India’s progress in senior care: Navigating the modern era

Dr Reema Nadig, Co-Founder and Group Medical Director, KITES Senior Care stresses that where the burgeoning elderly population presents a canvas of challenges and potential within the eldercare sector, the demand for specialised senior care has surged as well. As a result, India’s eldercare landscape has undergone a metamorphosis, unfurling an array of opportunities across various dimensions

“In the heart of every senior citizen lies a wealth of experiences and stories.”

India, a nation steeped in cultural heritage and family values, stands at the cusp of a significant demographic shift. The growing elderly population has led to a demand for a transformation in elderly healthcare services. According to a report by UNFPA, the elderly population of India has increased from 104 million in 2011 to 138 million in 2021 and is projected to grow to nearly 319 million by 2050 accounting for 20 per cent of the total population of the country.

Where the burgeoning elderly population presents a canvas of challenges and potential within the eldercare sector, the demand for specialised senior care has surged as well. As a result, India’s eldercare landscape has undergone a metamorphosis, unfurling an array of opportunities across various dimensions.

Charting the course for India’s senior population

As per a report by NCBI, the senior demographic is expected to constitute 11.4 per cent of India’s total population by 2025, a testament to the nation’s ongoing demographic transition. This surge, driven by non-communicable diseases, unfurls a tapestry of societal, economic, and health-related complexities for the elderly. The call to address geriatric matters, both medical and socioeconomic, resonates due to factors like changing family structures, urbanisation, and empowered women altering traditional caregiving roles.

India’s older people come from different backgrounds, and their health issues can vary based on their gender, where they live, their income, and their culture. As per the 2011 census, 71 per cent of India’s elderly population resides in rural areas, grappling with illiteracy and economic dependency. But what’s even more surprising is that the elders residing in the urban areas suffer from one or the other illness (34.04 per cent) more than their rural counterparts. These figures stress that we must tackle health and money-related problems while supporting healthy ageing for groups that need it most.

The elderly in India face many health problems, as well as hearing and sight issues and ageing-related conditions. Their challenges are amplified by geographical constraints and high medical costs, leading to less use of medical services. But in recent years, we have seen a rise in affordable elder care services that provide home care, rehabilitation care and such services for the elderly at affordable rates. With the concern growing around India’s elderly population, such elder care players bring a ray of hope in providing for and taking care of the elderly in India.

Dynamics of eldercare: A blossoming industry

Changing demographics, urbanisation, and the rise of nuclear families propel the eldercare industry into a phase of dynamic growth. As projected by World Population Prospects, India’s elderly population (aged 60 and above) is set to reach nearly 319 million by 2050. This rapid expansion prompts innovation and adaptation to cater to the diverse demands of the elderly.

One of the most important but neglected sectors Geriatric care, remains conspicuously absent from mainstream medical education. The void extends to nursing and paramedical staff, leaving them ill-equipped for elderly patient care. The lack of specialised geriatric training in most medical institutions and the low-profile nature of this specialty hinder its progress.

With India’s robust public health infrastructure, the spotlight should be on building human resources capacity via specialised education for elderly care. Priority areas include mechanisms of ageing, socio-economic support, promotion of healthy ageing, efficient geriatric healthcare delivery models, research in alternative medicine, and age-related disorder studies. Cultivating culturally aligned and cost-effective geriatric care models are taking centre stage as we navigate into the modern era.

Decoding trends shaping India’s eldercare landscape

India’s approach to eldercare is rapidly evolving. One of the prominent shifts is the rise of Home Care Services, with seniors opting for care within the familiar comforts of home, ensuring both emotional well-being and personalised attention. On the other hand, there is also a rise in specialised care centres for the elderly where dedicated services like post-surgery, post-hospitalization, rehabilitation, palliative care, and Dementia care are provided. We are also seeing many Assisted Living Facilities and senior living facilities come up that present a blend of independence and care.

The advent of technology integration in eldercare, through wearable devices and telemedicine, ensures real-time monitoring and bridges communication gaps. Concurrently, specialised Medical Services address the unique health challenges faced by the elderly, emphasising preventive and chronic disease management.

Diving deeper, the landscape of eldercare in India reveals diverse segments. Home Care Services offer tailored care regimes set in familiar environments. Assisted Living Communities foster social interaction alongside essential amenities, and specialised Medical Services cater to a spectrum of geriatric health needs ensuring seniors experience comfort, dignity, and emotional support in their final days.

India’s vision for an ageing future

As India’s elderly population burgeons, the eldercare industry embarks on a transformative journey. The interplay of evolving trends, diverse segments, and an expanding market paints a landscape rich with opportunities. Infused with compassion, innovation, and a commitment to address seniors’ unique needs, India’s eldercare sector is poised to recalibrate the ageing narrative. In doing so, it charts a path toward a life of dignity, enrichment, and respect for the elderly.


ageing populationelder carehealth newshome caretechnology
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