24-hour helpline for elders to be launched

 

elder-abuse-300x300The city may soon get a 24-hour helpline for senior citizens in an initiative taken up by Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), in association with Sneha Sandhya and HelpAge India.

The helpline at the YMCA, a first-of-its-kind initiative in the city, will provide medical assistance and emotional support for senior citizens. “We have discussed the issues raised by senior citizens with the YMCA management, who have shown their eagerness to come up with the much-needed helpline. The facility will be launched by the end of the month,” Ch. Venkat Rao, secretary of Sneha Sandhya, told The Hindu .

Sneha Sandhya, which has a membership base of over 500 senior citizens, is also planning to establish a day-care centre for the elderly. “We have approached government officials to look for a suitable land to build the facility. With growing issues concerning senior citizens, geriatric support systems are the need of the hour,” Mr. Rao said.

At present, Sneha Sandhya has a centre at Prema Samajam, where it offers yoga training and free medical check-up.

The HUG bridge

At a time when there is a severe disconnect between the youth and senior citizens, HelpAge India, Sneha Sandhya, AU-NCSA Centre for Gerontology, and AU Department of Social Work have joined hands to come up with a novel programme called HUG or ‘Help Unite Generations’.

As part of this, a sensitisation programme will be held at AU Platinum Jubilee Guest House on July 25 involving the youth and senior citizens.

“The programme will facilitate an interactive platform between youth and senior citizens, where the elderly can explain their expectations from the younger generations and the problems they are facing. Similarly, the youth can come up with views and suggestions to address those,” Mr Rao said.

According to a recent HelpAge India survey for ‘Elder Abuse: The Indian Youth Speaks Out’, of the 2,000 youths, including women, surveyed, 73 per cent accepted that elder abuse existed in society. However, only 4.6 per cent of them intended to report such cases to the police. Even lesser, 1.1 per cent, wanted to approach an NGO and 15.6 per cent wanted to intervene and speak to the elder about fighting abuse.

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