Most of them are digitally illiterate. Many don’t have their own source of income. Most have not been admitted in hospital in the past one year — these are some of the findings of a study carried out on the living standards of 1,262 senior citizens aged over 60 across Mumbai’s slums.
According to the study, titled “Life of the aged residing in the urban slum areas of Mumbai” by SNDT University, nearly half the senior citizens living in slums are illiterate. The elderly there, it found, are digitally illiterate with only 1.3 per cent saying they know how to use a computer.
Besides, the study found that 68 per cent of the aged residing in slums do not have toilet facilities in their own homes. At 79.6 per cent, a high percentage of the aged, both men and women, are unemployed.
Only 20 per cent said that they had retired — 78.4 per cent said they never retired. “This was maybe because they worked in the unorganised sector and that’s why the question of retirement never arose in their cases,” says the study.
Only 30.3 per cent of the elderly said they had their own income. Almost 50 per cent earned only up to Rs 500 per month. A very small percentage earned more than Rs 5,000.
Nearly 71 per cent of the elderly, both men and women, had not been admitted to hospital in the past one year. The study found that only about 1 per cent of the elderly were covered under any insurance scheme.
Nearly 50 per cent — 51.4 per cent women and 45.1 per cent men — said they did contribute to their families by looking after the house in the absence of other members of the family; 16.8 per cent and 14.1 per cent of the aged were involved in babysitting and childcare for the whole day and half-day, respectively.
According to the study, 33 per cent of the aged are not accompanied by anyone on their health visits; an equal percentage are accompanied by their sons followed by their spouses. Forty per cent of the aged are attended to either by their spouse or son when they are admitted to hospital.