“HelpAge India is supporting Anand Vruddhashram, financially and also through it’s various programs.”
In a country of rapidly increasing elder population and subsequent growing concerns to ensure that their later years are lived with economic & social security and dignity, HelpAge runs various programs.
Though over the last few decades the focus has primarily been on the destitute elder, ensuring that the underprivileged elderly are reached through its various services in the areas of financial, health and emotional security, there is now a growing focus on the disadvantaged urban elder as well.
Most elders find themselves at a loss after an active work life, with no place to go, no colleagues and often no support group. Studies indicate that in most cases this leads to a feeling of complete isolation, neglect and loss of confidence and self-worth leading to depression and health problems. This is a serious situation calling for urgent, remedial action. The consequences of not doing so are alarming considering that India’s elderly population is projected to reach 200 million by 2030.
According to health professionals, elders who are part of a social or work group fare much better in terms of physical and emotional well-being. The solution seems to lie in like-minded elders forming small groups and working together on socially useful projects which not only benefits society but is of immense benefit to the elders themselves as it keeps them socially engaged and imparts a sense of self-worth. Which is why, HelpAge India, the country’s leading advocate of Active Ageing has launched a unique programs that strives to meet these objectives.
HelpAge has always encouraged Senior Citizen Associations to form small groups of like-minded people to engage in community work. However, it was soon realized that these groups of elders need a physical space with at least a minimal infrastructure for them to come together to engage in social work and pursue their interests. Hence, there was an urgent need for AdvantAge Centers.
Thousands of elderly, living in both urban and rural areas, have to make do with inadequate medical facilities; many of them are living below the poverty line. This segment includes, in addition to impoverished elderly men and women, widows who are illiterate older than 60 years. They are one of the most disadvantaged sections in the Indian society. The situation is grim for old people in our society. If there is no intervention now, the situation will only get worse
Known earlier as Adopt-a-Gran, Support-a-Gran, is HelpAge India’s way of extending a lifeline of support for elders with no family, financial or social support. Under this program, donors sponsor the basic needs of eldery people.
Every individual hopes to live an independent life with dignity and carry out daily activities of their life, unassisted. However, the natural process of ageing is accompanied by host of degenerative physical problems such as reduced muscle power and tone, reduced range of motion and bone density.
With this in mind, HelpAge India provides physiocare that is aimed at enabling and supporting the elderly to maintain their fitness and mobility level, enhance their independence in Activities of Daily Living (ADL) as well as improve their self-confidence and self-esteem.
Geriatric Physiotherapy is one of the most successful programs implemented in both urban and rural areas of the country. The services rendered treat elderly persons with musculoskeletal diseases such as back pain, arthritis and even paralysis and other age related mobility challenges.
India had 90 million elderly persons in 2011, with the number expected to grow to 173 million by 2026. Of the 90 million seniors, 30 million are living alone, and 90 per cent work for their livelihood.
The number of elderly women is more than that of elderly men. Nearly three out of five single older women are very poor, and two out of three rural elderly women are fully dependent on others for want of appropriate livelihood opportunities towards economic security.
With poor social security arrangements for the elderly, it is not surprising that around 37 million elderly in India need to work in order to survive. A majority of these workers are illiterate or have limited levels of education. Rural Elderly have been doubly disadvantaged as the access issues common to rural areas to health, economic and development services are only exacerbated due to the fact that the elderly are invisible and unorganized.
In order to decrease the socioeconomic vulnerability of older persons, particularly the disadvantaged in the rural areas, HelpAge works with these elders to set up and build Elder Self-help Groups (ESHGs) into viable and sustainable groups and to facilitate their federation at local and district level.
At present 95 million people in India are above the age of 60, by the year 2025 nearly 80 million more will be added to this population bracket. With improved life expectancy rate in our country, it’s estimated that as many as 8 million people are currently above the age of 80 years. Changing family value system, economic compulsions of the children, neglect and abuse has caused elders to fall through the net of family care. Homes for the Aged are ideal for elderly people who are alone, face health problems, depression and loneliness.
Over the past several years, HelpAge India extended financial support for infrastructure development and provided assertive devices to nearly 90 such institutions around the country. HelpAge India has also compiled a list of 484 Homes for the Aged in 16 cities of the country with information about basic facilities, key features and contact details of these Homes, available on HelpAge India’s website.
India after decades of independence is still struggling to provide basic health care facilities to its citizens. Provisions for basic health care services especially in rural India are few and far between. It’s an understood reality that the elderly fall way behind in receiving these services.
An important feature of HelpAge India’s health care initiative for the elderly is organizing health camps in rural as well as urban areas of the country. Since 2010, HelpAge in association with its network has successfully organized both general and specialized health camps for the elderly. A general camp team comprises of general physician, pharmacist and assistant.
In these days of nuclear families, the older generations find themselves living alone, lonely and often with no one to speak to or seek help from in cases of medical or other emergencies. On the other hand, those elderly who still live with their immediate family find themselves strangers in their own house, shunned by their near ones and often abused only because they are old and cannot take care of their own needs. In these cases, the old are denied their Right to Dignity.
The Toll-free HelpAge Senior Citizen Helpline offers assistance to older persons in need of care and protection. It links the elderly to services and resources for long-term solution to their problems. Helplines provide information regarding medical assistance and emergency services; gives advice, guidance and support in calls related to dispute and elder abuse. Through the helpline, senior citizens have easy access to professional help from volunteer medical specialists, financial specialist, legal advisers, family counselors and psychologists. The helpline also coordinates with the police, NGOs, government agencies, old age homes and centers working for the older persons. HelpAge Elder Helplines operates from 23 locations across the nation.