Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Is India Senior Citizen friendly?

Is India as a nation, senior citizen friendly?

India is a nation of 1.23 billion people in July 2014. It is a young nation. It is expected to be the most populous country by 2025. Out of 1.23 billion, those between the ages 15 - 59 are 72.9 billion or 60.3%; and people aged 60 years and above are 10.32 crores or 8.6%, as per 2011 census.

What does the census show?
It seems to me that there above 10 core old people / senior citizen as of now, and the number is going to grow rapidly in the near future. Soon we will also be joining the ranks of the 'Elderly', ie. if we have not already.

My questions are:
'Are our urban spaces equipped to cater to the elderly?' 
'Are our public spaces, transport, road and traffic rules senior citizen friendly?
'Are our outdoor spaces, Public spaces and buildings, and transportation  designed keeping in mind the needs and requirements of the elderly?'

If you look around, you do not see many elderly people going about their chores by themselves, in our busy cities. If they are out, they are mostly escorted by a younger person. Why is that?
Because our urban spaces are very unsafe and scary for the elderly! We need an environment which is considerate and supportive.

In a press release issued on 20th. Dec 2010, by Anglia Ruskin University,

'Better Spaces for Older people 
New research reveals that older people need to feel comfortable in urban surroundings to maintain independence

Urban planning needs to consider how older people use walking routes as well as public areas, concludes a Research Council UK-funded research project from the New Dynamics of Ageing Programme. Planning should include a smooth transition between walking, driving and using public transport and should take account of how older people navigate between these. 
The research was conducted by academics from Swansea University, Kingston University, Middlesex University and Anglia Ruskin University.

Initial findings show:
·         Signs are of limited use even in unfamiliar new areas - they were often positioned incorrectly or too high, and without indicating the distance to the destination;
·         Designing outdoor spaces that are more easily navigable and walkable are important in making the environment less stressful and anxiety-inducing;
·         Buildings and landmarks are particularly important as navigational aids, especially churches.

...There is still a need to understand older people's various requirements in their use of space, reflecting their diversity and different backgrounds'.

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