Udupi: September 22, 2015: Despite persistent demands for a government day-care centre for senior citizens in Udupi for the last three years, there has been little progress on the issue.
There are about 85,000 senior citizens in Udupi district. Of them, only 11,500 senior citizens had identity cards provided to them by the Department for Empowerment of Senior Citizens. However, it is not mandatory for senior citizens to have the cards. Government day-care centres are already functioning in many places in the State. As per government guidelines, a day-care centre should be run by a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and cater to the needs of about 150 senior citizens. A minimum of 50 senior citizens should visit the centre daily. The government would provide Rs. 11.2 lakh annually to the NGO for running the centre.
According to A.P. Kodancha, President of Udupi Senior Citizens Association, a day care centre was becoming a necessity as both the husband and wife went to work and senior citizens had to stay alone at home, he said.
A day-care centre would function from morning to evening. This would allow people to leave the senior citizens at the centre in the morning and collect them after their work. At the centre, the senior citizens would be provided food, medical facility and other recreational activities. “The idea is to keep the senior citizens busy. Since many senior citizens are retired persons, their skills could also be utilised,” said Niranjan Bhat, District Officer for Empowerment of Differently-Abled Persons and Senior Citizens. “All other districts except Udupi and Ramanagara have day care centres,” he added.
The Udupi Senior Citizens’ Association is not only demanding the day-care centre, but even offering to run it. A.P. Kodancha, association president, said that the association had already two buildings to house the centre – at the Mahatma Gandhi School and at the Old DDPI Office. “These buildings are easily accessible to senior citizens,” he said. We are ready to run it, he added.