Elderly Policy Aims & Objectives

11 November 2020

Md. Arafat Rahman :
Aging is a normal consequence of human life. There are different opinions about the definition of aging. However, considering the physical, mental, behavioral, social and cultural aspects, aging scientists have mainly identified aging in terms of age. In the industrialized countries of the world, 65-year-olds are considered to be elderly but according to the UN declaration, people aged 60 and above are called elderly in Bangladesh. As a result, the number of elderly people is increasing rapidly. According to the projection of the population, in 2050 the rate of the elderly population will be 20 percent, which means that one out of every five people in Bangladesh will be elderly. This growth rate is now a big challenge for our national life.
Elderly people are a significant part of the country's growing population. As the average life expectancy of people increases, the rate of growth of the elderly population is comparatively higher than the rate of population growth. According to the United Nations, in the 25 years from 1975 to 2000, the elderly population increased from 360 million to 600 million. The growth rate is even higher in Bangladesh. The elderly population in Bangladesh was 6 million in 1991 which has increased to 11 million in 2011. If this rate continues, the aging population will be 19 percent of the total population of developing countries in the next fifty years. This global demographic transformation will have a devastating effect on individuals, societies, nations and socio-economics because older people suffer from various problems related to aging and aging is identified as one of the major problems in the world today.
Health problems and economic insecurity are among the major problems of the elderly in Bangladesh. Family is an ancient institution in the context of our culture. In the past, the elderly received services and support from everyone in the joint family. There was a special value and culture practice of taking care of the elders in the family and society with respect and esteem. But now, as a result of social, cultural and economic changes, joint families are breaking up. The elderly are losing sympathy for them, increasing neglect and deprivation.
The goal of National Elderly Policy adopted by Bangladesh government in 2014 is to ensure a dignified, poverty-free, working, healthy and safe social life for the elderly. The purpose of this policy is to include the issue of seniority in the relevant national policies and to implement it by specifying the appropriate action plan, taking steps for the recognition of the social, cultural, economic and political contributions of the elderly; adoption and implementation of policies to create opportunities for participation of elders in local government, development and social initiatives and institutions; incorporate the issue of the elderly into the national health policy and adopt and implement the policy of providing services to the elderly on the basis of priority in the existing public and private health care structures and encourage social and private initiatives.
Considering enacting legislation for the overall protection of the elderly due to increasing urbanization and the breakdown of the conventional joint family system, conducting and updating information on the elderly in the field of state information, conducting survey and research work for this purpose, ensuring suitable housing for all classes of senior citizens, ensuring the priority of the elderly in overall disaster management such as pre-disaster warning, disaster safety measures, shelter, relief and subsequent rehabilitation programs, bringing the media under social and institutional responsibility to create public awareness about senior issues and inclusion of senior subjects in education and training lessons, providing special assistance to people with disabilities by eliminating all inequalities and neglects cited.
To take initiative to introduce special welfare programs for the elderly such as: identifying the poorest, disadvantaged, disabled, physically ill and physically weak and the elderly without family support on the basis of priority and taking welfare programs for them, emphasis on institutional services for neglected seniors, encouraging and strengthening the work of voluntary organizations engaged in the welfare of the elderly, providing government relief and other assistance, launching welfare programs in a joint venture between government and private organizations, establishing of special 'welfare funds', introducing 'Veteran Welfare Savings Certificates', raising funds with grants from local and international organizations and spending on the welfare of the elderly, fundraising by collecting donations and grants from industrialists, wealthy individuals, donor trusts / institutions and others and allocating funds in the government budget for programs and projects for the welfare of the elderly and providing grants to organizations works for the welfare of the elderly.

(Mr. Arafat is Asst. Officer, Career & Professional Development Services Department, Southeast University. E-mail: arafat.bcpr@seu.edu.bd)

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