The helpline receives 10-15 calls a day from elderly people seeking
help with civic issues, information about government schemes or with
complaints about harassment by children and neighbours
By Dilip Patel
Posted On Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 02:51:11 AM
The state government has decided to set up four homes for senior
citizens in the state at a cost of Rs 32 lakh
We usually consult our family elders for guidance when faced with a
dilemma. But who do the senior citizens turn to, in times of need,
especially when living alone or being neglected by their children?
To address this concern, the state social welfare department started a
helpline for senior citizens on October 1. The helpline, run by the
state IT department, is receiving very good response from the elderly,
Social Welfare Minister Fakirbhai Vaghela said, "Our state has 40 lakh
citizens aged 60 and above. The helpline (18002335500) receives 10-15
calls a day. The calls are from senior citizens who are living alone
or are being harassed by their children, neighbours or
daughters-in-law, seeking help. Some call up to get information about
government schemes for senior citizens."
The complaints are diverted to the social welfare department, where
the officers take up individual cases and call up the senior citizens
to solve their problems.
"In case of crime-related complaints, social welfare officials
accompany the citizens to the police station to help them register
their complaint. If their children are not ready to keep them, we make
arrangements for their stay at a senior citizen's home," Vaghela
New old age homes to be set up
The state government has decided to set up four senior citizens' homes
in the state at a cost of Rs 32 lakh, including one in Gandhinagar.
Sources said NGOs will be given grants of Rs 600 per senior citizen if
they are willing to run these homes.
At present, there are 145 NGOs working for senior citizens in the
state and 24 such homes run but the state government. In case of
public-private partnership, the government is read to provide land to
set up such homes.
Vaghela said, "Orphaned or homeless children may also be housed in
senior citizen homes. The children, who don't have parents or
guardians, can learn values from the elderly. The senior citizens in
turn will enjoy the company and affection of these kids."
The social welfare department is also planning to adopt the children
of HIV-positive couples and keep them in children's homes, if their
parents so desire. There are currently 1.44 lakh AIDS patients in the