‘Pay and Stay Homes’ is solution

Ashok Kumar Arora
With the fast changing socio-economic scenario the elders have been left alone. Main reason being the nuclear families, especially in urban areas, green pastures outside the country or outside our UT being the main reasons of attraction.
Loneliness is a very common disease in the later part of life and nearly 20 percent of elders die due to this disease.
Day Care Centers is the answer at least to the problem of Elders at home during the day . Many such day care centers are running at various places where recreation facilities are available and in a few cases counseling on health care is also available. These centers are being run mostly by N.G.Os. We are thankful to our ex Hon’ble Chief Justice Of High Court who established two day care centers one each at Srinagar and Jammu. In our opinion more such day care centers need to be set up.
There now is the problem of such of the elders who are poor and have no one to look after them in their old age. Old Age Homes is the solution to this problem . We have such a good home in Jammu at Amphalla .This is being run by an N.G.O. of course with a little grant -in -aid from the State Govt. There exist a few more such homes at various districts. As a matter of fact there should be at least one such home at each district head quarter. Admittedly the poor rural elders are the sufferers. The family bonds are still stronger in the rural areas but with the fast changing scenario the elders have to suffer and with no respite and there is no alternative left but to suffer in silence and die.
Establishment of old age homes is the responsibility of the Govt. at each district level as provided in the Act 2007.Even big business houses can come forward to establish such homes out of their social corporate responsibility funds. We in Jammu are fortunate to have Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine and a designated Board to look after its affairs and with sufficient financial resources. The shrine board can definitely come forward to establish such a home.
In urban areas the problem is little different. Elders will prefer to stay lonely and suffer rather than joining an old age home. Their children will never like them to get admission in an old age home. Presently the parents are sending their kids to crèches for day care when their parents are out on duty. Why cannot the children keep their parents in such places where they are comfortable. Most of the elders in the urban areas are capable of spending for their comforts in their fag end of life. Their children can also afford and love to have such an arrangement to see that their elders live in comfort especially the ones who are residing outside the UT or the country. Pay and Stay Homes is the solution for such elders.
Pay and Stay Homes are available at many places in the country. These Homes are designed to take care of all the problems of the elders including health care. good and hygienic food ,recreational facilities, joint messing , indoor and outdoor games, local dispensary, lifts where more stories of the building are there, security and many more for the comforts of the elders. We have one with the name Aashraye at canal road, run by B. N.General Hospital. More such homes are required to be established in the city. Being more or less a commercial proposition these Homes are to be established by the civil society, Bank loans are available. The stigma earlier associated with staying in a pay and stay homes is gradually reducing and thus a dire need to establish such homes.
Association For Welfare Of Senior Citizens ,after a great struggle, got a Govt. land ,nearly 8 Kanals, at Dambi (Nagrota)allotted which was taken over by the S.W.Department in the year 2015. Nothing has been done to utilize this land for the purpose for which it was got allotted. A Pay and Stay Home Could have come up on this land.
Govt. of India formulated a National Policy on older persons followed by enactment of The maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007. The Act binds the States for establishment of Old Age Homes , Provisions for Medical Care , Protection of life and property and many more provisions for the welfare of elders. However the Act was not extended to our State, thus depriving the Elders of the state of the benefits which flow from the various provisions of the Act. With the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A of the Indian Constitution, nearly 100 Central Acts have been extended to our U.T. Thus the above mentioned Act also got extended to our U.T. Tribunals and appellate Tribunals ,are now required to be established at different levels. An urgent action is required in this respect. In a recent meeting with the Commissioner and Secretary S.W. Department this point was highlighted by the Association for Welfare of senior Citizens.
As stated above the celebration of Elders Day is to bring awareness amongst the youth for their responsibilities towards their Elders as also to avail the benefits of their rich experience and to intersopect their contribution to the cause. As is known to all of us awareness is very important aspect in all the fields of activity. Print and Electronic Media are the right sources to come forward for this purpose. With the latest technology these media are very powerful and awareness can reach the remotest corners. An elderly abuse, any crime against the elders and any other such case needs to be highlighted.
We have a State Academi of Art, Culture and Languages which can definitely play an important role for creating awareness amongst the people. The various dramas acts, plays ,skits etc. leave a deep impression on the minds of youngsters . We expect that the Academy shall come forward in this respect and fulfill their responsibility towards a noble cause.
Social security is very important for the Elders and Police Deptt. Is the epitome for creating a sense of security amongst the elders. Area S.H.O. should have the record of all the elders living in his area. Occasional phone calls, providing instant alarms, priority to the elders whenever they report to the Police Station, posting of police men on the roads where there is huge traffic to guide the elders as also to help them cross the roads are a few to quote.
Recently our Govt. has established a Help Line (14567) for the elders. This is a very appreciable step taken by the Govt. Association is thankful for this action taken for the Elders. We very much hope that the new setup works in the right earnest and elders are able to take benefit of the same.
Concluding the Association feels strongly that the State Govt. as well as the Civil Society should come forward to create the required infrastructure for the welfare of elders.
The author is Patron, Association for Welfare of Senior Citizens (Regd)