Ageing members of India’s population need constant support, but unfortunately have been largely neglected by all — governments, organisations, individuals and even their own children. Tata Trusts has taken initiatives to improve the quality of life of the elderly population of India, 71 percent of which resides in rural areas. According to Census 2011, over 47 percent of elderly in the villages and 28.5 percent in the cities continue to work.
Increased longevity has resulted in a rise of population above 80 years of age, which accounts for nearly 110 lakh people. With around 6 lakh people over the age of 100, India is expected to have the highest number of centenarians by 2050. As the number of senior citizens increase – from 10 crore in 2011 to an estimated 17 crore in 2026 and 30 crore in 2050 — the need for programmes for their welfare increases.
Tata Trusts has been committed to the cause of betterment of people for many years now — across regions, ages and sections of the society. Considering the challenges faced by the elderly population in India, the Trusts has initiated programmes to cater to their various needs.
To improve the quality of life of elderly people and maintaining their dignity through care-giving, providing social and economic opportunities, and developing an empathetic ecosystem.
The overall approach of the Trusts is to play a transformational role in the geriatric sector by focusing on critical gap areas and creating an ecosystem for convergence of various stakeholders.
The approach followed by the Trusts is articulated below:
The need to ensure the well-being of the growing elderly population has led to the inception of this ambitious project. The Trusts, along with the Social Security and Empowerment for People with Disabilities (SSEPD) Department of the Government of Odisha, has conceptualised a unique hub and spoke centre (neighbourhood centre) in Bhubaneswar. Spread across an area of 4,000 square feet, this hub would be a place which will provide various services and where the elderly can participate in
interesting activities — group discussions, reading, physical fitness, indoor games, basic health services, healthy meals and entertainment. This would be a place that redefines and re-imagines ageing.
The seven-year project is categorised into different phases:
Tata Trusts aims to operationalise National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly (NPHCE) by working closely with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the State Public Health Departments of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana.
The focus areas for the programme will be:
a) To train human resources within the health system to be able to offer elderly care.
b) To collect socio- demographic and socio-economic data related to the elderly as well as make a comprehensive health profile of the elderly through opportunistic screening in the intervention areas.
c) To strengthen the implementation of NPHCE by identifying the gaps on the ground and addressing them through coordinated efforts.
d) To harness technology to reach efficacy and scale by developing methods to strengthen the existing data reporting mechanisms.
e) To coordinate with governments to be able to provide a realistic estimate of drugs and consumables necessary on ground and the mechanism to highlight shortage, if any.
f) To engage with the elderly community for better use of health services.
An elderly response system is being put in place to connect and respond to the elderly population in India by providing a technology-enabled 24x7 response mechanism. The comprehensive system will support elderly people not only in times of distress but also interact with them on a continuous basis. It will support them by providing information, guidance, counselling, and resource linkage. This will be more than just a helpline as it envisages continuous and long-term engagement with the elderly, wherever required.
The system is expected to be fully developed under a public-private partnership (PPP) framework by 2025. The implementation will be carried out in different phases:
During the scale up, it is envisaged that the working model will be taken to the government for funding and partnership in a PPP model. The response system is expected to be a great source of support and comfort for at least 10 crore elderly people in India once it is implemented completely
Maintenance and welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, is an Act that empowers senior citizens to seek maintenance and support from the caregiver in the family. This Act is under revision. Along with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Trusts has contributed to the Amended Bill, 2018, especially in articulating the minimum standards required for running senior living facilities. A study was conducted along with Samarth and UNPFA, which took a fact-based approach to develop a robust estimate to understand the nature and scale of challenges and the required capacity to support implementation of any framework that is adopted.
Based on global experience and best practices, discussions and inputs from experts in developed elder care markets, consultations with experts and practitioners in India as well as an understanding of the baseline, the study has identified five key result areas and 28 performance metrics which offer a set of comprehensive, measurable and practical standards. For more details refer to the report attached.