New Delhi: Citing increase in life expectancy, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday emphasised on providing affordable and accessible medical care for the elderly.
Addressing a function, he said there is a need to sensitise various strata of society, especially younger generation, to challenges of social isolation, neglect, care and emotional support being faced by elderly people.
Mukherjee said both the voluntary and corporate sectors must also be encouraged to set up institutional care centres to make available comprehensive care, including geriatric healthcare facilities, to the inmates.
The elderly face a plethora of physical problems, including reduced physical strength, decreased immunity, aggravation of ailments already present, onset of sensory and motor disabilities, weakened memory and a slide in intellectual prowess, he said.
"Combination of adverse health conditions such as these can have serious implications for the physical, emotional and economic well-being of our senior citizens. If an elderly person is unable to secure specialised medical care due to lack of affordability or accessibility, it will compound the hardships already being faced by him or her.
"It is important that institutions to provide geriatric care be established, strengthened and made more affordable for the common man," the President said during a function organised by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to honour senior citizens.
Citing the Indian tradition of respecting and caring for elders and terming elderly the most valuable part of the family, he said that society "must not let this socio-cultural asset of ours wither away".
"The societal transformation from joint to nuclear families notwithstanding, we must encourage in the younger lot the ability and keenness to facilitate ageing in their own homes. To realise this, the availability of geriatric care givers at affordable cost must be ensured," Mukherjee said.
October 1 is observed as the International Day of Older Persons.