October 1st is observed as “International Day of Older Persons”. United Nations has announced this day as UNIDOP to “create awareness of the special health needs” and to ensure healthy lives for this growing demographics.
Incidentally the #UNIDOP is also promoting the “Decade of Healthy Ageing” (2020-2030) to help bring together experts, members of civil society, Government and health professionals to discuss ”Global Strategy” and Action Plan on Ageing & Health.
The population of older persons is projected to increase 20% by 2050.The life expectancy has steadily increased and it stands at 69yrs in 2019.This fastest growing demographic is expected to reach 300 million and accounting for 20% of the country’s total population according to India Ageing Report-2017.
The elderly nutrition market in India is lucrative and has a bright prospect for the nutrition and supplements market which understand the seniors needs and requirements. Consistent increase in the Geriatric population is expected to increase the market for nutrition also. Seniors are prone to neurological diseases, under nutrition and malnutrition, loss of muscle mass, frailty, age related osteoporosis and decrease in immunity.
Elderly nutrition applies the principles of nutrition to delay effects of aging and disease and also for the management of physical and psychological changes in growing old. Seniors nutrition products such as multivitamins, proteins, health drinks and beverages, iron, antioxidants, calcium and Vitamin D supplements, supplements for Eye health such as lutein, immunity products have increased substantially over the years.
The Global Elderly Nutrition market is estimated to have a CAGR of 6.6% (2018-2026). Increase in incidence of neurological diseases like Parkinson’s, dementia and Alzheimer’s and chronic disease conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and heart conditions.
Lifestyle changes, nuclear families, seniors increasingly living alone or in old age homes have shifted the consumption of traditional food to more urban food habits and more convenience foods has risen to increase incidence of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Some companies which are major market holders in this segment are Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, Abbott Laboratories, Pfizer Inc., Fresenius kabi, Mead Johnson and Sanofi.
The elderly nutrition market is also fuelled by the distribution channel-hospitals, pharmacies and online sales. India is set to become the third largest consumer economy, which presents an enormous opportunity for the senior’s nutrition and supplement segment.
The Covid outbreak has cramped the lifestyle of seniors where they are more prone to depression and anxiety. Dependence on technology has also raised many concerns as the elderly have become more dependent in their day to day lives due to the pandemic. This has led to more psychosocial issues and deterioration in mobility as the pandemic has restricted movements and travel of all due to lockdowns.
Nutritional Security, increase in Quality of Life, protecting their rights and dignity especially when they are facing many issues during these pandemic times needs to be addressed.
Sreemathy Venkatraman, Clinical dietitian/Wellness nutritionist, BRAINS Hospital, Bengaluru