India’s elderly population, classified as those above the age of 60, was 8% in 2015. This number is set to rise to 19% in 2050. Are we well prepared to take care of the elderly?
A UN Population Fund report titled ‘Caring for our elders: Early response India Ageing Report 2017’ observes that elderly women are the section of the population who deserve maximum attention, as they are more vulnerable than men due to their longer life expectancy and meagre or no income.
In 1997, the State Poverty Eradication Mission (SPEM) of the Government of Kerala implemented a programme called ‘Kudumbashree’ which aims to work towards women empowerment and eradication of poverty.
Kudumbashree in Malayalam means ‘prosperity of the family’.
After successfully running the programme for two decades, Kudumbashree is now launching a new project called ‘Care Giver Senior Citizens’ to assist the elderly people who live alone at home.This programme, which will be launched in December, comes as a boon for senior citizens who live alone and are unable to take proper care of themselves. Those facing difficulty in giving adequate care for elderly members in their home can seek the help of Kudumbashree caregivers.
Anjali Nair is a medical professional who works in Dubai. Her parents are residents of Kottayam, Kerala and when asked about Kudumbashree’s new programme she said, “This is a great programme. As I live far away from my parents, I often worry about them. Small things like helping them send an e-mail or just setting up the video chat for them will be of such great help. I will certainly avail of this service.”
Understanding and catering to their needs will be of paramount importance.
The caregivers at Kudumbashree are undergoing special training to help them care for the senior citizens. The caregivers will assist senior citizens in their day-to-day shopping, bank work, and even accompany them on their visits to the doctors, amongst other things. Approximately 1,000 caregivers from Kudumbashree will be appointed, and a call centre and monitoring centre will be opened at the district level. One can avail the service of a caregiver through call centres in every district. Kudumbashree will charge a fixed amount for the service to provide a salary to the caregivers, as reported in English Mathrubhumi.
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