Beta, please help me cross the road, requests this frail looking senior citizen…
A recent study reported that India has over 10 crore senior citizens and the number is growing steadily keeping pace with the overall population. Pune, once a pensioner’s paradise, also plays home to several thousand senior citizens.
Pune365 spoke to the senior citizens of the city to better understand their concerns and what they expect from the city:
I have been living alone for the past twenty years and it was all fine when I was young, but with the increasing rates of crime and murders of the elderly, am now worried, says Shivaji Patil,
We’re not safe in the city and it is similar to the plight of women who are always at risk. The only difference is that they are attacked for lust and we will be hunted for our money!
The lack of safety for senior citizens has become a major concern and the society has turned a blind eye towards this.
There is no helpline considering these issues for senior citizens in the city. Many citizens in Pune choose to stay alone by choice or because they are forced to and in such cases, there is no one to turn for help in an emergency, Patil adds. Even though there are options to help with medical issues, for example there are now reviews of the best medical alert systems if they are in need of medical assistance. In some countries they provide their elderly citizens with a way of communication with others around them, whether who is a member of their family or someone that may be able to spend a little time with them through public services and speak with them. These countries offer much needed technology such as basic cellphones for seniors and have senior based events that promote interaction for their elderly community.
Maruti Jawade, Senior Citizen says, “Recently I was travelling to Pune Station by Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Limited (PMPML) where I saw an elderly man pleading with the driver to open the front door to let him in but the driver was rude and didn’t open the door.”
The buses are pretty crowded during peak hours, and we generally travel if we have work, otherwise we are happy resting at home.
The bus was full of commuters, thus there was no space to get on from the rear door, and the front door is normally opened for senior citizens, handicapped and pregnant women. Yet, this driver refused.
“The basic rights of the senior citizens are denied to them in so many incidents like this.
I have also seen senior citizens running behind the buses to board them, since the drivers just don’t slow down and stop. The seats which are reserved for senior citizens are often occupied by other young passengers, Jawade adds.
The city is not senior citizen friendly and basic infrastructure is poor and this is true of not only Pune, but our entire country, says Madhukar Ghate, retired government official.
I have not seen many care homes or even public ramps for the elderly citizens. Wheelchair access is also bad which makes it tough. They can have Terry Lifts fitted in their home, and prices can vary when it comes to these so there’s options for every budget, but as soon as they leave the comfort of their own home they’re faced with numerous accessibility challenges.
With progress in medical science, life expectancy is on the rise and it is important to provide for proper infrastructure for the elderly. They need to be given safe access in public road, malls, restaurants and in their own apartment blocks, Ghate adds.
The problems of senior citizens are often ignored in our country and they’re denied even the very basic amenities says Amit Shinde, Software Professional.
The city is vast and we are growing rapidly in every sphere, but in the process, we have lost our moral values towards the elderly.
Lack of awareness among the people about their basic rights is also another major problems, I have seen senior citizens being denied their basic rights of food and medication.
We need to work collectively towards a better, kinder and safer Pune, and this change must begin from us, Shinde adds.
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