Right to Vote for Old Age Home Inmates

voter_idCHENNAI: Confined to an old age home is no handicap for exercising one’s democratic right in the election. Not any more. Senior citizens at the YWCA who were hitherto unable to vote were delighted on Tuesday, thanks to the District Election Officer (DEO), who distributed voters ID for around 35 inmates.

DEO and Chennai Corporation Commissioner B Chandramohan, while distributing voters ID, assured to take steps to make the polling booth senior citizen-friendly, besides ensuring a smooth voting process.

On receiving the ID card, Visa Ravidhran (67) said, “Earlier I knew the candidates in our constituency and their parties. But these days, even the party cadre are ignorant of their supporters. Politicians should be more connected to the people to secure their trust.”

Most of the senior citizens said people should not be swayed by freebies, but rather judge a party’s history before extending support. Rachel Jacobi, General Secretary of YWMA, Madras, said, “So far, I have never missed voting. More than a right, I consider it as my duty. If one is unhappy with the parties, the NOTA option is there,” she added.

DEO Assures Smooth Voting

District Election Officer and Chennai Corporation Commissioner B Chandramohan, while distributing voters ID, assured to take steps to make the polling booth senior citizen-friendly, besides ensuring a smooth voting process.

To read the original article, go here.

Free bus pass for Senior Citizens in TN

MTC3Apart from availing tokens for free bus travel that will be distributed to senior citizens at 42 bus stands and depots across the city, senior citizens can also download forms at www.mtcbus.org.

The applicants should submit proof of age and two passport size photographs with the applications.

The scheme would be implemented from Wednesday. People over sixty can apply for tokens at designated bus stands and depots. Ten tokens will be issued every month to every senior citizen, an official release said. – Special Correspondent

 

 

Combating Parkinson’s together

A news report in Hindu talks about a new self-help group that is bringing together people with Parkinson’s.  Here is an extract from the report:

pdtulip-aware3At first, Kannan S. thought there was something wrong with his eyes. He would feel exhausted when out in the sunlight, and found that his handwriting had begun to taper. Later, the resident of Nolambur was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement.

“I was put on medication, but I experienced a lot of side effects. And I was depressed. My confidence levels fell,” said the 68-year-old.

What changed this was Parivarthan for Parkinson’s, an Anna Nagar-based community support group for people with Parkinson’s disease and their families. Started about a year ago by Sudha Meiyappan, the group now has about 45 families involved and organises various activities including guest lectures every month, yoga sessions every week and home visits for those who cannot make it to the meetings.

To read the entire article, go here.

Cocoon in the news – ET

cocoon_logoWe were covered by ET yesterday.  An brief extract follows.  The link to the original article is at the end of the post.

 

For years they watched as dejected seniors and stroke victims reached out to buy ungainly hospital gowns and unshapely nighties, simply because there was nothing else to wear. So a few weeks ago the founders of Old Is Gold Store decided to spin their own brand of Cocoon adaptive clothing for those with limited mobility. “The idea behind Cocoon is as much to comfort as it is to liberate, says Sanjay Dattatri, director of Old is Gold Store, which caters primarily to the needs of senior citizens. “Just because you are unwell does not mean you have to dress down. Wearing good clothes will make anyone in recovery feel better and that’s what we want to do,” he says.

The first line of adaptive clothing from Cocoon was cotton shirts for men and now that it has become a hit Dattatri says they are expanding the line to include kurtis, readymade sarees, Velcro veshtis and dhotis. “All Cocoon clothing uses Velcro instead of buttons or zippers to make them easy to wear,” he adds.

Customers include everyone from the elderly to those on wheelchairs to people recovering from a stroke. “We are among the few stores in India that retails such clothing,” he says.

Dattatri isn’t far off the mark. Despite the demand in India for adaptive clothing, there are hardly any designers or stores in the country that cater to the segment. In Chennai, apart from Old is Gold, those with disabilities say the choice is limited to customising clothes through tailors…

To read more go here.

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.

Read the full article here.

India spends mere 0.032 percent of GDP on senior citizen: Study

old_india_bAs per the ‘State of India’s Elderly-2014’ report by HelpAge India, the country has 100 million elderly and by 2050 the figure is likely to triple to 324 million.

