In a country of one billion and plus almost every second elderly person suffers from loneliness, reveals a new study titled ‘Changing Needs & Rights of Older People in India’.
Working on a sample size of 15,000 older people, the survey by Agewell foundation says that 47.49 per cent elderly people in India suffers from loneliness. The condition is worse in urban regions with 3,205 elderly people out of 5000 feeling lonely. “In urban areas 64.1 per cent elderly were found suffering from loneliness, whereas as in rural areas 39.19 per cent elderly (3919 elderly out of 10000 rural elderly) claimed that they are suffering from lonelines,” the survey said.
But what are the factors responsible for loneliness in old age? According to the survey, for majority of the respondents, it was living alone or with their spouses. For others it was “less interaction with family members” (27.3 per cent), “poor health” (19.06 per cent) and “facing isolation and non-availability of social-interaction” (12 per cent). “36.78 per cent elderly suffering from loneliness claimed that living alone or with their spouses only is the most responsible factor for their condition,” the survey noted.
The study also noted how every fifth elderly in India needs some kind of psychological counseling. “Out of the 15,000 total respondents, 2,955 admitted that they seek counseling or advice from their relatives or friends, when they undergo psychological problems,” it said. Among those affected, the share of urban elderly (63.86 per cent) was seeking psychological counseling was higher than those in rural areas (36.14 per cent).
Conducted during the months of April- June 2017, the survey was spread across 300 districts of 25 states and Union Territories of India.