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The state government has brought several measures to look after the Senior Citizens

21 August, 2020 21:37:31
The state government has brought several measures to look after the Senior Citizens

The World Senior Citizen’s Day (WSCD) is celebrated every year on 21st of August to raise awareness about the issues that affect older adults and to support them throughout the ageing process. The day also recognizes and acknowledges the contributions of older people to the society. It provides an opportunity to show our appreciation for their dedication, accomplishments, and services they give throughout their lives.

The elderly people are a treasure of knowledge and experience for the youngsters as well as the economy at large. As life expectancy improves, the geriatric population in India is expected to witness a boom. According to statistics, by 2050, the elderly population will account for around a quarter of the total population. Kolkata is fast becoming a city of superannuated people. According to a study conducted recently, Kolkata is home to more senior citizens than any other metro in India, most of who live alone. Educated middle class Bengalis have always looked beyond the periphery of their home state and ventured out to other cities and countries, but the trend has suddenly gained momentum and in the last decade, there has been a mass exodus of young people. In fact, Kolkata has the least number of 20-30-year-olds among metros.

The mass exodus of the young population is making a deep dent in the social structure and the elderly are naturally the most affected. Bereft of the personal touch of one’s own brood, the senior members feel the vast void closing in on them. Their fear is compounded by a host of physical and mental anxiety and trauma, both real and imaginary. 

Poster of the short film- ‘Jhor Themay Jaabe Ekdin’ (The Storm Shall Stop One Day)

Sometime back, West Bengal Chief Minister, Ms Mamata Banerjee announced the making of a short film based on her story titled ‘Jhor Themay Jaabe Ekdin’ (The Storm Shall Stop One Day). The movie is an effort to create awareness about Covid-19 and how senior citizens are coping amid this never-witnessed-before worldwide crisis. Our Chief Minister has been very proactive in this matter and has introduced a number of schemes for senior citizens. 

The Kolkata Police, in collaboration with the non-profit Dignity Foundation, has set up a dedicated helpline and service that keeps an eye on the elderly who live alone and assesses their security and medical concerns – for those who register for this service. This initiative to create a database has been christened ‘Pronam’ for citizens who live in Kolkata, ‘Sanjh Bati’ for the elderly living in Salt Lake and New Town and ‘Shraddha’ in Howrah. The information collected thus will be integrated to help the state health department primary database.  

Plans are afoot wherein civic bodies and police will reach out to every high-rise in their zones to collate information on elderly people who live alone and take down contact details of the housing society office bearers. The administration will contact these office bearers periodically to enquire about the elderly residents for a period status update on their conditions. 

The KMC Covid-response team, ward coordinators and local police stations have been asked to conduct a survey of the city’s housing complexes, especially those in containment zones, to get first-hand information about senior citizen – their phone numbers, their health conditions and their requirements which could be anything from providing ambulances for hospitalization, arranging a doctor for health check-up or reaching essentials at their doorsteps. The KMC health team, ward coordinators and local police teams will be in the vicinity to provide assistance to senior citizens. The CM has also urged the youngsters to take care of the elderly during these trying times. 

The state has also been encouraging investments by private enterprises in healthcare segment. According to government communication, 41 speciality and super speciality hospitals are coming up in West Bengal with focus on geriatric care. From apps that connect them to emergency services to home delivery of medicines and essentials, physiotherapists and nurses on call to resort-like facilities for those who want autumnal luxury, are all present.

The state government has also in introduced the Old Age Pension Scheme, wherein financial assistance of Rs. 750/- per month is provided to elderly bona fide residents of West Bengal. Dealing with medical expenses becomes difficult as income dwindle post   retirement. With advancing age, people become more susceptible to various ailments. The need for a steady flow of income to cover the expenses for treatment as well as prevention increases manifold. 

Story Tag:
  • Senior Citizens, State Government, Kolkata Police

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