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Elderly in India Face Healthcare Challenges Due to Financial Constraints: Study

Elderly hospital India
Representational

A recent study conducted by NGO Agewell, surveying 10,000 elderly individuals across India, has found obstacles hindering regular healthcare access among the elderly population, particularly due to financial constraints and logistical challenges.

The study found that nearly half of urban respondents (48.6%) and over 62% of rural respondents cited financial limitations and logistical difficulties as reasons for irregular doctor visits. Examples from the survey illustrate the struggles faced by elderly individuals like Prabhkar Sharma from Agra, who said that it was difficult to navigate hospitals for routine check-ups due to arthritis, and Rajesh Kumar from Ludhiana, who faces financial constraints despite retirement pension, making healthcare costs prohibitive.

“If I had some mediclaim policy… perhaps I could afford better medical services,” the study quoted Kumar as saying.

Family dynamics also play a crucial role, with 24% of respondents living alone.

The study indicates that health-related challenges are the primary barrier to elderly participation in public and social life, compounded by marginalization and financial constraints. Over 38.5% of respondents rated their current health status as poor or very poor, while 54.6% reported poor or very poor overall financial status.

To gather data, 510 volunteers conducted the survey across 28 states and Union territories in April 2024. Among the respondents, 4,741 were from rural areas and 5,259 from urban areas.

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