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Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Database on elderly persons mooted

By Our Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MARCH 3. A database of elderly persons above 60 years, including the personal details, family, health problems and economic status, should be prepared at the local level and the welfare of these persons should be ensured by a special cell at the panchayat or municipality-level.

The recommendation has come from the Kerala Statistical Institute, which conducted a need assessment study of the elderly population in Kerala in December 2004.

The database should be updated regularly and the special cell should coordinate and supervise all welfare measures in respect of the elderly at the local level. It has also been suggested that the cell identify elderly persons from the database, who have the potential to perform useful work and to tap their potential.

A social security scheme to provide assistance to those above 70 years and are poor, has also been suggested.

Another important recommendation of the study is that a team of doctors at the primary health centres (PHCs) be trained to look into the health problems of the elderly and that periodic check-up of elderly persons in every panchayat be ensured by the special cell.

Geriatric wards

The study has also recommended the opening of geriatric wards in every taluk hospital and special arrangements at PHCs to make house calls for treating elderly persons.

The study covered 4,500 persons aged 60 and above, in the three districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta and Malappuram.

A clinical assessment study was also done on 300 of the 4,500 subjects of the main survey, spread over 19 wards.

The socio-demographic profile of the elderly indicate that women comprised 55 per cent of the total population, with 78 per cent of them being widows. Among men, 12 per cent were widowers.

About 65 per cent of the surveyed households had only one elderly person, while 35 per cent households had two or more aged persons.

About 80 per cent of the elderly lived with their children and grandchildren, while 5 per cent lived alone. Of those who were living alone, 85 per cent were women.

Economic dependency was reported by 48 per cent of the subjects. The income was barely adequate for 41 per cent. In the case of those living alone, only 24 per cent had adequate income.

Diabetes, joint pain, asthma and heart diseases were some of the ailments that the elderly suffered from. Only eight per cent had chronic ailments. About 22 per cent of the aged persons were physically dependent on family members.

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