“But there are not enough dependable community support systems matching this growth,” said Mathew Cherian, Chief Executive Officer of HelpAge.

Justice Leila Seth, Chief Guest at the occasion, said “neglect, poverty and isolation” were the major issues affecting the elderly people.

“The elderly population is subjected to neglect and isolation. Losing one’s dignity can harm you more than ageing. Lack of love can be a bigger evil than lack of laws to protect you.

“Though elderly continue to face troubles across various strata, the problem worsens when poverty is thrown in,” she said.

The report also talked about the need for an effective pension system. “We have been fighting to regulate the pension system nationally with the introduction of universal pension, but it is a long road ahead vis a vis implementation,” said Cherian.

“We have approached Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for the budgetary support to the segment ahead of the Budget Session,” he said.

The report states that the ongoing National Programme for Health Care for Elderly is being implemented in only 13 out of the around 600 districts of the country.

Read the original article here.

Oldest women (born in the 1800s)

n-OLDEST-large570We can all agree that it’s a great feat to live to be 100 — but it’s an even greater feat if you live well, well past it. Believe it or not, the five oldest people in the world today were all born in the 1800s! These supercentenarians, as they’re called, have lived through world wars, the sinking of the Titanic, the space race and much much more.   Read the original article here.

The old serve the young

In a role reversal, a few seniors in Besant Nagar are caring for youngsters. L. KANTHIMATHI on their initiatives in The Hindu.

old_help_young

We tend to picture senior citizens as helpless and leaning heavily on others. And therefore, we are surprised when we see them serve people considerably younger than themselves.

And I should admit I was more than surprised to discover such a group of seniors in Besant Nagar.

Senior Citizens Group of Besant Nagar, founded in 2012, collects and distributes books to college students. Chandrasekhar, honorary president of the forum, says, “We sent a press release about our initiative to neighbourhood tabloids and made a few calls — that’s all it took to get started. Many came forward to donate their books. Many students from families with low incomes came to receive these free books.”

To read more go here.

15 million elderly Indians live all alone: Census

censusAlmost 15 million elderly Indians live all alone and close to three-fourths of them are women. In some states like Tamil Nadu the proportion of such ‘single elders’ is even higher with one in eleven of those aged above 60 living alone. One in every seven elderly persons in India lives in a household where there is nobody below the age of 60. In states like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, a quarter of the elderly population lives in such all-elderly households.

This was revealed in Census 2011 data on the number of elderly people (above 60 years) and household size released this week. Of the nearly 250 million households in India, 31.3% have at least one elderly person. If we take away those elderly living alone or in elderly-only households from this number, just over 27% of households or 68 million households have elderly living with younger members. In almost 70% of households there is nobody above the age of 60.

To read the original article in the Times of India, go here.

India ranked 69th by Global AgeWatch

rankingThe Global AgeWatch Index 2014 has ranked India a lowly 69th among 96 countries it has ranked on how friendly the countries are for senior citizens.

It performs best in the enabling environment domain (52), a significant increase from its 2013 ranking (72) due to an increase in sense of civic freedom (77%) and satisfaction with public transport (69%).

It performs moderately in the capability domain (55), with near the regional average values for employment (55.8%), but low values for educational attainment among older people (20.3%).

It ranks low in the income security domain (71), with poor pension income coverage (28.9%). However, it has low old age poverty (5.1%) and high relative welfare for its region. It ranks lowest in the health domain (87), with below regional average values on all health indicators.

Life expectancy at the Age of 60 in India is estimated to be 17 years, while the estimated number of healthy years is on about 12.6.   Only about 28% of those above the age of 65 receive any pension and the rest are dependent on their own savings or their children.

The most worrisome finding is that the country does not seem to have any clear National policy on ageing.  Unless concrete steps are taken in defining a national level policy on ageing, it is going to be very difficult to see any great improvement in India’s ranking in the future.  With the pressure of increasing population in this segment, things can easily go downhill very quickly.

The top 10 countries to grow old is are:

  1. Norway
  2. Sweden
  3. Switzerland
  4. Canada
  5. Germany
  6. Netherlands
  7. Iceland
  8. USA
  9. Japan
  10. New Zealand

For a more detailed anaysis, go here.