ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Of Ageing and Dignity

There is a need to examine society’s attitude towards older people who are marginalised and invisibilised, and whose concerns are deemed unimportant.


Ageism is a widespread and deeply entrenched form of oppression around the globe today. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), two billion people will be over 60 years old by 2050 with around 80% living in developing nations like India. In his short story “The Old Aunt” (Budhi Kaki), Munshi Premchand observed, “old age, in many ways, is the return of childhood.” It renders an individual dependent, vulnerable, and worthless. After all, what contributions can an old, frail, and unproductive individual make towards the family or society?

This commonly held social belief potentially marginalises old people, invisibilises their life concerns and isolates them. It also justifies, as well as normalises ageist attitudes towards the elderly in family and society. Such a negative outlook seriously affects their health and well-being, reducing their life span. Consequently, the present-day challenge for society is: How can we improve the quality of life as people get older, and enhance their day-to-day experiences?

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Updated On : 22nd Mar, 2019
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