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Social Sciences

2-3 pointson why citizens above the age of 60 should get free healthcare...

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Ageing is a natural process, which presents a unique challenge for all sections of the society. Although the exact definition of elderly age group is controversial, it is defined as persons with a chronological age of 65 years and above.[1] With gradual improvement in health-care delivery services, life expectancy has increased and thus the percentage of the elderly population. It has been estimated that the number of people aged 60 and over will increase to 1.2 billion in 2025 and subsequently to two billion in 2050.[2] Further, by the year 2025, almost 75% of this elderly population will be living in developing nations, which already have an overburdened health-care delivery system.[2] These demographic transitions essentially require shifting the global focus to cater to the preventive health-care and medical needs of the elderly population.[2]

An ageing population tends to have a higher prevalence of chronic diseases, physical disabilities, mental illnesses and other co-morbidities.[3] The health needs and health related problems of elderly people cannot be viewed in isolation. A wide gamut of determinants such as social concerns (viz. children moving out of their parents’ home in search of occupation, leaving them isolated without any physical support in daily activities);[4] maltreatment towards elderly;[5] poor knowledge and awareness about the risk factors;[4] food and nutritional requirements;[6] psycho-emotional concerns (viz. isolation, mental stress, difficulty in keeping themselves occupied);[7] financial constraints (viz. definite reduction in income upon retirement, to the extent that it may interfere with bare needs of life as adequate nutrition, clothing and shelter);[4] health-care system factors (viz. most countries lack effective health insurance system for elderly coupled with accessibility concerns and inadequacies in the government health-care system);[2,4,7] and physical correlates;[2] determine the medical problems and thus cast a significant impact on the quality-of-life of the elderly.[8]

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