Vimal Chander Joshi, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, June 08, 2010
If you have a compelling desire to care for people who are at the dusk
of their life, or at least empathise with ageing people, then you may
want to explore career opportunities in gerontology (the study of the
social, psychological and biological aspects of ageing).
The National Institute of Social Development (NISD) runs a one-year
postgraduate diploma and six-months certificate programme in geriatric
studies. The diploma course prepares you to provide medical care and
counselling to elderly people in distress. You are also taught to deal
with some aspects of the social development of senior citizens, such
as research methodologies for data collection and policy formulation
to improve conditions at the grassroots level.
NISD is a central government initiative run by the Ministry of Social
Justice and Empowerment under the National Initiative for the Care of
Elderly (NICE) programme and aims to train and build caregiver
capacity for the rising "dependent" population.
"We had initially tied up with around 400 NGOs and we started training
young people to produce trained manpower. Though many of our students
end up working in these organisations, a few have also gone abroad on
scholarships for further studies though the number of such people is
very small," says Sunil Kumar, deputy director, NISD.
Kumar emphasises that the main objectives of the NISD course is to
equip people with the knowledge of elderly health, nutrition,
psychology and to some extent, rehabilitation. "We believe in the
concept of productive ageing, (which seeks to) help the elderly keep
pace with time. We also give 21-day-long IT training to aged people in
several cities," he adds.
Students are prepared for six different papers: gerontology, clinical
geriatric (providing basic healthcare), public policy and planning,
geriatric management (to be able to work in old-age homes),
counselling and research methodology.
"We teach them all aspects of caring for the elderly. They are
equipped to manage an NGO, carry out research, provide basic
healthcare and also to provide counselling to elderly people," says Dr
Anindita S Roy, psychologist and faculty member, NISD.
The course also comprises a project in which students have to make
inferences and reports based on data collection from secondary sources
and other research.
In order to be able to apply for the PG diploma programme, you must be
a fresh graduate from any discipline, though it is better to have some
background in social sciences or psychology. For the certificate
course, you should have passed secondary.
"Once you are eligible, you can appear for an entrance test comprising
general knowledge, maths and English questions," says Poonam Rani,
research officer, NISD.
Interestingly, the course attracts several qualified professionals for
both the programmes. "In my batch, there were three lawyers, two
people from media organisations, and one doctoral student from the
Jawaharlal Nehru University. Though the eligibility criteria is just
tenth pass, I doubt if there was even a single person who was just
tenth-standard pass," says Dr Ashwani Raghav, a physician, who
completed the six-month certificate course from NISD in 2002.
Dr Raghav and a couple of his batchmates started Healing Touch, an NGO
in Delhi which provides psychological support to the aged who have
been harassed by family or society.
"We hold workshops in schools where we invite grandparents and try to
bridge the inter-generational gap. More youngsters should think
seriously about making geriatric care a career option," adds Raghav.
Earn to care
Last date to apply: June 18
Entrance test: July 11
To apply, send demand draft or pay order for Rs 80 drawn in favour of
the director, National Institute of Social Defence, Old Age Care
National Institute of Social Defence, West Block-1,Wing 3, first
floor, RK Puram,
New Delhi - 110066