The world is ageing fast. By 2030, there will be more people over 60 than under 10 years of age.
- The world’s population is rapidly ageing: The number of people aged 60 years or older will rise from 900 million to 2 billion between 2015 and 2050 (moving from 12% to 22% of the total global population).
- Ageism can be as pervasive than sexism or racism
- When it comes to health, there is no ‘typical’ older person: Biological ageing is only loosely associated with person age in years. Some 80 year-olds have physical and mental capacities similar to many 20 year-olds
- Health in older age is not random: Besides genetics, it is due to their physical and social environments, and the influence on their opportunities and health behaviour
- Comprehensive public health action will require fundamental shifts in how we think about ageing and health
- Health systems need to be realigned to the needs of older populations
- In the 21st century, all countries need an integrated system of long-term care
- Healthy Ageing involves all levels and sectors of government.
Government Policies in Nepal
The government started to include plans, policies and programmes for family-based security system to enable elderly to lead a dignified life since the Ninth Five Year Plan (1997-2002). Since then many initiatives have been taken with regards to:
- Old–Age-Allowance (OAA) of Rs. 2000 per month to people age 70 and above. The government provides Rs. 1500 per month for 60+
- The government has pension scheme for retired public servants and their widows and children.
- The government also adds 10% in the total pension amount to the pensioners who are aged 75 years and above. However, only less than 7% of elders in Nepal benefit. Majority of the population receive no pension and must depend on family support and personal savings
- Following the “Senior Citizens Health Facilities Program Implementation Guideline, 2061BS”, the poverty affected elderly people are provided free medicine and treatment up to NRs. 2000 at a time in all 75 districts from the fund.
- It is stated in the Senior Citizens Acts that “each organization providing health services shall provide health services by giving priority to the senior citizens”. There is also the provision to provide separate geriatric wards in the public hospitals Transport discounts for elders
Elder Care in Nepal
- Old-age Homes: There is an Old Age Home in the premises of temple Pashupati Nath (Pashupati Bridrashram) for the destitute elders. Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare operates the old-age home that has the capacity for only 230 elderly people. This is the only one shelter for elderly people run by the government which was established in 1976
- There are about 70 organizations registered with the government (GCN 2010) spread all over Nepal. These organizations vary in their organizational status (government, private, NGO, CBO, personal charity), capacity, facilities, and the services they provide. Most of them are charity organizations. About 1,500 elders are living in these old-age homes at present.
- These organizations are providing services to elderly out of the individual’s initiatives. The services are determined with the consent of the individual generosity. The services and care, virtually, do not include aspects that are essential to cater elderly in these Homes.
(Status Report on Elderly People (60+) in Nepal on Health, Nutrition and Social Status Focusing on Research Needs, Govt. of Nepal, 2004)