THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With old age people becoming an encumbrance to many families, it has become quite common to send the elderly to old age homes. Realising the ever growing demand for such centres, the Corporation has built a new old age home at Malamukal. Mayor V K Prasanth inaugurated the shelter on Monday which was observed as the International Day for Older Persons.
“We have named the old age home as ‘Santhwanam’. It can occupy around 20 people at a time and is particularly for males”, said the Mayor. Construction of homes for the elderly comes under the ‘Shelter for the Urban Homeless’ scheme which is part of National Rural Livelihood Mission (NULM) project. “Santhwanam offers a safe stay where we have arranged two caretakers to look after the elderly. We are also planning to build an additional hall on a Rs 30 lakh budget,” V K Prasanth said.
“Santhwanam provides a dormitory, cupboards and other basic furniture. Food and other basic facilities have been arranged for the elderly,” said S S Sindhu, Corporation Welfare Standing Committee chairperson. According to the Corporation officials, the old age home is primarily for those who have no one to look after them. For entertainment purpose, the Corporation has also provided a TV, a garden and will also organise small-scale farming activities.
The May 2018 statistics show there are 56 old age homes recognised and listed in Thiruvananthapuram under the Social Justice Department Control Board. Also, several homes run by private trusts are mushrooming in the city.
■ Kerala was one of the first states to have introduced an ‘Old age Policy’ for senior citizens in 2006 by ensuring maximum welfare measures allotted for them
■ According to the State Economic Review 2017, 42 lakh people in the state are above 60 years, while 13 per cent fall in the age group of 80 years and above which makes it the fastest growing group among the elderly
■ Even after the Maintenance and Welfare Of Senior Citizens Act 2007 - which say there is a legal obligation for children and heirs to provide maintenance for the elderly - came into force, the incidents of old people being thrown out on the streets are on the rise. A study conducted by HelpAge India in 2014 states that the elderly population will have grown by 270 per cent by 2050