The meager amount of funds fail to solve the problems of old age homes in Chennai
The twilight years can be the most beautiful times of a life. Even though there are many destitute women and men waiting for a respectable farewell in Chennai, a home to 12-16 percent of its population above 60, yet the Tamil Nadu government has failed to provide any fully owned government old age home. While there are no government-owned old age homes, the partly funded old age homes receive an amount which is far less than their expenditures.
The old age home scheme sponsored by the state under the Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme Department is in all districts of Tamil Nadu provides Rs 2 lakh per year per old age home which is not sufficient as per the expenditures of these old age homes. The scheme provides grant only to those old age homes which have strength of at least 40 inmates aged above 60 years and belong to a category of destitute below poverty line.
Old age homes are increasingly becoming the last resort of the elderly in Chennai. While some are shunned or abandoned by their families there are some childless people who after the death of their spouse prefer to stay in old age homes. Thus many senior citizens face the prospect of a lonely death with staff having to attend the funeral proceedings. “It was the first death in Vishranti. We waited for the family to come but they didn’t turn up. That was the first pyre I’d lit. Since then I’ve lit many,” said Mrs.Savithri Vaithi who is the founder and chairperson of Vishranti, service arm of Monday Charity Club which covers destitute women with a blanket of comfort and security, in an interview to The Hindu. Continue reading