HelpAge India, a secular, non-profit organisation, championing the cause of elder care in India reached its 35 year milestone this month. A journey which started from a rented two-room office, targeting a population of 33 million elderly, has now become an operation spread across 26 states with 90 project offices in India aiming to reach out to a constantly growing elderly population of 100 million. Sharing his thoughts at the occasion, Mr. Mathew Cherian, CEO HelpAge India, said, “While we are proud of bringing the issue of elder care to the forefront and leading the way through some great project interventions, we realize our job is nowhere near done. Of the 100 million elderly, 55 million still sleep hungry and 30 million live alone. By 2030, we expect this population to reach the 200 million mark, which clearly tells us we are only at the tip of the iceberg”.
Launch of Book on 35 years of Agecare in India
Commemorating the occasion, HelpAge India launched a book which documents the evolution of elder care in India. “Out of the shadows into light: The saga of age care in India” charts the story of a movement that has come of age. From establishing the concept of Elder Rights in India to achieving landmark milestones, this book is an attempt to provide insights into how best we can rise as a society to the challenges that lie ahead in providing our elders a dignified, fulfilling life. Also enumerated in this book are experiences gathered from over 3,000 service projects handled by HelpAge India in the last three decades, aimed at helping seniors live a life of dignity. Some of these include the Ophthalmic Care Program, Mobile Medicare Units, Income Generation Schemes, Disaster Mitigation, Support a Gran, Advocacy programs, Student Action for Value Education (SAVE), Palliative Care programs and Elder Helplines. In the area of Healthcare outreach alone, HelpAge has achieved some phenomenal results: 1.2 million free treatments have been conducted, 840 community locations/gram panchayats covered in 26 states, 20 community health clinics operational, 281 professional health team members on board, 24, 000 cataract eye surgeries organized, 7,500 cancer patients helped, 1,500 Alzheimer’s patients supported, 20,000 elders covered through health camps. This book goes on to highlight some such initiatives that have shaped this cause and also areas that society need to work on in the future.
Conclave of Senior Thought Leaders
Gracing an event organized to mark this occasion, noted thought-leaders shared their vision on a how a caring society may evolve. The galaxy of speakers include Dr. V. Mohini Giri, Social Activist, Writer, Scholar and the Chairperson of the Drafting Committee on the Revised National Policy on Elder Persons , Mr. Vinod Mehta, editorial chairman of Outlook magazine, Sir Mark Tully, the former Bureau Chief of BBC, New Delhi, Mr. Pavan K Varma, Author and Diplomat, Cultural Adviser to the Chief Minister of Bihar, Ram Jethmalani, eminent lawyer and politician, Mr. N. K. Singh, politician, economist and Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha shared their perspective on the desired response of society to eldercare in India.
Launch of the Help Unite Generations (HUG) campaign
In yet another significant step forward, HelpAge India, on this occasion launhed their “Help Unite Generations” HUG campaign. This campaign aims at bridging the gap between the youth and the elderly. Using this initiative as a means, HelpAge will be encouraging the Youth to volunteer their time for the elderly. Through this program, a HUG volunteer would be able to contribute his or her time towards the cause of elder care in many different ways. From simply spending some quality time chatting with an elderly, to helping them with small errands or simply calling on them to check on how they were doing.
About HelpAge India
HelpAge India is a leading charitable organization working with and for older people in India for the past 34 years. It runs age care programmes throughout the country & advocates strongly for the cause of the elderly and fights for their rights. It also advises & facilitates the Government in formation of policy related to the elderly.
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