Sunday Anchor

Filled to capacity

The elderly constitute 8 per cent of the city’s population, and yet the facilities are too few. “The demand for old age homes and services is not in sync with the number available or the care services,” said social activist Alok Sen.

Kolkata has about 100 centrally funded homes, with an average capacity of 25-30 persons, besides private homes. However, the districts have very few homes, even they are mandatory. “Old age homes in Kolkata are inundated by enquiries from other parts. They are already filled to capacity and have limited infrastructure to expand. Also, the majority of homes are for the middle and upper middle classes, leaving very few homes for the lower economic strata,” said Mr. Sen.

Nabadiganta, a Central government-aided old age home in western Kolkata has a capacity of 200 but houses only 70. Founder-director Sachi Dulal Banerjee said that central funding had stopped seven years ago, when he refused to bribe government officials. “More residents mean higher maintenance costs. My funds come from the Rs. 4,000 a month and a one-time deposit of Rs. 5,000 from residents. There are many defaulters. Some families don’t even collect the bodies of their loved ones when they die…”

The other need is to create awareness about mental illnesses of the elderly. “Geriatrics should be made into a specialisation, with a separate ministry,” Mr. Sen said.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 12:29:59 AM |

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