“My children are settled and working in good companies. They left me because they are busy with their lives. I cannot digest the fact that my closest sister passed away. I feel that I’m completely alone now,” says 80-year-ol, Parukutty (80), an inmate of the destitute ward of Ernakulam General Hospital, in tears when she talks of her family and her memories. She clings to the hope that someday she will return home and play with her grandchildren. At times, she walks around the room searching for her grandchildren, thinking that it is her home.
Unnikrishnan from Guruvayur, who is in his 70s, is a bold and pleasant personality. After undergoing a hip surgery, he has not been able to walk or sit properly. But he enjoys the ambience of the ward as he has friends of his same age next to his own bed. Having never married and devoting his life to the welfare of his family, it was his fall that made one thing clear to him, he has no one.
Almost all the inmates have been deserted by their close family and relatives but they still hope that their dear ones will accept them back into their homes.
The ward has separate sections for male and female inmates and proper facilities are provided for them. Most confined patients are males and females are around 10 in number.
“A few patients are construction workers from different states and have serious injuries, but their employers have not taken their case into account. This is because many workers are not legally registered and have no proof to claim their identity or background,” said Biju Mathew, Kerala state coordinator, HelpAge India.
Brother Peter, supervisor of the destitute ward at the hospital, said: “Individuals don’t want to spend time with parents or grandparents or take care of them, instead they push them out of their homes.”
Dr. Hanish M. M., additional resident medical officer, said that the funds come from charity, while other provisions such as medicines and surgeries are provided by the hospital itself. If there is a shortage of funds, patients are shifted to Kottayam Medical College.
This article appeared first in Times of India here.