Sanjay Kumar, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
K. S. James, International Institute for Population Sciences
With increasing longevity, it is important to ensure that the elderly not merely live longer, but are able to lead a healthy life. The utilization of health care services by elderly is equally important, which is govern by many factors including knowledge, affordability, availability and accessibility of the services. With the lack of credible health insurance scheme, the increased health expenditure have to be borne by the elderly from out of pocket, in case they are not able to access public health system. The utilization is influenced by various social-cultural, economic and other factors like distance, cost and quality of care. Only one-third of the elderly seeking outpatient health care from health facility in India. As per LASI survey, 59% of the elderly had sought outpatient services during one year and nearly two-thirds sought it from the private sector. Elderly belonging to marginalized sections and lower economic strata are more likely to avail public health system and enhancing the outpatient care at the primary health care level will go a long way to cater to the health care needs of the vulnerable elderly.
Keywords: Population ageing, Health and morbidity, Older adults