Is Health Status of Elderly Worsening in India? A Comparison of Successive Rounds of National Sample Survey Data

Saswata Ghosh, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata (IDSK)
Zakir Husain, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata (IDSK)

The increasing graying of India’s population raises concerns about the welfare and health status of the aged. Using unit level data for 1995-96 and 2004-05 of National Sample Survey Rounds (NSSO) on Morbidity and Health Care Expenditure, this paper has examined changes in reported health status of the elderly in India and analyzed their relationship with living arrangements and extent of economic dependency. It appears that even after controlling for factors like caste, education, age, economic status and place of residence, there has been a deterioration in the self-perceived current health status of the elderly. This paper argues that, although there have been changes in the economic condition and traditional living arrangements - with a decline in co-residential arrangements - this is not enough to explain the decline in reported health status and calls for a closer look at narratives of neglect being voiced in developing countries.

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Presented in Session 87: Disability Trends and Dynamics - International and Comparative Perspectives