Bengaluru

Do they get the care they need in their sunset years?

Old-age homes have to ensure that residents get nutritious food, adequate clothing, linen, and so on.— File photo

Old-age homes have to ensure that residents get nutritious food, adequate clothing, linen, and so on.— File photo  

Survey of old-age homes is on to identify necessary amendments to senior citizens’ Act

The Elders’ Helpline, which is run by the Bengaluru city police and the Nightingales Medical Trust, is assessing old-age homes in the city to check the standard of living they offer to people.

Over the last few months, volunteers have been visiting privately-run homes as well as those managed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The aim of this survey is to make suitable amendments to the existing provisions of the Senior Citizens Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, to improve the quality of care. Once the study is over, recommendations will be sent to the government. “We will also recommend a regulatory and licensing body that can monitor old-age homes,” S. Premkumar Raja, co-founder of Nightingales Medical Trust.

As of now, the Senior Citizens Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, has set some minimum standards to be followed. According to the Act, homes should have residential areas with separate rooms for men and women, adequate water facilities, electricity, fan and heating arrangements, kitchen, dining hall, adequate toilets, recreation facilities, and first-aid facilities.

But experts argue that the guidelines are not detailed, and leave room for managements to take advantage of them. “There are around 86 homes in the city and a majority of them could do with better facilities to enhance the dignity of life of senior citizens in old-age homes. Some of them have facilities in tin sheds and others don’t even have proper toilets,” said Shiv Kumar, advocate and convener, Elders’ Helpline.

Old-age homes have to ensure that residents get nutritious food, adequate clothing, linen, and so on. They should make arrangements with nearest hospitals in cases of emergency. However, many of them don’t follow this as they are run for commercial purposes. “They get a grant from the Union government to run the homes, and some of them just exist on paper,” said Mr. Kumar. Though he adds that there are a few exceptions that provide excellent care.

“There is an urgent need to have a regulatory body for old-age homes. Only if they meet certain standards should they be given a licence,” said Mr. Raja.

Meanwhile, M. Bharanidharan, partner, Faith Elder Health Care Centres, said that medical attention is important for the elderly and it should be available at old-age homes “We run one which is free and another that is chargeable. But the inmates of both enjoy same facilities. Proper healthcare is also given,” he said.

According to 75-year-old C.V. Sastri, who retired from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., it would be beneficial if big corporates build and run old-age homes as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility.

“The government should become a facilitator and bring the companies together,” he said.



There is an urgent need to have a regulatory body for old-age homes. Only if they meet certain standards should they be given a licence.

S. Premkumar Raja,

Co-founder of Nightingales Medical Trust





State

Victims of murder

Maharashtra

173

Tamil Nadu

168

Uttar Pradesh

154

Madhya Pradesh

107

Chhattisgarh

63

Andhra Pradesh

60

Karnataka

44

Source: National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data



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