Minister releases draft of revised geriatric policy

The revised geriatric policy proposed by the State government has provision for starting an employment directorate to generate post-retirement job opportunities. The draft of the revised policy was released here on Monday by M.K. Muneer, Minister for Panchayat and Social Welfare.

The draft policy also proposes to incorporate activities promoting care for the aged and value-based education in the school curriculum.

Host of schemes

The revised policy has schemes to bring senior citizens, especially women, to the forefront of society. It also includes schemes to support women’s organisations, ensure the aged can live in their own homes, and provide financial security and pension plans for the aged. The draft policy proposes support for social security, health care and residential care.

It suggests framing of a law to ensure care of parents and senior citizens.

Tribunals will be established to ensure proper care for the aged who are abandoned and incapable of taking care of themselves. Special old age homes with sufficient budgetary assistance will be set up in all districts.

Special care will be given to aged women. The Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension scheme will be implemented in the State with the amendments made by the Union government. Public health initiatives will be promoted.

Loans will be released to small scale entrepreneur projects at reasonable interest rates. Financial support and relaxations of restrictions will be given to non-profit making projects taken up by organisations.

Geriatric wards

Also part of the proposed draft plan are special geriatric wards in hospitals up to the taluk level, free medicines at government hospitals for senior citizens having an annual income of up to Rs. 2.5 lakh, geriatric health units at all district and general hospitals, said an official press release.

Medical check-up

The ‘vayomitram’ scheme being implemented through Kerala Social Security Mission will be extended to all panchayats.

Special food supply scheme through anganwadis, with provision for delivering food at homes, will be implemented. Public health nurses will conduct a check up twice a year for everyone above 80 years of age in urban and rural areas.

Public-private participation projects will be formed for geriatric and palliative care in rural areas.

Citizens will be encouraged to contribute to the State-sponsored health security fund to support the healthcare needs of the aged.

Another component of the draft policy is to have mobile health clinics operated through primary health centres.

Non-government organisations volunteering to start such initiatives will be given subsidy.

Easy access to the aged and differently abled will be ensured at bus stations, railway stations, airports, banks, parks, places of worship, cinemas and shopping malls. Special old age homes will be constructed for those above 80 years of age.

By the end of 2013-14, old age homes will be renovated and employees will be deployed in a scientific manner. A detailed survey will be conducted to collect data of citizens above 60 years of age.

Adequate changes will be made in the draft policy after collecting suggestions and recommendations from the public and other stakeholders, said Dr. Muneer, after releasing the draft policy.

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