Elderline 14567 for Senior Citizens

Col Balwant Singh (Retd)
It is indeed a privilege to venture into the age of a senior citizen and as enumerated in the Indian law, a person achieves this distinction once he turns 60.
Beside enjoying the status of a senior citizen of a country, advancing ahead in age gradually brings in certain incapacitations in the life of the elderly persons and they start facing various physical, emotional and social issues but the pace of such problems creeping on to the life of a senior citizen can be slowed down to a greater extent and ultimately halted upon for years by instituting certain anti ageing measures by shifting over to a simple life styles vis a vis the eating habits. Owing to metabolic changes in the body, bones of such elderly persons start degenerating and as per advise of the doctors, an enhanced inake of calcium and vitamin D helps in maintaining good bone health. To maintain fitness, a senior citizen has to remain active and undertake hobbies like gardening, walking (low impact walking by super senior citizens above the age of 80 years) and doing yoga on daily basis.
Eating of healthy diets rich in seasonal fruits, green vegies, low fat milk and limiting consumption of sugary and fatty foods results in boosting of the immune system of the body and provide protection against weakening of body cells. With the increase in age, the stress level of an individual also aggravates so involving oneself in physical activities, taking adequate sleep, relaxing, exploring enjoyable activities, having a laughter very often and maintaining general happiness are the mantras for the stress management and leading a healthy life. Keeping a positive frame of mind, deriving satisfaction from the past achievements and keeping very less or no expectations at all from the generation next or for that matter from anyone of the nears and dears will help maintaining a good emotional health.
Acceptance and adaptation to the changed circumstances and society around due to a progressive change in the socio economic conditions and cultural transformation will definitely help an elderly person to lead a contented and carefree life. Understanding and accepting the aging limitations and instituting necessary measures for protection against avoidable attraction of prevalent life style diseases as well as physical injuries especially due to a fall will go a long way in maintaining good physical health. To meet the objective of making the life of a senior citizen comfortable, the government of India has framed some guidelines and quite a number of welfare schemes have been launched. To ensure realistic implementation of these welfare schemes and to make them more understandable and approachable by a senior citizen, a country wide toll free helpline number 14567 has been issued which is promptly attended upon by an elderline executive and required information is provided and necessary support extended as asked for by senior citizen calling for help.
The national telephonic helpline number 14567 remains active 12 hours in a day from 0800 a.m to 0800 p.m and throughout the year except on three national holidays i.e 26th of January, 15th of August and 2nd of October. Through national telephonic helpline a senior citizen is provided information, guidance, emotional support and field intervention driven by the values of consistency, care, empathy and encouragement. The Elderline team provides information on health awareness and treatment, shelter/old age home, day care centre, nutrition, elder friendly products, cultural, spiritual, art, entertainment and companionship, guidance on legal matters both on personal and family level, dispute resolution on property or any matter including with a neighbour etc, advice on financial matters, pension related issues if any and guidance on government schemes available for senior citizens.
Direct field intervention through a field response officer (FRO) deputed in the local jurisdiction from where a senior citizen makes a call for an immediate support such as abuse by anyone, abandoned or those elderly who miss out way to home. Engagement opportunities for a volunteer or paid engagement. Indirect intervention for wish fulfilment, anything giving related to the elderly. Extending help to a senior citizen for product needs like wheelchair, walking stick, shopping and banking etc and fulfilment of any other physical safety, emotional and health care needs. Emotional support is provided in the matters of anxiety resolution, relationship management, bereavement and support in life management issues like time, anger and stress management and support in documentation as per happy will of a senior citizen. Government provides various concessions to senior citizens which are reviewed every year and recently senior citizens saving scheme has been revised enhancing the amount of fixed deposit to thirty lakhs from earlier fifteen lakhs at an interest rates of 8.2 percent per annum.
SCSS is a very good scheme for senior citizens who want a decent risk free return and as stated, a monthly income of Rupees twenty thousands can be earned on a fixed deposit of Rupees thirty lakhs. The Government of India has recently launched the Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana scheme for senior citizens facing financial distress making them to lead a more comfortable and independent life by providing physical aids and assisted-living devices to live with respect and autonomy. Last but not the least the potential of a senior citizen must be understood and not underestimated by anyone as a senior citizen is always a richly experienced and deeply knowledgeable person who can contribute to a greater extent in the development of the society vis-a-vis the Nation and is a source of guidance and inspiration for the younger generation. Senior citizens though generally referred as BUJURG in the society must consider themselves as BHAGYASHALI and must lead a dignified and happy life as a proud citizen of the country.
(The author is Vice President Senior Citizens Club Udhampur)