Population ageing

Chu Viet Nga

Intergenerational model gives hope even during pandemics

“The COVID-19 pandemic is causing untold fear and suffering for older people across the world”, said United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres last week on the launch of the policy brief on older persons and coronavirus disease (COVID-19). “The fatality rate for older people is higher overall, and for those over 80, it is five times the global average.” Beyond its immediate health impact, the pandemic is putting older people at higher risk of poverty, discrimination and isolation. It is likely to have a particularly devastating effect on older people in developing countries, added Guterres. The World Health Organization (WHO) also declared, “older people are at highest risk from COVID-19, but all must act to prevent community spread.” In India, government data shows that although only 19% of confirmed COVID-19 cases were among the elderly, 63% of deaths happened among them. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), population ageing has reached a level where it is having a significant impact on all sectors of the economy. To deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), governments need to ensure that people of all age groups can live healthy, active and fulfilling lives. We cannot leave the older people behind! The UNFPA adds: “In order to cope with the ageing of the population, it is therefore no longer sufficient to meet the expectations and needs of the older population only, but it requires a more comprehensive approach to address its effects on all population groups.” It recommends taking a life cycle approach. Preparing for old age from youth time will be very useful for a better life in old age and reduce the health burdens that may occur if unprepared otherwise. One generation can learn from one another, and aid each other to build stable, healthy and wholesome communities. Intergenerational approach In the ongoing Sustainable Development e-Talks (#SDGtalks) series, co-hosted by Indian Institute of Management Indore and CNS, Chu Viet Nga from HelpAge International in Vietnam, shared that any programme aimed at helping the elderly should not merely focus on food and medication. It should be fulfilling in a multitude…