Dhaka, Bangladesh
Senior citizens need proper care

Senior citizens need proper care

It sounds good that the elderly people are now euphemistically called senior citizens. This appellation or designation gives at least some sort of respect to the old people, who are subjected often to neglect of the family and society. The tub-thumping leaders in our country loudly say that various initiatives are taken to provide facilities to senior citizens. But those are far from reality. Reports have it that even three years after designating people aged 60 years or above as senior citizens the authorities are taking too long to extend social dignity, security and other facilities to about 1.50crore elderly people. According to a report published very recently in an English daily, the social welfare ministry said that it was preparing a new law like ‘Foundation for the Development of Older Person Act’ to ensure facilities such as food, clothing, communication and treatment for them. The government deserves praise for effort to enact such a law in our welfare-oriented country. But only enactment of law is not enough; it leaves much to be desired as regards proper implementation of the law. Old age allowance was introduced in 1997-1998 fiscal year. Elderly people will soon constitute 20 pc of the country’s total population and taking care of them will pose one of the biggest social, economic and healthcare challenges in near future. The government should, therefore, enact the law for protection of old people from utter neglect and implement the law in right earnest. At present the foot-dragging by the government on the benefits of 1.50crore senior citizens is unacceptable. The aged populations in our country are not getting proper care as they deserve at home since majority of the younger family members remain busy with their overmuch exacting careers. But the old people should not be taken as burden of our society; on the contrary, we must acknowledge their social contribution, in whatever form it might be, and show more humane attitude to them. The old homes in our country have not developed in the way it did in the western world. Too few old homes we have, run with inadequate paraphernalia to give proper care to the old people. There are people among the old who are still capable and their services can be utilized. Government should open more old homes with housing facilities, transport, medical care and other facilities. We know it is a colossal task and the rich should come forward to help establish full-fledged old homes.

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