Seminar on “Global Ageing and Need for Elderly care in Bangladesh” held at YPSA HRDC, Chittagong campus on 27 August 2013 organized by YPSA. Dr. Hafiz T.A. Khan, Senior Lecturer of Middlesex University, London & Visiting Research Fellow in Demography, Oxford Institute of Population Ageing , University of Oxford , UK was the key speaker in the seminar.
The population of the world aged 60 years and over increased from 205 million and 8 percent in 1950 to approximately 688 million and 11 per cent in 2006. By 2050, the number will have increased to around 2 billion and 22 percent.
The scale of ageing is immense across the globe. According to the United Nations forecasts, the population aged 60 years and over is expected to increase from 20 to more than 30 per cent by the year 2050 in the more developed regions, from 8 to 20 per cent in the less developed regions, and from just 5 to 10 per cent in the least developed regions.
The older population is expected to increase globally both in terms of absolute and relative numbers and Bangladesh is no exception. In recent years, although Bangladesh has achieved considerable success in fertility reduction and gradual improvement in mortality, morbidity, human capital, and the economy, important questions remain: i) whether or not the debate on aging has really emerged as a demographic issue; ii) if so, what are the important issues that should be addressed? and iii) how should the country be prepared to face the challenges of aging in order to implement public policies?
By now aging has emerged as a new demographic issue in Bangladesh as the absolute number of older people is very large and is expected to grow in the years to come. There will be more people widowed in old age. Despite recent socioeconomic changes, older people prefer to live with their loved ones, particularly married sons with grandchildren so they can spend time with them in later life. In turn, they also support families, both financially and voluntarily. The traditional support system is gradually shifting downwards in Bangladesh and older people are seeking alternative financial and health care support from the government. People should be encouraged to support and accommodate their older parents or relatives as regular members of the family. The government should introduce an appropriate pension system and health insurance scheme to cover the vast majority of poor people who live in rural areas.