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An Inclusive Approach for Caring the Elderly in Bangladesh

The care for the elderly is now quite entrenched in most developed countries, with varying intensity; it was both more intensive and extensive in coverage in the earlier socialist countries, and is also now more prevalent in countries with more socialistic spirits such as the eastern European and the Nordic countries. The debates on the care for elderly, both from societal perspectives and from the perspectives of medical care systems continue in recent literature. In addition to, compared to the most developed countries, old age support program is a newer concept in most developing countries. In addition, Bangladesh’s issue of ‘care for the elderly’ is of recent origin, yet it is limited to care for the public sector retirees, through old age pension system, few rudimentary healthcare support via public health care system, and few private sector initiated ‘old age homes’. There is no comprehensive policy for systematically developing old age care system. In fact, care for the elderly is something that builds a civilized society with due respect and care for its elderly. It is a way of paying our debts to our mothers and fathers, our parents and grandparents who, left alone, may no longer be able to care for themselves.

This study is at core, aimed at assessing the gap between needs and ‘current provisions in the country’, in care for the elderly. The basic objective is to take steps in the right direction in the coming months and years to develop a policy framework for an inclusive approach for care of the elderly. A first cut assessment will entail qualitative information from a cross-section of people who are interested, and involved in strategic positions, to benefit this society’s aging population. A quantitative survey will empirically validate and inform the study on the target beneficiaries, ie. the elderly.

The outline of the study placed here refers to the first phase of the study, which will be conducted over the six month time frame of REF of BIDS. On successful completion of the study, a second phase consisting of a sample survey to collect in-depth information on the profile of the elderly, their disadvantages and needs and policy issues and recommendations will be done in the second phase, subject to the availability of funds for the second phase.

The study on “An Inclusive Approach for caring the Elderly in Bangladesh” will be directed by Dr. Anwara Begum, and supported by Ms. Rizwana Islam. Dr. Atiqur Rahman will provide advisory services in designing and conducting the study. 

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