Superficially the elderly look affluent or enjoying a trouble free life. No need to go for job, having own house property, enjoying life long pension, rental income and “time freedom”. But these facilities are only for those 20% of the senior population; who are prepared for the rainy days. Intention of this article is to address some of the key issues related to elderly, especially financial.
Old Age : A General Perception
Old Age will have multiple definitions. The outlook of today’s youth about getting older is either I’m Just 25. No Need to Worry About Aging, Retirement & Pension or I Don’t Think, I’ll Live Beyond 55.
Let me ask you a simple question. Will you be ready to quit the job today and manage your future life without a job? Some may say “Yes”. But majority of us, I’m sure, can not even imagine of being “jobless”!
So a better way to think could be, even though there are so many advantages today – strength, youthfulness, friends, courage, less commitments; without regular monthly income, it is difficult to manage. Then think of old age; how will we manage, without money & so called “advantages”.
Old age needs more money than you think
A study conducted by HelpAge India on the Problems of the Elderly reveals 10 major causes. The second major concern is “Economic Insecurity”, the first being “Failing Health”.
Joblessness results in zero money received. Lack of income generation made the oldies status to “a mere dependent”; which was earlier the “bread winner of the family”! Though they are receiving pension, its just a fraction of what they were earning and is generally inadequate to meet self expenses even.
Usually the Provident Fund & Gratuity amount received have their share of expenditure waiting. Usually a bunch of that amount is used to (i) get grown up children married (ii) renovating house (iii) buying any other fixed asset like gold or land (iv) children’s education and (v) family survival costs.
Also old age involves more medical expenditure; either for diagnosis or for treatment. Health costs in India are on the rise as this article points out.
The Old in India: A Fact Sheet
If we can classify the factors that affect the old age, they could be
Even though, we have kept the Financial factor at the bottom, its readily understood that, it has a serious influence on all other factors of a senior individual.
The ugly truth about old age in India , an article posted in The Hindu, covers the status of the elderly in India. Its readily implied that, those who are not prepared for their old age will have to suffer denial of food, denial of medicines, abusing, humiliation, beating etc.
A study by NCBI demonstrates, yet another major issue during old age; Depression. Many a times old people are deserted or forced to live alone. The lack of close family member’s interaction make their lives miserable. This leaves them in a state of mental agony. You can read the full article here. All these sufferings are for one reason; they are empty handed and those who are going to take care of them, need to spend a lot from their pockets.
As an underlying fact, The Financial security of the elderly has a major influence on their well being.
Preparedness for the Future
Pursuing a purposeful, meaningful and happy old age is our responsibility. Let us start preparing from today.
“Aging is a common denominator across the world, While there are still many uncertainties on the aging horizon, we can take steps now to make sure old age won’t just mean living long, but living well.” – Dr. Pol Vandenbroucke, Pfizer.