India, the largest democracy of the world and second most populous country, is now also emerging as the sixth largest economy in the world. There are around 104 million elderly persons (8.6%) (Census, 2011) and the number is expected to increase to 296.6 million constituting 20% of the total population by 2050. The sex ratio of the elderly was 938 women to 1,000 men in 1971 which has increased to 1,033 in 2011 and further projected to increase to 1,060 by 2026. These changing trends have led to feminization of aging. Further inherent discrimination and neglect experienced by aging women, frequently exaggerated by widowhood and complete dependence on others. On the social front, old women experience isolation/destitution, financial, and emotional insecurity. This further aggravates the health problems among old women. Elderly women in India face different types of health-related issues due to various socioeconomic factors. Studies report that chronic morbidity, poor vision, cataract, blood pressure, back pain/slipped disc, malnutrition, depression, impaired physical performance, and elder abuse were significantly higher amongst women as compared to elderly men. The literature also reveals that women experience difficulty in coping with these health problems due to widowhood, economic dependency, lack of proper food and clothing, fear of the future, lack of caring, and progressive decline in health made coping with health problems difficult. The socioeconomic and health needs of the women are enormous but, unfortunately, the existing, national policies, and programmatic capacities are inadequate and lack gender sensitivity.
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