Elders’ welfare: A mere roadmap on paper?

23 April 2012 07:22 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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I simply fail to understand her statement as on 31 March2011, I attended a National Council of Elders discussion at the Ministry of Social Services on the finalisation of its Action Plan on Ageing, which had 19 strategies grouped under 4 Priority Areas:
[1] Elders and Development
[2] Advancing Age and Wellbeing in old age
[3] Ensuring an enabling and supporting environment and
[4] implementation and follow up.
My Elders ID, issued on15/10/ 2004 states that the holder should be given priorities in the following services:
                  Health Services
                  Transport Services
                  Postal and Pension
                  Banking
                  Police and LegalAdvice
                  Office Work
While the selected areas are important, it is not clear what is implied with regard to some of them and how they may be availed of by an Elder. The feedback the NFOA has had on it is extremely negative, mainly because the end providers do not seem to have been briefed by the Secretariat on their role towards the Elder. Further, though we had been demanding that the card be legalised it only happened when the ID figured in the amendment to The Protection Of Elders Act that year [2011] and the amendment Act also stated that the directives in it and those made by the Minister must be implemented. I trust that penalties will accompany noncompliance.
With 19 Strategies in 4 Priority Areas, by now - one year later – with all hands on the plough, we should have been able to see some good things for Elders and, if everything was implemented, by 2015 we should see a veritable Utopia for Elders.But let us be realistic. Are not some of the strategies listed those which any self-respecting and competent Authority should be doing with or without an Action Plan? e.g. awareness raising, creating data bases and reviewing and re-adjusting them, monitoring activities and results? These surely are the tools of the socio economist and the statistician and we have seen many such Action Plans begetting others in a few years and being repetitive.
Can we instead approach the important task of care and welfare of Elders in a more Elder – centred and meaningful way through which the Elders themselves would feel an immediate and welcome impact? I would suggest we pick just a few strategies and fit them realistically for implementation, first into the remaining months of the year and group others on a priority basis for implementation for the 12 months of each succeeding year till the end of2015, monitoring results as we proceed, so that we should have a positive accumulation of successful implementation of measures that would boost the cause of Elders.
To name some of the key immediately implementable measures:
[1] Accessibility not confined to physical structures but in a wider sense e.g. access to information especially about measures for them
[2] a special scheme of health insurance
[3] a pension/monthly allowance
[4] production of a data base grouping Elders on a knowledge/skills list as well as age: 60-65; 65-70; 70-75; to fit them into some employment/ self-employment to help maintain their mental and physical fitness as well provide them with some finance.
[5]an Emergency fund especially for rescue purposes in case of Elders being abandoned/abused.
We all know that when an architect draws a plan, building results fairly soon as otherwise he will be out of business. But the socio-economists’ and statisticians’ plans tend to be the be all and end all and much of it remains on paper with road maps for non-existent roads!
Instead, let us give elders something tangible rather than “PIE in the SKY”!


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