February 24, 2022: The Indian senior citizen population is growing rapidly. Hence, the demand for quality healthcare services is also witnessing a surge. As per the report by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation 2021, India’s elderly population was 138 million in 2021 including 67 million men and 71 million women and has grown 32.7 percent between 2011 and 2021. The report further states that this number is projected to increase by 56 million by 2031. This statistic highlights the fact that the senior citizen segment is growing exponentially and will continue to do so in the times to come!
The need for cutting-edge services for the eldercare
Our elders often suffer from neglect and abuse at physical, psychological, and emotional levels. The spike in nuclear families, increase in life expectancy and growing reliance on the elderly for routine chores are some of the significant challenges faced by senior citizens. Hence, they are unable to lead healthy, happy and active lives. The pandemic has further aggravated the problem. It has taken a heavy toll and put a spotlight on the challenges faced by senior citizens. Being the most vulnerable section of society, they have faced various challenges due to the lack of senior care facilities amidst the lockdown and social distancing norms. The issue still persists with the ongoing waves and disruptions.
The sole reason for the senior citizens facing various hurdles is that our country lacks provision of adequate healthcare and medical facilities to support ‘ageing in place’. Financial crunch, lack of family support, social barriers, and absence of community-based services are the major elements that are often ignored.
These factors and the fact that the elders are a diverse group, and their needs, wants and affinities are heterogeneous is fuelling the demand for cutting-edge eldercare and healthcare facilities.
Start-ups: Reimagining the eldercare
“Most companies design primarily for the youth and the Silver economy has been an ignored segment. But over a period of time, the awareness and realization for the need to focus on physical, mental, and emotional assistance for seniors have emerged at the forefront. The eldercare market is at a nascent stage in the country today, but in the next few years, it is likely to see a lot of new product and service launches and expansion of categories.” said M.P. Deepu, Co-Founder, SeniorWorld
He expresses disruption expected in the following space:
- Hospital-at-home is a growing trend in healthcare, as increased adoption of virtual care technologies allows for the care of seniors with acute conditions to take place at home
- IoT products such as AI-based & Voice Technology smart housing and assistive devices that support ‘ageing in place’ and reduce their dependency on others
- Other assistive technology products such as medical and non-medical senior care products- communication aids, speech, writing, hearing and therapy devices, adult diapers, reading aids, safety alarms- that add ease, comfort, and safety to their lives
- Technology for the aged has become an important focus area and will see senior care companies creating wearable technology and apps for senior citizens to ensure safety and security and put health data in their hands
- In the last two years with the pandemic, elders have also been consuming entertainment and socialising virtually and this need is only going to grow.
The start-ups focused on the eldercare market are making consistent and persistent efforts to reshape the lives of seniors. They strive to create a nurturing ecosystem for the elderly so that they are able to lead positive, fulfilling and independent lives. These companies offer a plethora of solutions for seniors that meet their needs and requirements and are opening doors for seniors to carve out active retired lives.
Understanding the fact that the population entering their silver years deserves an active, independent and happy life; the start-ups focusing on eldercare leave no stone unturned to aid seniors in getting more from life. A lot of effort is being put in to ensure that ‘eldercare’ becomes the focus of society with no stigmas or taboos attached!