Survey: Nearly 65% elderly suffered loss of livelihood in Covid-19 lockdown

4 months ago 32
google news

NEW DELHI: Loss of livelihood due to circumstances arising out of Covid-19 pandemic is impacting many senior citizens who have no choice but to earn to make both ends meet. A pan - India survey released on Monday shows 65% of the over 5000 elderly respondents from across 21 states and union territories said that the lockdown to combat the pandemic had adversely impacted their source of livelihood.
From loss of work to drastic loss in wages, the survey records the vulnerability of the elderly who as per the government’s guidelines must preferably stay indoors to prevent catching the viral infection.
Of those whose livelihood was impacted, more than 30% of elders were over 70 years old. Around 67% were between 60-69 years, a stark 28% in the old-old category (70 – 79 years) and 5% in the oldest-old age group (80 plus).
Of the 5099 elder respondents (Urban: 2639, Rural: 2460) reached out to in June, 57% were male and 43% female. Civil society organisation HelpAge India in its report released on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day highlights that it is a well - known fact that 90% of India’s elders belong to the unorganized sector and they have to continue to work in their later years in order to survive as there is no social security system. This became even more pronounced in the survey. Of the 65% elderly persons who faced livelihood concerns, 60% were from rural areas and 40% was from urban areas.
Nearly 71% of elder respondents in the survey stated that the livelihood of the breadwinner of their family was impacted (loss of work /wages) by the lockdown.
The survey shows that while 91% of the respondents were aware of the signs and symptoms of Covid, a significant 62% of the respondents reported suffering from chronic diseases such as asthma, hypertension, diabetes, cancer etc. Of these, 53% were from rural, and 47% from urban areas. Around 42% of elders reported worsening of health condition during the lockdown.
“The elderly persons are facing a triple struggle – along with high health risk, many are battling survival due to loss in income, and further coping with challenges of social isolation. Most of them are unskilled, casual workers, mostly from the unorganized sector, who earn a meagre daily wage to survive. These people were hit hard by the lockdown. There is a need for a special and coordinated action plan for the elderly by the government, supported by community and family - said Mr Rohit Prasad, Chief Operating Officer, HelpAge India.
In rural areas, the wage and income profile is predominantly casual labour (particularly farm-based) or self-employed – typically in low skilled/unskilled category. In urban areas, the respondents were largely people who have worked earlier in the private sector (middle-level jobs, teachers) and now engaged in part-time jobs or self-employed (small business, shops). The profile would be educated, low-middle income.
The elders were based in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal

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