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Goa's ageing population becoming cause for concern

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  27 April 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Paji, April 26: Holiday destition Goa, that is increasingly drawing retirees, is just “one or two” generations away from being a haven for geriatrics, top medical professiols warn. Dropping fertility rates and the mortality odometer swinging opposite, its young workforce migrating away from its shores and the increasing trend of the state being a top destition for the country’s retired and elderly appear to be only contributing to Goa’s aging population. The state would, in all likelihood, have to cater to a big volume of geriatric-related health issues just “one or two” generations down-line, according to leading oncologist Shekhar Salkar. “In 1947, the average life-span was 47 for females and 57 for males in Goa. Today, we have crossed 70 for males and I am quite sure with another one or two generations, we will reach 75. One of the main health issues then will be geriatric care,” Salkar told IANS. “Goa is such a peaceful state that elderly people from all over India want to come to Goa and settle. That is why we have all this hype for real estate in Goa. That is because those people find comfort here and the temperature is reasobly good,” he said, adding that the steady influx would only add to the number of the aged in the state. Goa’s aging population has been a concern expressed in the assembly, especially by Manohar Parrikar, who was the state’s chief minister before he was elevated as India’s defence minister last year. The fertility rate in the state - the average number of children per woman in the 15-35 year age bracket - has shrunk from 2.1 to 1.7, according to official data. A fertility rate of 2.1 indicates a stable population, while anything below that suggests shrinking population growth. Parrikar, in 2013, credited a successful birth control programme for the arrest in Goa’s population growth with the caveat that in 15 years, the state’s population “will be an aging one instead of youthful”. (IANS)

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