CHENNAI: According to 2011 Census, senior citizens constitute 10 per cent of the State’s population. Tamil Nadu stands third in the population of senior citizens in the country. However, the elderly rue that their demands are seldom met and mostly ignored in political parties’ manifestos. “The government must concentrate on establishing old age homes with integrated multi-facility centres.
Senior citizens cannot stay in shelter homes that are currently available as they lack facilities. The government can also charge a nominal fee and establish day-care centres. This could be like how children centres were established in Tiruchy. It serves as a place to take care of the elderly till their guardians return,” says 79-year-old V Rama Rao.
He also calls for a policy decision to ensure that senior citizens are paid two per cent interest over and above the rate fixed by banks in order to compensate the erosion in their income and meet their cost of living, as many of the seniors in unorganised sector do not have any compensation such as dearness allowance. Health is another crucial aspect in their charter of demands.
They demand that medical examination and treatment be carried out with subsidies in corporate/private hospitals under ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ category. “Apart from this, basic changes like priority registration and treatment for the elderly and at-home follow-up will be of great help,” says Subramani Ramanathan, a 67-year-old man. The elderly also suggest that free bus pass services be extended without a limit on the number of trips in Chennai, while the same could be extended across the State.