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Financial struggles prevent elderly from accessing healthcare, says new study

The NGO said that 48.6 per cent of elderly respondents in urban areas did not visit doctors regularly due to financial constraints and logistical challenges, and the corresponding figure for rural areas was 62.4 per cent.

News Arena Network - New Delhi - UPDATED: May 9, 2024, 09:34 PM - 3 mins read

Financial struggles prevent elderly from accessing healthcare, says new study

Financial struggles prevent elderly from accessing healthcare, says new study

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According to a new study that surveyed elderly people across India has found that nearly half of its respondents in urban areas do not visit doctors regularly due to financial constraints and logistical challenges and the corresponding figure for rural areas is over 62 per cent.

 

The study conducted by NGO Agewell had a sample size of 10,000. The organisation recently shared examples of some of the responses it received during the survey.

 

It said Prabhakar Sharma, a 78-year-old resident of Agra who has been grappling with arthritis for a decade, found navigating hospitals for routine check-ups painful and difficult, which often forces him to postpone essential medical visits.

 

"If there were door-step or mobile health check-up services... it would be very helpful for people of my age group," he told the NGO.

 

According to the study, 72-year-old Rajesh Kumar faces a different predicament in Ludhiana.

 

Dependent solely on his retirement pension, Kumar finds the exorbitant cost of healthcare services prohibitive, it added.

 

The study quoted him as saying, "If I had some mediclaim policy... perhaps I could afford better medical services."

 

The study sought to shed light on the broader landscape of issues facing the elderly in India.

 

The NGO said that 48.6 per cent of elderly respondents in urban areas did not visit doctors regularly due to financial constraints and logistical challenges, and the corresponding figure for rural areas was 62.4 per cent.

 

In urban areas, 36.1 per cent of elderly respondents reportedly claimed that they visit hospitals and doctors as and when required, the study added.

 

It also claimed that family dynamics played a pivotal role in this aspect, as 24 per cent of the survey respondents lived alone.

 

The NGO said this isolation exacerbates health concerns and underscores the need for community-based initiatives.

 

Among the elderly, health-related challenges emerge as the foremost hurdle hindering elderly participation in public and social life, it said, adding that marginalisation and financial constraints further compound these issues.

 

The NGO said 510 volunteers studied 10,000 respondents across 28 states and Union territories of India in the survey conducted in April 2024.

 

Among the respondents, 4,741 were from rural areas and 5,259 from urban areas, it added.

 

The NGO said that during the survey, more than 38.5 per cent of elderly respondents claimed that their current health status was poor or very poor.

 

It added that 23.4 per cent of the respondents said their current health condition could be average.

 

The study said that approximately 54.6 per cent of the elderly respondents' overall financial status was poor or very poor, adding that 23.3 per cent of the respondents claimed that their financial status could be termed above average.



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