As many senior citizens are suffering from help and care and expressed the plight. #KhabarLive published a report and as an impact, several voluntary groups come forward to help and care the elderly people across Hyderabad. And the state government too set up a helpline for senior citizens stuck in their homes during the 21- day lockdown. But protocols are yet to be formulated, leaving many in desperate need for immediate assistance.
Volunteer groups, however, are self-organising, attempting to reach out to senior citizens who live alone. Apart from these group several individuals come forward to assist in this noble cause during this critical period.
In Hyderabad, around 2000 senior citizens who live alone and are in need of essentials are being assisted by volunteers from Youngistan Foundation, “We have about 50 volunteers so far and we are getting requests for assistance from other major cities as well. There are many senior citizens who need help but don’t know where to reach out to,” says Arun Daniel Yellamaty, President of the Youngistan Foundation. The volunteers have to follow social distancing measures and ensure no physical contact is made with senior citizens as they are highly vulnerable to the coronavirus, he adds.
Senior citizens (60 years and above) in Hyderabad, who are looking for someone to help them buy groceries, medicines, etc can reach out, says Arun Daniel. They will arrange volunteers in other cities based on their availability. The group also distributes groceries i.e rice, pulses, wheat, toiletries etc to those presently in need.
Dobara, an intergenerational group in Hyderabad, which focusses on the well-being of senior citizens, is also trying to provide assistance to them. ”We are focusing on providing emotional support and guidance to those in need. Self-isolation has left us no other option but to connect with our members through WhatsApp and phone,” says Mateen Ansari, co-founder and director, Dobara.”We have about five senior citizens who are being assisted,” she adds.
Youngisthan is attempting to create a hyperlocal-level volunteer service to assist senior citizens. Telangana presently is under lockdown and with a curfew in place between 7 pm to 6 am. The volunteers can enrol themselves for the volunteering service and assist those senior citizens within a 3-kilometre radius of their residence.
“One of the senior citizens we are helping requires dialysis every two days, we have a volunteer who takes the senior citizen with them to the hospital and back,” adds Arun. There has been little or no assistance from municipal authorities after the lockdown was imposed six days ago in Telangana.
A senior official with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation says,” Such services for senior citizens should be arranged by the local corporator and the ward committees, we are already overwhelmed.”
The Telangana state government has so far set up a helpline number 14567 with assistance from HelpAge India and Tata Trust and is trying to trace senior citizens who are stuck on roads first.
Speaking to #KhabarLive, the Women and Child Welfare Department Commissioner, D Divya said, “We are trying to first prioritise and get to safety the senior citizens who are on the roads. We are coordinating with HelpAge India and Tata Trust to rescue them, many old age homes are ready to accept them. As for those who are stuck at homes, we are formulating protocols for them,” she adds.
The Women and Child Welfare Department has accommodated 50 senior citizens after rescuing them from the streets, the city police are also rescuing the elderly. However the old age homes that run of donations have not yet been assured state support for those being accommodated.
There are about 140 old age homes in Hyderabad, of which only 80 of them are registered.Across the state there are about 240 unregistered old age homes, none of the districts have a registered old age home in the state, according to HelpAge India.
George who runs Good Samaritan an old age home in Hyderabad says, “Many of the senior citizens who we rescue don’t carry any documents like Aadhaar with them when we find them, so there is no state support. We have to make an Aadhaar and get enrolled with the scheme for the senior citizen to avail the service. It could easily take a month on normal days. At present we have supplies for just 8 days,” he adds.
Volunteers who wish to help senior citizens or cook an extra meal at home to feed the homeless and community animals in their areas can also reach out to Youngistan here or call them on +91 9885342224. #KhabarLive