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Half of elderly people skip doctor visits due to money constraints: Study

The study conducted by NGO Agewell had a sample size of 10,000. The organisation recently shared examples of some of the responses it received in the course of the survey

Elderly, Senior citizen

A new study that surveyed elderly people across India has found that nearly half of its respondents in urban areas do not visit doctors regularly due to financial constraints and logistical challenges. (Representative photo)

Press Trust of India New Delhi

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A new study that surveyed elderly people across India has found that nearly half of its respondents in urban areas do not visit doctors regularly due to financial constraints and logistical challenges and the corresponding figure for rural areas is over 62 per cent.
The study conducted by NGO Agewell had a sample size of 10,000. The organisation recently shared examples of some of the responses it received in the course of the survey.
It said Prabhkar Sharma, a 78-year-old resident of Agra who has been grappling with arthritis for a decade, found navigating hospitals for routine check-ups painful and difficult which often forces him to postpone essential medical visits.
"If there were door-step or mobile health check-up services... it would be very helpful for people of my age group," he told the NGO.
In Ludhiana, 72-year-old Rajesh Kumar faces a different predicament, according to the study.
Dependent solely on his retirement pension, Kumar finds the exorbitant cost of healthcare services prohibitive, it added.
"If I had some mediclaim policy... perhaps I could afford better medical services," the study quoted him as saying.
The study sought to shed light on the broader landscape of issues facing the elderly in India.
The NGO said that 48.6 per cent of elderly respondents of the survey in urban areas did not visit doctors regularly due to financial constraints and logistical challenges and the corresponding figure for rural areas was 62.4 per cent.
In urban areas, 36.1 per cent of elderly respondents reportedly claimed that they visit hospitals and doctors as and when required, the study added.
It also claimed that family dynamics played a pivotal role in this aspect as 24 per cent of the respondents of the survey lived alone.
This isolation exacerbates health concerns and underscores the need for community-based initiatives, the NGO said.
Among the elderly, health-related challenges emerge as the foremost hurdle hindering elderly participation in public and social life, it said, adding that marginalisation and financial constraints further compound these issues.
A total of 10,000 respondents were studied by 510 volunteers across 28 states and Union territories of India in the survey conducted in April 2024, the NGO said.
Among the respondents, 4,741 were from rural areas and 5,259 from urban areas, it added.
During the survey, the NGO said, more than 38.5 per cent of elderly respondents claimed that their current health status was poor or very poor.
Among the respondents, 23.4 per cent said that their current health condition could be termed as average, it added.
For approximately 54.6 per cent of the elderly respondents, their overall financial status was poor or very poor, the study said, adding that 23.3 per cent of the respondents claimed that their financial status could be termed as above-average.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: May 10 2024 | 7:20 AM IST

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