A two day National Consultation on “Challenges and Opportunities of an Ageing Society” was organized by ILC-I with the support of Gharda Chemicals Ltd. on 18th and 19th of August, 2016 at YASHADA, Pune.

The objective of this National Consultation was to have the best minds in the field of gerontology to first identify the challenges through discussions on the current issues of elderly and then the measures to address these challenges and seek solutions which would prove that an ageing society can be the opportunity to showcase “Productive Ageing”.

As a nation’s population ages due to increased longevity, declining fertility and falling mortality rates, there are certain challenges that emerge as an outcome of the changed demographic scenario. The negative images and stereotypes of ageing, the myths associated with it, the lack of awareness about the issue and unwillingness to accept it as ‘an issue that needs the attention of society and the government’, become hurdles and obstacles that pose challenges to an ageing society, especially of a developing nation like India.

The challenges of longevity impact the health, financial and social aspects of an older person in particular, as also the community/society in general, and as the numbers of these older persons increase, these challenges need to be converted into opportunities, so that the ‘Challenge of Longevity’ becomes an ‘Opportunity for Productive Ageing.’

Population ageing is not and should not be considered as an ‘unwanted burden’, rather it is a treasure-house of knowledge, wisdom and experience and this bounty needs to be channelized in the right direction and used for alleviating not just the conditions of the older persons, but also those of society too. For this, it is imperative that the older persons themselves get rid of this ridiculous and untrue notion of being a drag on society and rather build upon their gained knowledge and experience and put it to good use through various ways for the betterment of society.

To get the scene rolling, we had focused on the challenges in the health sector, the market labour situation, the present social protection systems, the infrastructural set-up, and of course on the emotional or social needs of the elders.

Effort was also made to come up with broad solutions like encouraging entrepreneurship by older persons, volunteerism by seniors and the senior citizens’ movements as the means to overcome the challenges that come along in the wake of an ageing society and thus enable the empowerment of the elderly and nurture productive ageing.

Group discussions on how to come up with more specific measures and solutions to the challenges of longevity and make an ageing society an opportunity for the older persons to make life more qualitative, not just for themselves, but also for the community in general, were the essence of this National Consultation.

The Consultation focused on the challenges in the health sector, the market labour situation, the present social security systems, and the infrastructure set-up and on the emotional or social needs of the elders in India. The Consultation included renowned experts from all over India, research scholars, academicians, representatives of NGOs, gerontologists and geriatricians as well as the delegates of senior citizens’ organizations of India.

The outcome of the Consultation was the formulation of a “Plan of Action” based on the presentations by the experts and group discussions and interactions of the participants during the two days of the workshop.

A Pune Declaration citing the goals and objectives as also the recommendations of the Consultation was drafted and after its finalization with the consent of the delegates will be sent to the concerned authorities.

The inauguration session was held on the 18th of August 2016 in the presence of PadmaVibhushan Dr. R. A. Mashelkar (Hon. President, ILC-I), Dr. K. R. Gangadharan (President, Heritage Hospitals) and Mr. Jayant Umranikar (Chairman, ILC-I). Mrs. Anjali Raje, Executive Director of ILC-I welcomed the guests.

The experts who were invited to speak on the occasion were- Mr. Mathew Cherian, CEO, HelpAge India, who delivered the Valedictory Address and Dr. Siva Raju, Dean, School of Development Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences & Hon. Director, ILC-I.

Others who spoke on the occasion were- Dr. S. P. Kinjawadekar, President-Emeritus, All India Senior Citizens Association (AISCCON), Mr. D. N. Chapke, President, AISCCON, Mr. Sailesh Mishra, Founder-President, Silver Innings, Mr. P. Borgaonkar, Director, HelpAge India, Mr. D. T. Chaudhary, Dr. Alka Vyas, Dr. Jacob John, Dr. P. K. B. Nair, Dr. Nidhi Gupta.




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