Tahmima asks how Bangladesh will cope with its ageing population – it is estimated that nearly 44 million Bangladeshis, 23% of the projected population, will be over the age of 60 by 2050.
She also highlights how dramatic changes such as rapid urbanisation, mass migration and a focus on the nuclear family have changed the way older people are regarded treated in the country.
“To address the impending demographic shift, we must first admit that we are no longer a society that has automatic safety nets for the old, that the fantasy of better ageing is just that – a fantasy rooted in our denial of how old people are treated. We must then go about the hard work of creating new systems that address the challenges we are about to face,” she writes.
“We need better nursing care, more palliative care in hospitals and national healthcare initiatives aimed at the older population. Development programmes and nationally funded pension plans must be made more accessible. Most important, we need to help older people form their own communities in order to reduce the crippling loneliness and isolation of ageing.”