Elderly in Delhi-NCR feel isolated: Study



New Delhi: Isolation, both of the social and emotional kind, is one of the main aftermath of fast changing socio-economic and demographic scenario experienced by older people, according to a findings of a recent study conducted in Delhi and its surrounding region.

"83.8 per cent of older persons were found isolated in old age (60 plus age group) in Delhi and NCR. They said that they feel isolated or experience loneliness in their present life," said the study conducted by Agewell Foundation.

The study aims at understanding the present status and needs of older persons in Delhi and NCR with fast changing socio-economic and demographic scenario, growing popularity of nuclear families and fast changing traditional value system, needs of older persons have also changed vehemently.

It took a representative sample of 15000 older persons (7710 older men and 7290 older women) who were subject to interviews conducted from September to October in 2012.

"Delhi-NCR has a total population of over 2 crore and more than 8 per cent of this consists of older persons (above 60). Delhi alone has an elderly population of over 12 lakh," says the study titled "Comprehensive study on status of older persons Delhi-NCR."

"Level of isolation in old age of older persons living in urban areas was quite higher upto 89.8 per cent in comparison to older persons of rural areas, where 77.6 per cent people reportedly feel isolated," it said

A majority of older persons (44.2 per cent) interviewed said "no or less interaction with family members or within society" is major cause of their state of isolation.

A total of 37.5 per cent elderly say they feel isolated because they were living alone or with their spouse only. The populace of 60 plus years was randomly selected according to rural elderly and urban elderly and again categorised into males and females.

According to the recent report on UN Population Fund India had 90 million elderly people in 2011, with the number expected to grow to 173 million by 2026.

Meanwhile, in the Agewell study, urban areas seemed to fare poorer than their rural counterparts for senior citizens.

"In urban areas of Delhi and NCR 44 percent older persons were reported isolated socially as well as emotionally. Here older persons were much affected by emotional isolation (26 per cent) than social isolation (25 per cent)," quotes the study.

In rural areas 20.8 older persons were found socially isolated and 19 per cent older persons were emotionally isolated. Also, in villages of Delhi and NCR 36 per cent older persons reported social as well emotional isolation.

"No or less interaction with family members or within society" is the major cause of their state of isolation or loneliness in Delhi and NCR," it said.

PTI