Discussion on Geriatric Care by thinker’s club

Cuttack(Samrudha Odisha)The Thinkers’ Club, in its 101th session over the Zoom Platform discussed on a global topic of the time, which is a problem of the entire mankind.Senior retired bureaucrat, Sri Vivek Pattanaik was the chief guest of the meet. He said, the senior citizens are store house of knowledge and experiences. It is necessary to utilize their talents for betterment of the society and the nation. Dr Santosh Kumar Mohapatra, a Columnist, Economist and a thinker of social subjects was the chief speaker of the meet.As per the guide lines of the WHO, people over 65 are considered as elderly citizen. In the United States, elderly people are classified to three categories. People from 65 to 74 are considered young old. From 75 to 84 are considered as middle old. People above 85 are considered as old old. In India our classification is little different. People above 60 are considered as senior citizens and those who are above 80 are called Super Senior Citizens. Due to changes in life style, health consciousness and awareness of people, improvement in the health care system, advancement in science, availability of proper food, the longevity of people have been improved in the country and at other places of the world. At present 10.5% of the Indian population are senior citizens. The percentage of senior citizens is increasing every year. It is estimated that by the year 2050, the percentage of the senior citizens in the country will be doubled. This is not bad for the society. This growth of senior citizens is not a bad sign to the mankind but, this is bringing certain problems which are peculiar to the age group and are major causes of social disharmony.

The problem is more pertinent these days since the society is switching over to the nucleus family structure from the traditional joint families. The problems of old age are:-

  1. Need for adequate health care facilities. The facilities available in the government dispensaries and hospitals are not elder friendly. There is no separate counter for the seniors. It is suggested that, there should be lot of improvement in this respect. If possible, geriatric hospitals need to be opened, caring the geriatric people.
  2. Nursing and personal care. Those seniors who are detached from their family and require personal care are handicapped in this respect. It is seriously felt that, elderly people not capable of doing their own work require some personal assistance. Older people, where

one of the spouse is dead and the surviving person is bed ridden; the situation is very much critical, when the family member are not there to take care of.

  • Loneliness:- Normally, before attending senior status, people complete their worldly assignments. Completion of education of the children, employment for children and marriages etc are completed. The children may leave the parental house and stay outside and even go abroad. Now days, an empty nest syndrome is experienced by the parents. Due to cost factors, children cannot accommodate aged parents at the remote places and at the same time not leave them uncared at the base station. This is a problem of the current time. Before independence, this did not exist. Old age homes, geriatric care centers are emerging recently. In India, such centers are mainly managed by charitable organizations and a few are in commercial or professional way. The available facility is not adequate. It needs intervention by the government.
  • Legal aides. The senior people sometimes face legal problems. It may be related to property rights, taxation or matrimonial disharmony. In our country, many of the legal practitioners are not working ethically. The seniors are facing unnecessary litigation expenses and wasting their savings. Some protections are necessary in this matter. There should be unbiased, legal help centers and speedy disposal of matters taking in to account all related factors and justice in the best possible manner.
  • Financial problem:- In our country, many people are not working in the organized sector.

All are not in a position to receive superannuation benefits. Those seniors not having own source of income and dependent on family or children experience problem. The old age pension, Pension for widows is there but these are not adequate and are received very often by undeserving people. Majority of senior people are agricultural labourers and wage earners of the construction industry. There should be some provision for these heterogeneous unorganized people. The meeting was presided by, Sri Barada Prasanna Das, the President of the Club. Mr Das in his presidential speech expressed his satisfaction over the discussions. He was of the opinion that, elderly people in the society deserve some respect, care and attention. He felt, much to be done in this respect. He suggested that the Government need to direct the corporations to spend some funds from their “Corporate Social Funds” He also said that, if necessary arises, the Government should bring necessary changes in the Companies Act 2013. Mr Das accepted the suggestion of the members to send a report to the Prime Minister through Dr Nanda Nandan Das, an original thinker and a specially permitted person to interact with the office of the Prime Minister on the subject.Other members, who spoke on the subject were, Rotarian Dr Jugal Kishor Sahoo, Professor Dr Tahali Sahoo.Raj kishore Samantaray, Dr Nanda Nandan Das, Professor Umasankar Misra, Senior Advocate Soumyajit Pani, Dr Rajat Satapathy, Srikanta Mohanty,Subash Sahoo from Baharin, Pratap Rout from Chhatish Gada, Professor Trayloki Pande from USA, Arnapurna Pande discussed on various aspects relating to the problem of the older people.Nimai Swain, Bibhudutta Mohanty from Bangalore, Sudhakar Patri, Asima Sahoo, Pranati, Panhanan Mohnty, Subhendu Mishra, A.S.Parida, Dr Dipayan Pattanaik, Jayasree Upadhaya, BK Nayak, Ganesh Kundu, Ansuman Kar, Shantanu Kumar Mishra and many dignitaries were present in the meet. Many more participated in the U.Tube channel.

The meeting ended with vote of thanks from Dr Nanda Nandan Das, former secretary of the works department.

Report by Barada Prasanna Das, President, Thinkers’ Club.Cuttack-753001, (M) 9861145687