Longitudinal Aging Study in India (LASI)Approx Read Time: 6 min
- The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently released the Longitudinal Aging Study in India (LASI).
Longitudinal Aging Study in India:
- Launched in 2016, the LASI is a full–scale national survey of scientific investigation of the health, economic, and social determinants and consequences of population ageing in India.
- LASI, Wave 1 (phase 1) covered 72,250 individuals aged 45 and above for the 2017-18 period. This included 31,464 people aged 60 and above and 6,749 aged 75 and above from all states and Union territories, excluding Sikkim.
- Funded by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, it is India’s first and the world’s largest-ever survey that provides database for designing policies for the older population in the broad domains of social, health, and economic well-being.
- Similar studies have been carried out in 41 countries. In Asia, China, Korea, Japan, and Indonesia have taken up the exercise.
- The study was carried out by the International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai in collaboration with Directorate General of Health, Harvard School of Public Health, University of Southern California, USA, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and National Institute on Ageing.
Size of elderly population:
- In the 2011 census, people aged 60 and above formed 8.6% of India’s population, accounting for 103 million elderly people.
- Growing at around 3% annually, the number of elderly-age population will rise to 319 million in 2050.
Prevalence of morbidity:
- The study shows that, the prevalence of single morbidity and multi-morbidity conditions increases with age. Morbidity is the state of having a specific illness or condition.
- Around, 26% of older adults age 45 and above reported that they have been diagnosed with single morbidity and 18% have been diagnosed with multi-morbidities.
- Around a quarter (23%) of the elderly age 60 and above have multi-morbidities.
- The prevalence of multi-morbidity conditions among the elderly aged 60 and above is much higher in the states/UTs of Kerala (52%), Chandigarh (41%), Lakshadweep (40%), Goa (39%) and Andaman & Nicobar Islands (38%).
Mental Health issues:
- As per the study, one in five elderly persons in India has mental health issues.
- While age associated-decline in cognitive (mental) ability score is consistent across states and socioeconomic spectrum, it was found to be closely related to educational attainment across all ages.
- For instance, 9% of people with less than primary education had depression and it dropped sharply to 5% percent in people with 10 or more years of schooling.
- More women suffered from depression than men in the rural areas.
Work limiting health conditions:
- More than 40% of those aged 60 and above, who are either currently working or had worked in the past, reported having work-limiting health conditions.
- In the above-60 category, 11 per cent suffered from at least one form of impairment — locomotor, mental, visual or hearing — compared with 6 per cent in the 45-59 age bracket.
- Almost one-fourth of those over 60 face at least one limitation in pursuing daily activities such as movement in bed, changing position from sitting to standing, feeding, bathing, dressing, grooming, personal hygiene.
- Around 75% of those 60 and above who were diagnosed with chronic conditions have been treated for hypertension (77%), chronic heart diseases (74%), diabetes mellitus (83%), chronic lung diseases (72%) and cancer (75%).
- More than half the elderly have been treated for stroke (58%) and bone or joint diseases (56%) whereas the treatment rate for neurological and psychiatric diseases is 41%.
- The treatment rate for all chronic health conditions is higher among the elderly in urban areas.
- Chronic diseases are defined broadly as conditions that last 1 year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both.
Social security benefits:
- About one-fifth of those 60 and above, who are officially retired, are currently receiving pension and an additional 3% are expected to receive it. A large proportion (78%) are neither receiving nor expected to receive pension.
- More than half of people aged 60 and above (54%) with 10 or more years of schooling, and who are officially retired, are receiving pension. In comparison, just 4% of those with no schooling get pension.
- Social security coverage is significantly higher in smaller states and UTs where people are mostly engaged in full-time jobs and in public sector units. North, east and central Indian states have almost negligible social security coverage.
Significance of the findings:
- The evidence from LASI will be used to further strengthen and broaden the scope of National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly.
- It will also help in establishing a range of preventive and health care programmes for older population and most vulnerable among them.