Bhubaneswar: The elderly, who often see a transition in their emotional and physical well-being in their twilight years, are often wary about the availability of facilities for the aged but lack of awareness often marks the process.
With several schemes and amenities are available from the government ranging from counseling, geriatric care, day-care services, shelter homes and others, many still find themselves grappling with problems in their silver years due to lack of communication and awareness. While senior citizens are well-versed with pension schemes, many are still not aware of the facilities offered by the state government or the Centre for them. The state government, in 2017, came up with a dedicated scheme for the elderly named ‘Abadana’ after the formulation of the Odisha State Policy for the Senior Citizens in 2016.
“Under the Abadana scheme and many other related schemes for the elderly, we try to ensure their well- being. While many of the provisions of the scheme have materialised, we are working on expanding the amenities given to them,” Bhaskar Sarma, Secretary of the state department of Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD) told Orissa POST.
Sarma said that the senior citizens in the state get pensions of Rs 500 per month under the Madhu Babu Pension Yojana (MBPY) meant for the senior citizens while a total of 52 shelter homes spread across the state, with a capacity of housing 25 inmates, cater to the needs of the elderly.
According to the officials of the SSEPD, the department is also working hard to integrate the entire existing infrastructure in all districts. The department also claims that a dedicated helpline for the elderly— 18003457150—is available for them for counseling and grievance redressal. However, the beneficiaries of the schemes, said that lack of publicity of such pro-elder facilities deprives them from reaching out for it. “Many of us know about the pensions and shelter homes but beyond that we do not know the facilities that the government provides senior citizens. The government needs to publicise such schemes to help the elderly avail of the services in times of need,” said Purnamasi Behera, a senior citizen from the state.