COVID Impact! 70% Senior Citizens Didnt Have Access To Proper Healthcare During Pandemic, Finds Survey

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COVID Impact! 70% Senior Citizens Didn't Have Access To Proper Healthcare During Pandemic, Finds Survey

The survey was conducted across urban India and attempts to bring insights into the lives, aspirations, preferences, opinions, and consumer behaviour traits of senior citizens in India.

Around 70 per cent of senior citizens did not have access to proper healthcare facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, while more than 57 per cent faced mental health problems, a new survey has revealed. The survey by Max group firm Antara was conducted on over 2,100 senior citizens aged 60 and above.

Launched in 2013, Antara is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Max India Limited, one of the three listed entities of the Max Group. It is an integrated service provider for all senior care needs, operating two main lines of businesses, residences for senior citizens and assisted care services.

The survey was conducted across urban India, focusing on the North (Delhi-NCR and Jaipur), the West (Mumbai and Pune), and the South (Bengaluru and Hyderabad). The research was conducted in collaboration with Aeon Insights Market Research, for two-and-a-half months, from March to May end, Outlook reported.

Over 57% Senior Faced Mental Health Issues

While releasing the significant findings from the second edition of its survey titled 'State of Seniors, Antara stated, '"During COVID, 70 per cent of seniors didn't have access to proper healthcare and more than 57 per cent of older adults faced mental health issues."

The survey attempts to bring insights into the lives, aspirations, preferences, opinions, and consumer behaviour traits of senior citizens in India.

Commenting on the survey findings, Rajit Mehta, MD and CEO, Antara said that the study focuses on understanding the challenges and needs of urban seniors in the country. He added that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about notable shifts in their living patterns and preferences, consumption of technology, along with the rise in mental health concerns.

The survey will help gauge the needs and demands of our seniors and understand the evolution in their choices, concerns, and aspirations.

Fear Of Infection & Social Isolation

While the fear of getting infected rose to 65 per cent, 58 per cent of seniors were scared of social isolation due to strict guidelines.

"Voted by 53 per cent, ill-preparedness to fight COVID-19 was one of the main concerns by the elderly persons," Antara said.

After witnessing the devastating second wave, the topmost concern among seniors is how to avoid severe ailments and maintain their health, with 50 per cent voting for it.

Nearly 72 per cent of senior citizens opted for a self-monitored, balanced diet and 55 per cent were dependent on home remedies instead of seeking professional medical help.

"Commenting on the Indian Government's management of the pandemic, 59 per cent of the older adults said only some aspects were managed well," Antara said. This number was 23 per cent in the 2020 survey.

Inadequate Self-Precautionary Measures

About 33 per cent of respondents noted the self-precautionary measures enlisted by the government as inadequate, a considerable decline from 77 per cent in the previous survey.

The company said that only eight per cent of respondents felt the handling was mismanaged on most fronts.

In the last survey, where a significant 32 per cent had stated that the government had done good work, given the limitations, the number fell to zero this year.

An ageing population in India, along with an increasing middle class and enhanced life expectancy, is expected to improve the demand for allied health care services in India, Antara said.

According to the survey, most respondents welcomed the idea of an independent assisted living facility. Around 64 per cent of the respondents liked the idea of such a facility, of which 44 per cent stated they would choose one as it would allow them to live with like-minded individuals, and 24 per cent believed choosing such a facility would ensure their healthcare requirements are covered.

It was found that non-awareness of such existing facilities (37 per cent) and the concept being a different one less information (30 per cent) are the main hindrances to availing them.

Though senior citizens like the concept of assisted living, Antara said there are still some concerns around it. The biggest problem is the lack of awareness and existence of such affordable facilities. In addition, the fear of being alone, especially in lockdown-like scenarios, is another critical area, it added.

Antara's first residential community in Dehradun comprises around 200 apartments spread across 14 acres. In 2020, it launched a new senior living facility in Noida's Sector-150. With 340 apartments in its first phase of development, it will cater to seniors' social, recreational, educational, wellness, and health-related needs. It is expected to be ready for possession by 2024.

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