India is known for its culture of respect for older members of the family, but the rise in urbanization and inequality coupled with the change in societal values, many elderly are left alone by themselves. The situation is worse in rural areas where there is large migration of young population to urban areas and the old are usually left behind. The older population of India (>60 years), which was 72 million in 2001 is expected to grow to 137 million by 2021. As per survey by Central Statistics Office of Government of India, about 65 per cent of the aged (>60 years) had to depend on others for their day-to-day maintenance and 50% of beds are occupied by elderly in most hospitals across the country.
The neglected elderly in India face problems ranging from lack of income, ill health and loneliness. The government has introduced old age pension schemes, which only supports a portion of their requirements. On the other hand, for most of the elderly monetary support is not alone enough; what they need is decent living conditions and quality care. Many NGOs are reaching out to neglected and underprivileged elderly and providing them with necessary financial, medical and emotional support. The services range from old age homes, medical treatment, daily meals etc. You can make a difference in many ways; even small amounts of donations can bring a smile on the face of an elderly who needs support.