Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 465--471

How “elderly staying alone” cope up with their age and deteriorating health: A qualitative exploration from rural Wardha, Central India

Department of Community Medicine, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Wardha, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Pradeep R Deshmukh
Department of Community Medicine, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sevagram, Wardha, Maharashtra - 442 102
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_51_18

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Background: This study is done to explore the various changes and problems faced by the “elderly people staying alone” and how they cope up to maintain their life amidst the physical, familial, social, and financial crisis in their lives. Materials and Methods: This qualitative study was carried out in the villages surrounding Bhidi Rural Health and Training Center, located in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. A triangulation of free listing and pile sorting exercise was used. Elderly >65 years of age of either sex, living alone in their own houses, for at least 2 years were included in the study. Twenty-four such individuals were selected purposively who could figure out the different words and concepts regarding the three domains of our study for the purpose of line listing, namely, change of life since staying alone, problems faced while staying alone, and how they cope up with the problem of living alone. The data were analyzed using Anthropac software. The study findings were presented to the participants, who later pointed out few recommendations to be made. Results: The “elderly staying alone” face the problems of lack of family, social, and financial support in their day-to-day life. They cope with these problems by a number of ways. Although there are a number of government schemes to protect the elderly, none of these policies are dedicated to this special group of elderlies. Conclusion: There is no social structure that can take care of this vulnerable group of elderlies in rural India. It is high time for the government to step in to bring some societal and familial reforms that will safeguard the elderly staying alone from the ongoing familial, social, and financial hardship.


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