Aging Population a Major Problem in South Asia, too
"An October 2011 article on Dawn.com notes: “South Asia will experience a dramatic increase in its elderly population by nearly nine times between 2010 and 2025 when life expectancy will increase to 75 years for men and 82 years for women.”
While this is a problem for countries all over the world, South Asia faces some unique issues. Governments in the region don't devote many resources to the elderly:
"India and Bangladesh... spend less than 0 .5% of their GDPs on social pensions that benefit less than 20% of people over the age of 60... In a study by HelpAge International, a not-for-profit working to protect the rights of the elderly and provide helpful interventions, it was found that approximately 76% of elderly Bangladeshis are excluded from government support and social protection"
Pakistan in particular has no social safety net, "There is no retirement age or benefits for citizens, regardless of age . This void of social safety nets for the elderly can be attributed to the fact that until the last 30 years, the lifespan for an average Pakistani was less than 60 years . "
And Intellecap quotes a researcher who says that the programs that do exist are "flawed, and there is nepotism, inefficiency and a lack of accountability."
And the tradition of families caring for elders is not picking up this slack:
"myriad economic opportunities exist in urban areas, and significant rural-to-urban migration supports that fact . But what this also means is that the shape of the multigenerational family is shifting towards a more nuclear structure: the latest statistics show that less than 40% of families in India are “joint” or multigenerational . Where previous generations could fully rely on living with their children or grandchildren to look after them in their old age, that is not necessarily the norm today."
Implications from Intellicap:
"governments and civil organizations will need to turn to relatively untraditional, unfamiliar models, such as homes and skills training initiatives for the elderly, to make progress and alleviate the burden of poverty on this demographic now and in the future "
"“old age” homes or retirement communities... are quite limited in number... if such facilities exist, they cater to the middle-classes
and are anyway out of reach for the poor... There is a clear intervention opportunity by governments or for public-private partnerships here: the creation and support of more affordable or subsidized elderly-centric facilities would be the start to changing social consciousness about how the elderly can and should live."