Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today stressed the need to promote the family system, its values, right from school days and teach children the need to respect elders. He urged the immediate family members and the community at large to accord the highest priority to taking care of the elderly.
Addressing the gathering after releasing the book, “Health and Well Being in Late Life: Perspectives and Narratives from India” written by Dr Prasun Chatterjee, a specialist in Geriatric Medicine, AIIMS, he expressed anguish over reports of abuse of elders or their abandonment, he said that many elders were forced to stay in old age homes.
Describing the elderly as the conscious keepers of the society, the Vice President said that there was an urgent need to create a holistic understanding of the issue of ageing and take steps to make people prepare for the inevitable.
Pointing out that ageing increases one’s susceptibility to many diseases and conditions and that old people often feel depressed, lonely and find it difficult to adjust to the changes taking place as a result of ageing, the Vice President called for adequate steps must be taken to provide facilities for them.
Stating that India was ageing much faster than previously thought and expected to have nearly 20 per cent population of the world’s 60 years and above by 2050 with the largest number of older adults in the world, the Vice President said that one must be prepared to address all challenges and be prepared to give elders a joyous, healthy and happy late life.
He asked all stakeholders in the health sector to work for the well being of the elderly and stressed that good health was the right of all, irrespective of age.
Vice President Naidu appreciated the government of India for implementing the National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly (NPHCE). He said that the government was proactively working on lifestyle modification, non-communicable disease management, vision and hearing problem management, and accessible health care through Ayushman Bharat.
Keeping the rise in demand for specialized care for elderly people, the Vice President wanted institutes like AIIMS to be at the forefront in promoting healthy ageing and urged upon doctors to participate in community building by promoting Active engagement of older adults.
He also stressed the need to set up Geriatric Departments in medical colleges across the country in view of the increasing population of the elderly.
Talking about the book, he said that it discusses preparedness for an ageing individual as well as the society in the Indian context. Apart from highlighting the health issues like depression and dementia, Vice President Naidu said that the book provides a detailed analysis of solutions that are practicable in low resource settings.