Essay Example on A Universal Definition of Old Age








Introduction An universal definition of old age is elusive According to Gorman 5 in many developing countries old age is seen to begin at the point when active contribution is no longer possible It is true that elder peoples become senile and lose their ability in physically and mentally Although some individuals may develop illness but Roos 6 shows that it is possible for elder persons to maintain a high degree of physical and intellectual activity into their very late years Aging is one of the embryonic problems in Bangladesh and this has been gradually increasing with its far reaching consequences According to BBS 2001 7 only 6 13 percent is elder 60 in Banglsdesh The most alarming situation is this number will reach 14 6 million about 9 percent of the total population by the year 2025 Concepcion 1987 East West Center 2002 8 9 But according to Abedin 1996 10 the aging in SAARC Countries does not appear to be alarming till to day percentages of the elderly which vary between 5 6 percent Living arrangements are an important component of the overall well being of the elderly In the absence of well developed systems for providing social services to the elderly the elderly must rely on those with whom they live in close proximity for economic social and physical support as their economic productivity and health declining Domingo and Casterline 1992 11 In Thailand there is a widespread expectation that the elderly will be taken care of by their children and that at least one child will co reside with them Cowgill 1972 Knodel Havanon and Pramualratana 1984 Pramualratna 1990 Tuchrello 1989 12 13 14 15 It was found that survival of elderly is increased if they live with a spouse or sons and daughters Mostafa and Ginneken 2000 16 Murray et al 1992 17 observed that the ratio of self perceived morbidity varies by disease and across communities

 They found that morbidity generally increases with age is greater for men than women and is more common among the rich than the poor Although social support has a major impact on the health and well being of the elderly it is less clear how this effect might operate George 1989 18 Unlike elderly men who may have their wives to depend on when they fall ill older women are quite likely to have to rely on children and other relatives Older women face different health problem compared to older men From a study by Kabir 1994 19 the aged in Bangladesh shows a depressing picture In this survey among other things about 77 per cent of the total sample reported that they did not have adequate income to meet their basic needs One out of every three in the sample suggested that government should come forward to help the aged while some also suggested that the state should provide food and medical treatment at a nominal cost So the long term caring need of the aged in terms of community and institution based services is going to be a matter of great concern A survey study on living arrangements of the elderly and their sources of support reveal a predominant pattern of co residence with their spouse and or their children Samad and Abedin 1999 20 and those who are not co residents but live in close proximity of children and spouse Thus the living and health care arrangements of the elderly in view of demographic change and socio economic transformation taking place in this country and also to explore the current situation and future trend of population aging under the changing condition proper investigation is firmly needed This study aims to fulfil this need Health is a major concern of old age

It was found by Mostafa and Streatfield 2003 21 that worries among the poor were probably about inadequate economic support poor health inadequate living space unfinished familial tasks lack of recreational facilities and the problems of spending time Many questions revealed information about health conditions of the elderly According to Fillenbaum 1984 22 self perceived health status may be better indicator of potential service use than of actual health condition However self assessments of health are common components of population based surveys To calculate the health status respondent s answer about their current health status were recorded on a two point scale which are healthy and unhealthy Sex is one of the key variables in health research Strauss et al 1992 23 found that health problems increase with age but that women reported more health problems at earlier ages than do men Education level is also associated with poorer health Health events are usually more frequent and become confused with one another The illness of the elderly are uncountable and chronic in nature In old age the elderly are found to suffer from diseases like depression sleeping problem gastric problem diabetes mental problem and so on Prevalence of malnutrition eye sight problems hearing problems among the olds are also observed BDHS 2000 24 The health problems in old age are often compounded by attributing ailment of onset of old age

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