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Need more than 1,000 caregivers to give long term care to senior citizens, says Janaseva Foundation chairman

Dr Vinod Shah, the chairman of Janaseva Foundation, a charitable trust working towards providing better facilities to the elderly and has been working in field of aging since the past 40 years. Excerpts from his conversation with Prachi Bari.

pune Updated: Dec 05, 2017 14:39 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
caregivers,senior citizens,Janaseva Foundation
Dr Vinod Shah has also worked with the World Health Organisation and United Nations in Geriatrics and Gerontology.(HT PHOTO)

Dr Vinod Shah is thechairman of Janaseva Foundation, a charitable trust working towards providing better facilities to the elderly and has been working in field of aging since the past 40 years. He has also worked with the World Health Organisation and United Nations in Geriatrics and Gerontology.Excerpts from his conversation with Prachi Bari.

What is the state of senior citizens in Pune?

There are more than 12-crore senior citizens, who are aged above 60, in India. Maharashtra has 1.20 crore senior citizens and Pune has 7-lakh senior citizens. Due to a good lifestyle, good medical treatments and availability of preventive medicines, lifespan of people have increased.

What is the major problem that senior citizens face?

Most of the senior citizens above 80 years of age face major health problems including falls and fractures, dementia and Alzheimer’s, complications due to diabetes, renal failure and liver disorders. Many suffer from hypertension, cardiac diseases and respiratory tract diseases. Amongst neurological problems, brain haemorrhage,which leads to paralysis, is also fairly common. Many find it difficult to deal with the collapse of family system and go into depression as they are used to living in a joint family. The culture of taking care of elders is deteriorating. Senior citizens also face economical difficulties. Only around 14 per cent of the elderly in the country get pension, and even out of this, almost 50 per cent has only a negligible pension. Government also gives only meagre help to the poor. The middle class also have to suffer a lot as they have to manage everything with the little amount of money that they get. So when they are ill, it is indeed a big problem for them.

How many old age homes are working in Maharashtra and in Pune?

Maharashtra has 33 government-supported old age homes, while Pune has only three; Janaseva Foundation, Niwara and Blind Men’s Association old age home. There are 24 Matoshree ashrams working in Maharashtra without any government grant. Pune has one out of these and there are more than 300 private old age homes in Maharashtra while Pune district boasts of more than 30. We have been trying to create awareness about the need for rules and regulations to run a good old age home as in recent times, abuse in old age homes has come to the fore. For any good old age home, it is a must to have certain things in place including proper food, nutrition, ambulation and physiotherapy.

What is the government doing to cope with this?

Ministry of social justice has eight regional resources training centres across India where training is given to care givers. One centre is in Janaseva Foundation and the other in Mumbai. We need more than 1,000 caregivers who will give long term care to the senior citizens. The government of India is also planning to start units of 50 seniors citizens’ centres in the future.

First Published: Dec 02, 2017 14:57 IST