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South Asia - Conclusion

age aging social population nations press united

South Asian countries need to document and face the challenges posed by the increasingly elderly populations. Timely collection and release of high-quality data should be prioritized to facilitate the planning process. Social security schemes need to be expanded to cover vulnerable segments of the population. Familial support systems also should be strengthened by various means. Private and nonprofit sector efforts must be developed to supplement those of the over-burdened public sector. At the same time elements of Asian culture that respect elders and view old age as a time of wisdom should not be lost. That is, making adequate provision for seniors should not be accompanied by approaches or assumptions that view old age as a looming problem or the proportion of elders in society as a burden. A social construction of the aging process as inherently problematic serves to legitimize a transfer of responsibility for elders from the state to individual older persons (Estes et al.). For each country or subgroup in South Asia, an appropriate balance needs to be developed between individual and public provision for the growing elderly population.

S. SUDHA S. IRUDAYA RAJAN

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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ESTES, C. L.; LINKINS, K. W.; and BINNEY, E. A. ‘‘The Political Economy of Aging.’’ In Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences, 4th ed. Edited by Robert H. Binstock and Linda K. George. San Diego, Calif.: Academic Press, 1996. Pages 346–361.

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RAMA RAO, S., and TOWNSEND, J. ‘‘Health Needs of Elderly Women: An Emerging Issue.’’ In Gender, Population and Development. Edited by Maithreyi Krishnaraj, Ratna M. Sudarshan, and Abusaleh Shariff. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998.

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