The coronavirus pandemic made life of lakhs of people misearable. But the fact is that the mosted affected were the elderly people. Now, a survey has found that around 85 per cent of the elderly said that they went through difficult times during the COVID-19 pandemic, with financial woes topping the list of critical issues. The survey, which included around 10,000 elderly persons, by Agewell Foundation also revealed that 73.6 per cent (7,357) of the respondents said that a paralysed healthcare system affected their life adversely.
“Older persons must be given equal rights and opportunities in a non-discriminatory manner, so that their participation in the mainstream and contribution to sustainable development can be ensured,” Himanshu Rath, founder chairman of Agewell Foundation, said.
The survey found that the COVID-19 phenomenon had changed the attitude of more than 82.6 per cent elderly, with 75.1 per cent saying they were not optimistic about the future or were uncertain about the future.
Among the affected – 8,489 elderly – financial issues were termed as the most critical by 28.3 per cent (2,389), while 25.4 per cent (2,158) said that they found social issues more critical, the survey found.
As many as 22.4 per cent elderly respondents claimed that healthcare issues were critical for them and 21.7 per cent respondents found psychological conditions more critical during the situation, it found.
The survey found that 45.7 per cent respondents termed sense of loneliness or isolation as the most prominent psychological issue followed by restlessness (27.8 per cent).
According to 31.8 per cent elderly, disease and poor health were the most prominent reason for psychosocial impact, while 19.2 per cent and 25.3 per cent elderly respectively considered financial issues and restricted social interaction as the most prominent reason for that.
The survey found financial impact on the elderly was mainly due to loss of family income (30.2 per cent), loss of business or professional income (25.1 per cent), heavy medical expenses (23.8 per cent) and rising inflation (14.1 per cent).
Every fifth elderly respondent (19.5 per cent) their quality of life had been compromised due to rising inflation, it found.
The survey found 20.5 per cent elderly also claimed that they had to compromise with unhealthy or unhygienic conditions due to rising prices.
It found that 18.8 per cent elderly claimed that they had lost their savings or investments due to inflation during Covid.