Concerns of Elderly Women's Wellbeing: Some Policy Issues

Concerns of Elderly Women's Wellbeing: Some Policy Issues

Ratna Kumari Bandila (Andhra University, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4772-3.ch017
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Abstract

Marginalization/isolation or alienation in old age is among the most common issues that are affecting older women. Elderly women, who are still living with their sons/daughters and grand-children, are also suffering from emotional alienation. Due to fast changing socio-economic scenario of the country, fast paced modern lifestyle, and rapid urbanization across the country, younger generations hardly interact with their elderly family members. Popularity of nuclear family system has virtually crushed the strong traditional bond between grandchildren and grandmothers. The authors analyze this situation thoroughly and ask themselves (1) do the national policies for older persons help the aged women to enhance their wellbeing and (2) does the judiciary show alternate arrangements for the wellbeing of our senior citizens?
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Prologue

Listen to your father who gave you life and do not despise your mother when she is old. (Proverbs 23:22) The Bible

With increased life span of older women in old age, their financial needs are emerging as a major concern. However, today, many older women have property/money, but they cannot possibly use the money or take financial decisions on their own. Social traditions don’t allow them to use their ancestral property / money for their own welfare. They may be rich or poor; they always have to act according to others’ directives. Since they are habitual of sacrificing their own interests for the good of other family members throughout their life, in old age they don’t want to ask for their share. As per the Manus code “the women in India needs protection and security so that she right be protected throughout her Clyde in her childhood under the connect of father, younger hood under the husband and in the Old age under the son or grandson”.

Feminization of older population groups is a phenomenon observed throughout the world, because women survive to higher age than men in a vast majority of countries. India’s elderly population has already crossed 130 million marks during 2016. As per analysis of census data and projections, elderly population sex ratio is in favor of female elderly. As per the census 2011, whereas for total Indian population sex ratio is in favor of male population in ratio 940:1000, for elderly at (60+) population it’s in favor of elderly women by1022:1000. Elderly population analysis shows that in upper age groups, population of older women is increasing remarkably. At the age of 65, 70, 75, and 80 there are 1310, 1590, 1758, and 1980 elderly women respectively per 1000 elderly men. We all know generally women live longer than men but the study suggests that there is a sudden acceleration in decline of the number of old men from the age of 70 onwards, where as it has been found that the faster decline in number of old women starts only after the age of 80 years (Agewell, 2011).

The sex ratio among elderly people was as high as 1028 women (per 1,000 males) in 1951, subsequently dropped and again reached up to 1033 in 2011. The life expectancy at birth during 2009-13 was 69.3 for women as against 65.8 years for men. At the age of 60, average remaining length of life was found to be about 18 years (16.9 for men and 19.0 for women) and that at age 70 was less than 12 years (10.9 for men and 12.3 for women). The report stated that the old-age dependency ratio climbed from 10.9 per cent in 1961 to 14.2 per cent in 2011 for India as a whole. For females and males, the value of the ratio was 14.9 per cent and 13.6 per cent in 2011. Between rural and urban ratios there has been considerable difference in all the periods and this may be due to relatively higher concentration of working age population in urban areas.

According to 2011 Census the old-age dependency ratios are 15.1 and 12.4 for rural and urban areas respectively, it added (Government of India, 2016). In rural areas, 66 per cent of elderly men and 28 per cent of elderly women were working, while in urban areas only 46 per cent of elderly men and about 11 per cent of elderly women were working. The proportion of literates among elderly persons increased from 27 per cent in 1991 to 44 per cent in 2011 (Government of India, 2016). The literacy rates among elderly females (28%) is less than half of the literacy rate among elderly males (59%). In the age-group of 60-64 years, 76 per cent persons were married while 22 per cent were widowed (Government of India, 2016). Remaining 2 per cent were either never married or divorced. Hence there is an urgent need to focus on the concerns of elderly women in India to give a happy and peaceful old age life for them.

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Research Questions

  • 1.

    Why are old women left at the out skirts of the city or roads? or at funeral grounds?

  • 2.

    What are the reasons for physical and emotional abuse of elderly women?

  • 3.

    Why their old age is so sad without family members support? Do we forget our culture “Mathro Devobhava”?

  • 4.

    Do they remain unwanted AMMA after serving family for many years? Are we concerned?

  • 5.

    Do the National Policy for Older Persons in 1999 helps the aged women to enhance their well-being?

  • 6.

    Do the judiciary showing alternate arrangements for the well-being of our senior citizens?

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