7 in 10 of seniors in urban India lacked access to healthcare | Healthcare Asia Magazine
, India

7 in 10 of seniors in urban India lacked access to healthcare

More than half relied on home remedies instead of seeking medical help.

As many as seven in 10 seniors in urban India did not have access to proper healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey from senior care service provider Antara.

The survey noted that the fear of getting infected among seniors in the country rose to 65%, but 58% of seniors were scared of social isolation as a result of strict guidelines. Voted by 53%, ill-preparedness to fight COVID-19 was one of the top concerns of the elderly.

After witnessing the second wave, the topmost concern amongst seniors is how to avoid serious ailments and maintain health, an issue raised by 50% of the respondents. About 72% of seniors opted for a self-monitored, balanced diet and 55% relied on home remedies instead of seeking professional medical help.

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Most seniors were also monitoring and taking care of their health through regular physical activity (57%) in 2020, which has now reduced to only 22%.

Commenting on the government’s management of COVID-19, 59% of the seniors said only some aspects were managed well. About 33% found the self-precautionary measures enlisted by the government inadequate and 8% thought the handling was mismanaged.

During the second wave, India not only suffered a great loss of lives but also saw a sharp drop in GDP, Antara noted. In the previous survey, where a significant 32% applauded the government’s effort, the number fell to 0 this year.

An ageing population in India, along with a growing middle class and enhanced life expectancy, is expected to boost the demand for allied health care services in India. This is expected to gravitate towards wellness and preventive services.

A majority of the respondents welcomed the idea of an independent assisted living facility, the survey noted. 64% of the respondents liked the idea, of which 44% of them said they would choose one as it would allow them to live with like-minded people and 24% believed it will ensure that their healthcare needs are covered.

It was noted that non-awareness of such existing facilities (37%) and the concept being a novel one less information (30%) are the key hindrances to availing them.

“Though seniors like the concept of assisted living, there still are some concerns around it. The biggest issue being lack of awareness and existence of such affordable facilities. Also, the fear of being secluded, especially in lockdown-like situations is another critical area,” Antara said.

The survey was conducted across urban India, with a focus on the North (Delhi-NCR & Jaipur), the West (Mumbai & Pune), and the South (Bengaluru & Hyderabad), with a Random Sampling methodology, covering over 2,100 seniors aged 60 and above from March to May.

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