The forgotten ones: the misery for millions growing old in India

One out of five people in India will be 60 or older by the year 2050. But the subcontinent is already struggling to cope with the challenges that an ageing society presents, finds Martina Merten

Eight elderly women are sitting on plastic chairs on the terrace. Their colourful saris shine brightly in the afternoon sun. It will soon be 3 pm and they will be served a cup of tea, with lots of milk. Later they will eat an evening meal together, seated around a small wooden table. Perhaps they will take a stroll around the house beforehand. Or watch TV.

Their home, Abhaya Sadan—an Indian retirement home whose name means “the house without fear”—is a peaceful place. It is located outside the city of Coimbatore in Karnataka state. The eight women living here, most of them without papers, were lucky because no one wanted them anymore.

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