Lack of proper medical care for elderly rued

A majority of elder people in India are deprived of proper medical care. In many cases, elderly face dire consequences by their children or relatives, owing to financial matters, Prof Lidwin Lobo, Coordinator of Vishwas Service to the elderly, said. She was speaking at a programme held to observe World elder abuse awareness day organised by Vishwas service to the elderly, at Ladies Club in Mangaluru on Tuesday.

She said according to an estimation, elder population will be 1.2 billion by 2025. The elder abuse is of four types: physical, psychological, financial and legal and these are interconnected. 5955 cases have been registered with Vishwas, through the helpline, of which, 3150 were complaints. Referring to a couple of case studies, she said the elders are not allowed to talk to others. The condition of elders who are suffering from chronic diseases are even worse. Either they are abandoned or are confined to dark rooms, without food and medication. A good number of complaints were received by helpline, regarding the rude behaviour of bus drivers and conductors, who do not cooperate with elders and abuse them for being slower. Even though several requests have been made to the RTO, the attitude of bus drivers and conductors remains unchanged, she said.

Roshni Nilaya former Principal Prof Olinda Periera said that the world elder abuse day has been declared by UNO on June 15, in the wake of shocking number of elder abuse cases in various countries and hence to create awareness on the same. The elders in developed countries are made to feel secure, through social security programmes and  necessary arrangements to suite their lifestyle. But, in countries like India there is a lack of elders friendly programmes and the elder people are being habitually abused by their family members, in  financial issues. Parents are being troubled by children for they want to have property above all and do not want to look after them.

Social activist Prof Maria D’Costa felt for a need to create awareness on the use of elders’ helpline 1090. One should extend a helping hand to elderly, she said. Issues such as the problems of elders living in apartments, lack of courtesy to them in government offices were voiced by the audience.

Writer Ivan J Saldanha Shet was of the opinion that old age homes too, should be regulated and monitored by the government, as schools, hospitals and other institutions.
“The modern old age home, is a facility with exorbitant fees  that  are hiked regularly; it  is today a commercial money spinning service with no mercy or beliefs and nothing noble. Also, taxes are evaded by various excuses”, he said.

The aged constitute a good percentage of the vote bank, at the time of elections and polling,  the candidates and agents coddle the aged and their care givers to take them to the polling booths.

It is high time that Government, Judiciary and NGOs stand up to ensure fair play and justice for  the marginalised  aged whose population is set to soon increase sharply, Shet added. Roshni Nilaya Registrar (Evaluation) Prof Lakshminarayana Bhat presided over.

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