced by the NRIs.
For NRIs health care services
For NRIs, the situation is entirely different as they won’t be able to care for their parent’s need on a personal basis. Even though there are other requirements like financial care and companionship, NRI Parents Care in India is the basic one. There are many approved and sanctioned entities that look after parent’s needs at a fixed service cost. As they can afford these entities, they are in a position to avail of such entities. But at the same time, they should ensure that their parents are treated well. The government also provide the necessary support to select in-house nurse through verifying the nurse with the help of Police and Nursing Association of India. Also, remember that by appointing any nurse the responsibility is not completed. The children should stay connected with their parents and also with the nurse who is accompanying them.
In USA, it is mandatory that each citizen should have a health insurance scheme. This insurance cover includes everything from a doctor’s visit for small fever to hospitalization. At the same time in India, the health insurance is only for hospitalization and even for that too there are a lot of procedures like making the insurance agency for re imbursement. The policies like AYUSHMAN Bharat have more importance in the current scenario.
If the current situation is not changing or improving, our “Young” country will soon turn into an “Aged” one. So, we should stay together through joint approach and strategies to overcome the present crisis.