Senior citizens in Lucknow want a 'decent' old-age home from Rajnath Singh

Lucknow, May 15 (IANS) Senior citizens in Lucknow have a request for the sitting MP and Union defence minister Rajnath Singh — good old-age home in the state capital.

“It is about priorities. The government spends thousands of crores on big projects. It can also establish a good old-age home where the elderly can choose to live at their own will. The government gives subsidy on land for businesses, it can very well do that for setting up such facilities,” says B N Sarup (78), a retired doctor who is looking for a decent old age home after the demise of his wife. His two sons and daughter are settled in Canada.

There are an estimated 60,000-odd citizens in the state capital in the 80 years and above age group, left to the care and concern of the family, in particular, and society, in general. They want an old age home with amenities, facilities and aid for their ease of living from the government.

“I am even willing to pay a particular amount every month for such a facility because living alone after a certain age is difficult as well as insecure,” said Srila Prakash, a single woman, who is unwell and aged about 68 years.

“I have a car but cannot drive at this age. Cab services only pick and drop from point to point but there is no assistance beyond that. So, if there is any trusted government-backed system where we can just call and get someone to help us get basic things done or go out occasionally that would help,” she said.

These senior citizens tried to meet the Lucknow MP Rajnath Singh but could not succeed.

“We have decided to send a memorandum to him so that he can consider this facility for us after the polls,” said Atul Varshney, another 80-year-old who has no one to support him here.

A voracious reader and a compulsive writer, he said he yearns for a circle where he can share his love for art.

Besides old-age homes, recreational centres/clubs, parks and community centres, the elderly feel there should be dedicated government helpline numbers where they can connect to get their issues resolved.

“Broadly, we need a right policy push to help create a benevolent society which could ensure a dignified living to the elderly, especially the octogenarians,” he said.

As per the government data, the population of 60 years and above has more than tripled in India in the past 50 years.

Further estimates reveal that the country expects 19 per cent of its population, to be above 60 years of age by 2050.

A major social churning is already underway where the concentration of good jobs in a few select cities in India is precipitating the rise of micro-families with elderly people left behind to live alone and grapple with isolation.

Many may not even need old age homes, but they do feel the need for elderly care facilities that can help them with basic errands like banking, mobility to market and public places, and occasional social engagement to avert depression tightening its grip on their mental state.

Insufficient healthcare and domestic abuse are also a concern needing attention.

Last year, NITI Aayog announced that it is firming up a policy prescription for enhancing elderly care in the country with a focus on public-private partnerships to set up old-age homes, a convergence of existing schemes related to the elderly, and pitching for higher resources to be allocated to the sector to significantly ramp up care for senior citizens.



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