Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Caring for the Senior Citizens

Towards sunset, the Sun is very beautiful, just as an aging person gives us much knowledge at the sunset of his/her life.Indian culture and traditional society had given the elderly very high status, but these values have been eroded because of speedy Westernization.Our families have become nuclear, and joint families and extended families have disappeared.Elderly are no longer heads of joint families and their decisions are not considered by other members of the family. We are suddenly witnessing that they are in need of help in protection of their life and property, protection in terms of financial security, protection in terms of health care available; they need protection against ill-treatment, and they need to be productive members of our nation. They need care, support and emotional upliftment from all, so that they are balanced in their last stage of life.Ageing people(you, me and all will be ageing soon) have become weak and need care and protection so that they can lead a healthy, dignified and productive life.
Traditional social values have changed and have made the elderly vulnerable. We have to intervene and make laws for their protection.National Policy on Older persons was announced in 1999 by which state support for the elderly was given, The state made provisions for their financial and food security, for their health care, shelter, protection against abuse and exploitation, and training of social workers for their care and support. Special attention was given to elderly women and the need for expansion of social and community services for elderly was realized. We cannot separate them from the community they belong to, so we must support them in their community itself. They should not feel unprotected, ignored or marginalized  In their last days, months and years of their productive lives, they should feel they had dignity and they should leave this world in peace. Only then, human society would be truly human.
After the National Policy on Older persons was made in 1999, there has been big challenges as socioeconomic patterns have changed, demographic trends have changed and big technological transformations have helped in caring for the aged population.Maintenance of Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act was made in 2007.This makes maintenance of parents and senior citizens obligatory and can be tried by the Tribunals. This also empowers the elderly, they can revoke any transfer of property to relative when they are neglected. It has penal provisions for the abandonment of senior citizens. This act also provides for Old Age Homes for senior citizens.More pension benefits will be made for below poverty old persons, for widows(aged 18and above) and persons with disabilities in addtion to the elderly by rural development ministry.
To improve the quality of life of the elderly, all ministries offer help. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has implemented Integrated Programme for the elderly by giving them shelter, food, medical care and making them productive and active while ageing.90% financial help is given to government organisations or Panchayati Raj institutions which make such provisions.And additional help is given to make old age Homes, day centers, mobile medicare Units, and for disabilities of elderly(physiotherapy or Alzheimer's)Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme has been implemented by Rural Development ministry, a minimum of Rs 2000 has been proposed as pension for all elderly.Ministry of Family welfare has implemented 'Health Care for the Elderly' program.Ministry of Finance has implemented a policy by which by which they get income tax benefits. Railway Ministry has made concessions in cost of tickets. Even Civil Aviation Ministry has given concessions in air tickets. In 2005, ministry of Home Affairs has ensured special protection to the elderly, in protecting their life and property.
As per 2001 census 7.5% of Indian Population is aged 60 and above.In 2026,the elderly would be 12.4% Demographic trend indicates, that aged will longer and longer. And a large population needs protection towards their end of their life...big task for the younger population. There is much to learn from these elderly people for they have seen big changes in their lifetimes.And they are willing to share their wisdom with all those who speak with them.We must learn good values and ideals.They are the real torch bearers for all future generations to come. One day when we become the elderly, we would like to treated well too.

No comments:

Post a Comment