Monday, February 20, 2017

Senior Citizens and Union Budget 2017-18

Senior Citizens and Union Budget 2017-18

This year’s budget was majorly a disappointment as far as senior citizens are concerned. None of the appeals made through several channels to the Finance Minister have been heard. We had expectations regarding increase in minimum income that would be tax free, increase in FD interest rates, medical / health facilities through innovative insurance schemes, furth
er concessions in train travel etc—all these with special reference to the elderly population. None of them have been heeded to.

However a few benefits that have a consoling effect, have been indicated as follows:

1.      Senior citizens will be provided with Aadhaar based smart cards containing health information. It will be useful in enjoying financial benefits like collecting old age pension via digital payment system using biometric options – finger print recognition. To begin with this will be tested in 15 districts in 2017-18.
2.      A new version of Varishta Pension Bima Yojana will be introduced which will be administered through LIC. This scheme will ensure a guaranteed return of 8% interest for 10 years, thus protecting you from market fluctuations (reduction) of FD interest rates. A maximum of Rs 7.5 Lakhs would be accepted.
3.      Service charge on E-tickets bought through IRCTC has been withdrawn. Presently it is Rs 20 for e-ticket for second or sleeper class and rs 40 for all other upper classes.
4.      A great thrust has been made on digital (cashless) transactions. If seniors can take to using smart phones, lot of physical work like going to bank etc can be reduced.
5.      On basic income tax slabs, tax rate for 2.5 Lakhs-5 Lakhs, tax has been reduced to 5% from 10%. Rebate under 87A is reduced to rs 2500 and it is available for income up to 3.5 Lakhs only. If you take into account a deduction of 1.5 Lakhs under 80C then inome upto 4.5 lakhs is exempted from any tax.
6.      Following table gives details of tax slabs for 2017-18



Sunday, February 19, 2017

Golden Oak – A Senior Citizens Home for Dementia care

Golden Oak – A Senior Citizens Home for Dementia care

Today I was happy to participate in the inauguration of a Senior Citizens Home for patients suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It is the first of its kind in Telangana and AP as it exclusively devoted to dementia care. It is a thirty bedded assisted living facility offering individualized / personalized care that includes: Diet plan, medical supervision,  physiotherapy, frequent outings, interaction with family members over Skype etc. Dormitory, single bed, twin sharing accommodations (AC) are available. Families may leave their elderly for periods of a month or three months or for longer terms like a whole year. This will be useful as a respite for care givers or perhaps when you need to go abroad for any reason.

Golden Oak is located in Malkaram Village in Shamshabad  (RR District) some 40 KM from Secunderabad. Within a km from here is also located Asha Jyothi Psychiatric Rehabilitation centre, already functioning for several years. Both are units of reputed ASHA hospital for psychiatry in Banjara Hills.

The whole facility was formally inaugurated by Dr Raghu Rami Reddy; Various sections were inaugurated by other dignitaries, one of them – a multipurpose lecture hall – by me, as well.
Dr K Chandra Sekhar, MD of Asha Hospital,(whom I know from the initial days of ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan Chapter) welcomed all and gave an overview of the project. It has twin objectives: 1.Assisted living and specialized care for elderly with dementia who actually going through a second childhood . 2. Respite care for family members / caregivers. The chief guest spelt out why such a facility has become a necessity now, emphasizing that caring persons with dementia is a divine service.  Mr Gopala Rao, who was instrumental in making this dream a reality, was felicitated.

Dr Amulya Rajan gave a presentation on the need for respite care in dementia. Caring for a dementia patient can be very exhausting; As far as the DIL is concerned, it is taken for granted that it is her duty. Making choices on behalf of such patients who are dependent and vulnerable is fraught with problems. Ms Saadiya Huzurk made a presentation on Person centered care. Essentially she clarified that each AD patient is unique and no single formula will work. Therefore changes in approach and delivery of care needed. There are always surprises and shocks to face and handle.

Mr Sasidharan, GM, Asha Hospital proposed a vote of thanks. We were treated to scrumptious lunch. We had plenty of time to explore all sections of the facility, Services will start by March.
Charges for various offerings are being worked out. I liked the specialized comfortable furniture with decor, self explaining signs on shelves / storage, senior friendly fixtures in toilets, spacious TV hall, hygenic Dining Hall etc.    

Contact: 040-66752222 (Monday to Saturday 10 am to 5 pm)