Tuesday, February 16, 2016

City welcomes WHO’s help list for the elderly - Pune Mirror

By Mayuri Phadnis, Pune Mirror | Feb 15, 2016, 02.30 AM IST

WHO aims to simplify the lives of the elderly (PIC FOR REPRESENTATIONAL PURPOSE ONLY)
Citizens say that Pune lacks the infrastructure for senior citizens

From walking canes to wrist alarm systems, World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched a survey to assemble a list of assisted living technologies for the world's geriatric population. The list is expected to be on the lines of WHO's essential medicines list. People working for the geriatric population in the city have received the move positively considering the fact that the city does not have senior citizen- friendly infrastructure.

"Bathroom bars, walking sticks, walkers and hearing aids are some of the basic requirements for the elderly. Although many organisations are working to rent out these items at not so significant costs, it is still unaffordable for the middle income group in the country. Also, the elderly might not always have the strength to push wheelchairs. But then again, if we think of getting battery operated wheelchairs, the question of affordability crops up. Among other problems, the purchase of adult diapers may pinch pockets," informed Vaishali Desai, co-ordinator for Dignity Foundation in Kalyani Nagar.

According to WHO's statement, this tool will help governments all over the world in acquiring priority products. Presently, only one out of 10 get these vital enhancements due to non-availability of these products, lack of awareness or affordability factors. With this project, the organisation wants to improve the quality of living for the elderly.

On a basic level, the elderly must be looked after with utmost attention. However, Desai cites plethora of hurdles that one faces in arranging proper care . "The cost of hiring caretakers is immense and some of the old age homes are in a deplorable state. The government should make assisted living home facilities available for the people at reasonable costs. Moreover, day care centres for the elderly, like those for children, should be established. In this country we have budgets for women, children as part of demographics, but no budgetary allocation has been made for the elderly," further added Desai.

Adding to this list, Dr Priyadarshani Kulkarni, secretary of the Indian Association of Palliative Care, talked of an urgent need for alerting devices in case emergency. "Travelling with senior citizens can be a problem due to lack of infrastructure across the country. Primarily, roads are not wheelchair- friendly. Also, climbing into buses is a major issue. To add to that, caretakers are not adequately trained, and could possibly injure bed-ridden people. Nurses char
ge a lot," she said.

Beside the lack of basic facilities, the insurance sector doesn't aid in bettering the situation. Dr Avinash Bhutkar, president of Indian Medical Association's Pune Chapter, laments non-existent schemes. "For a middle class family, financing the elederly member's medication might pose a problem. Very few insurance programmes cover up for the financial requirements. For instance, no company has schemes cataract treatments since it does not require the patient to be admitted to the hospital. It puts families in a fix," he said.


1 comment:

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