Over 81 percent elderly find inflation ‘increasingly painful’

The worst sufferers were people belonging to the lower middle-income groups

Political protests may be voicing the miserable state of citizens under inflationary pressures but the report of an NGO working for senior citizens is shocking.

The Agewell Foundation has come out with a report stating that 4 out of 5 senior citizens are suffering due to rising inflation.

It says 81.4% elderly found inflation  “increasingly painful”

MS Education Academy

The Foundation has come out with a study titled “Impact of Rising Inflation on Older Persons in India (With a special focus on Impact on their Human Rights)”.

The national level study conducted in July 2022 had a sample size of over 10,000 elderly respondents from different socio-economic groups spread across 24 states/UTs of India.

 The main objective of the study was to undertake a socio-economic situational study on the impact of rising inflation on the economic status, psychological issues, and human rights of older persons.

 As many as 81.4% of elderly (8142 out of 10000 elderly respondents) claimed that they are affected by rising inflation.

The worst sufferers were people belonging to the lower middle-income groups as many as  94% of elderly respondents from this category claimed that rising inflation has affected them.

While 86.1 % of respondents were affected by inflation in the middle-income group, 76 % were affected in the upper middle. In the upper-income groups, the percentage of elderly respondents affected by inflation came down to only 26 %.

The most important factor for rising inflation was found to be increased prices of goods and services according to 26.8% of respondents.

A small group of 16.5% of respondents attributed their limited or reduced income due to various factors like lockdown, reduced rate of interest, and loss of jobs/business as the primary factor responsible for finding it difficult to meet their cost of living.

The most critical effect of rising inflation on the elderly according to 24% of those surveyed was “increased financial dependence on others”, while 21.6 % felt that it was the loss of savings/investments, 15.6% of elderly felt that poor psychological health in old age is the most prominent as well as a critical effect of the rising prices.

As far as the most important factor responsible for the rising inflation, 25.8% of respondents said that they have been suffering mainly since the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

According to 23.7% of respondents, the rate of inflation is more painful for almost one year.

Covid-19 situation and related factors like lockdowns, and restrictions were considered the most important factors responsible for rising inflation according to 28.57% of respondents.

Depression and hopelessness were the major psychological impacts of not being able to meet their expenses, according to 24.85 % of respondents.

The elderly suffered from nervousness and anxiety due to rising inflation according to 21.8 % of respondents.

The most significant psychological impact of inflation was loneliness and isolation according to 17.6 percent of the elderly surveyed.

Inflation has led to increasing their cost of living said 31.8 % of the respondents. While 19.76% reportedly said that loss of investments and savings was the most critical economic impact.

About 24.5% of elderly respondents said that the most critical impact of the rising prices is increased vulnerability towards elder abuse.

Due to rising inflation, 21.7% claimed that older people must compromise their living conditions.

According to Agewell Foundation, its survey data suggested that there is a direct link between rising inflation with the status of human rights of older people.

The Study has stressed an urgent need to launch reskilling /retooling / digital literacy training initiatives for needy older persons so that they can be assisted in finding suitable gainful engagements and beat the rising inflation.

At the same time, special focus should be given to awareness generation about the needs of people in old age and sensitizing the society towards older people.

 Himanshu Rath, Founder Chairman, Agewell Foundation, says, “Due to their dependency on family members, older persons don’t raise their voice against any form of elder abuse. They accept it as a part of their bitter life.”

 He said, “Today, there is an urgent need to create awareness about issues concerning old people and empower them. There should be a realization in society that during such a turbulent time, older persons need all possible support, and they cannot be left alone, at any cost.”

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