The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the States to provide care, support and priority medical treatment for senior citizens, especially those living alone or quarantined, amid the pandemic .
A Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan ordered that the governments had to respond promptly to the needs of senior citizens and ensure that they did not suffer financially during COVID-19. The elderly should get their pension on time.
“All old-age people who are eligible for pension should be regularly paid pension and those identified older people, should be provided necessary medicines, masks, sanitisers and other essential goods by respective States. Further, as and when any individual request is made, the same shall be attended to by the administration with all promptness”, the court ordered.
Senior advocate Ashwani Kumar, who moved the court, said many elderly persons were battling loneliness and depression.
The lockdown of the past months and social isolation imposed were telling on senior citizens, leaving many of them in the grip of anxiety, Mr. Kumar, a former Union Law Minister, said.
The court said senior citizens should be given priority in government hospital admissions during the pandemic.
“Elderly people should be given priority in the admission in the government hospital looking to their vulnerability for COVID-19”, the court said.
Government hospitals should take care to promptly remedy any grievances voices by senior citizens during this health crisis.
“In event of any complaint made by the elderly people, the hospital administration concerned shall take immediate steps to remedy their grievances”, the court said.
The Bench directed that caregivers in old-age homes should wear personal protection equipment (PPE) and follow proper sanitation procedures.
The court agreed to take up the case after four weeks.