The number of older people worldwide is set to increase by 56 per cent, from 901 million to more than 1.4 billion people, as the World Health Organization recently published. Already in 2030 there are supposed to be living more people older than 60 years, than young people aged 15 to 25 on this planet. By the year 2021 approximately 10 per cent of India’s population will be composed of older people.
Based on traditions, especially in India the older people are an important part of the families. Anyway, the situation of the elderly population in the multi-generation homes did change rapidly during the last years. Especially in the rural areas older people not only suffer from malnourishment and inadequate hygiene standards, many are impaired by mental health problems in consequence of an isolated live.
Due to the rising number of older people and the current circumstances many elderly people are situated in, ageing is an important issue of GRAVIS’ work in India. For us the elderly deserve support, respect and full attention.
To celebrate this year’s International Day of Older Persons, which is an initiative of the World Health Organization to raise awareness about issues concerning elderly, the GRAVIS team organized three celebrations in honor of older people. A total amount of about 150 dedicated people attended. Based on that year’s topic: “Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society.”, different researchers gave presentations. Topics like older persons’ rights, their role in the society and the abuse of the older generation were discussed.
In addition to the celebrations of the International Day of Older Persons let us take a closer look at GRAVIS’ work to support the elderly in the society. This aspect is of great importance, because the older people have a lot knowledge and valid methods to share with the following generations.
To encourage the awareness of the elderly in the village communities and to make sure the elderly have the chance to participate in the villages’ affairs, GRAVIS established different kinds of ‘Community Based Organizations’. Village Older People’s Associations (VOPA) give an organized voice to the older generation and therefor a strike in the development of their communities. These organizations promote the status of older people in the desert.
Furthermore GRAVIS ensures the elderlies’ well-being by treating diseases and chronicle illnesses, as well as providing mental health services. GRAVIS promotes self care aspects and shares knowledge concerning nutrition and health at an advanced age. In addition to these basic treatments, between 70 and 80 per cent of GRAVIS’ and the Help Age International networks eye care initiatives are beneficiaries for the ones over 60. By taking care of the old peoples’ health, GRAVIS can provide the opportunity for them to participate successfully in the village communities.
*by Lisa Haar, Volunteer