Senior citizens in need of aid or companionship can now call for help any time of the day.
A 24x7 helpline for citizens aged 50 plus is one of the new services and privileges under the Dignity Donor Privilege Programme (DDPP) launched by a non-profit trust, Dignity Foundation, on Monday. The toll-free helpline (61381111) will be operational from Wednesday.
Revamping itself through the DDPP, the foundation, which has been working for senior citizens in Mumbai since 1995, will also reach out to the elderly in Pune, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai.
“Our surveys show that the growth rate of the elder population in India is the highest in the world, and two-thirds of our citizens above the age 60 live below the poverty line,” said Dr Sheilu Sreenivasan, founder of Dignity Foundation. By becoming donor-members of the DDPP, 50-plus citizens can support related activities and avail services such as counselling, security and medical help. Dignity will also set up an additional 20 recreational centres for senior citizens.
“We need to take care of our elders because they took care of us when we were young,” said actor Tanuja Mukherjee, brand ambassador of the foundation.
On Tuesday, the foundation will also present five recommendations to Mukul Wasnik, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, to get the centre to take a stand on their outlook towards the elderly.
“The government must decide whether policies for the elderly will be based on traditional retirement model or on active and productive ageing,” said Sreenivasan.