The Madurai District Police and HelpAge India organised a seminar on ‘Meeting critical challenges of senior citizens’ at the District Police Office here on Saturday.

Representatives of various trusts taking care of the elders, social workers, legal experts and academics took part in the seminar.

Edwin Babu, Joint Director (Programmes), Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, HelpAge India, said while the elders had their fair share of problems, they themselves were looked at as problems, particularly in the recent past. Explaining the key words in their logo, ‘Fighting isolation, poverty and neglect,’ he said, “We have placed isolation above poverty. In the last five years, the most affected have been the elders from middle and upper class families.”

Chief guest Superintendent of Police V.Balakrishnan said the old must be aware of their rights. “With an effective grievance redressal system, we should make sure that solutions are found to their problems,” he said.

Jacintha Martin, secretary, District Legal Services Authority, emphasised better implementation of laws under the Senior Citizens Act, 2007. Stressing the need to educate the young people to respect their parents in their old age, she said, “Old people in our houses yearn for love. They should not be neglected on the excuse of work burden.”

Taking questions from the audience on property disputes that affect old people, the panel reaffirmed the importance of writing will. “Wills are accepted even if written on a plain sheet of paper and the old people should be aware that they can change a will as long as they live,” said Ms.Jacintha.

District Social Welfare Officer R.Anandhavalli spoke on the challenges in rescue and rehabilitation of the abandoned elders. S.Veeraraghavan, Senior Manager, IOB, and V.S.Murugan, Manager (Sales), LIC, Madurai, were present.

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