Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday called for providing special care and support to the elderly in the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic. Highlighting the higher degree of risk faced by the older people in health emergencies like this, he also advised the youngsters and other family members to take extra precautions related to COVID-19 if there are elderly members at home.

In a Facebook post on the issues pertaining to the elderly population in India, the Vice President said that seldom, one finds a separate geriatric department in District Hospitals to look after the old-age health issues.

In view of the frequent health-related problems faced by the elderly, he emphasised the need to reorient our health system to address the specific needs of the geriatric population, including insurance coverage.

He also called for providing the elderly with an easy and barrier-free access to public places. Our cities and the facilities within them should be accessible to the elderly, he said.

Mentioning various schemes for the welfare of senior citizens, Naidu said that despite these government policies and programs, we still see the senior citizens facing a lot of hassles in accessing various services.

“It is the sacred duty of everyone, including the youngsters to take care of the elders,” he said.

Referring to a recent report on the status of ‘Elderly Population in India’ brought out by the Indian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, Naidu highlighted the fact that there are over 10 crore people in 60+ age group and their numbers are increasing at a faster pace than the population in general.

The report suggests that by 2050, the elderly population will make 20 per cent of India’s population. It also says that a large proportion of elderly in India are living alone or are dependent on their children and there is a certain degree of abuse faced by many of them.