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J Biosoc Sci. 2011 Mar;43(2):211-31. doi: 10.1017/S0021932010000623. Epub 2010 Dec 15.

Is health status of elderly worsening in India? A comparison of successive rounds of national sample survey data.

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Population Research Centre, Institute of Economic Growth, India.


The increasing greying of India's population raises concerns about the welfare and health status of the aged. One important source of information of health status of the elderly is the National Sample Survey Rounds on Morbidity and Health Care Expenditure. Using unit-level data for 1995-96 and 2004, this paper examines changes in reported health status of the elderly in India and analyses 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 self-perceived current health status of the elderly. The 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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