Elderly throng care meet

Subhendu Bhattacharya, 73, lives with his wife in Ballygunge while their children are in Mumbai and Dubai.

By Subhajoy Roy in Calcutta
  • Published 13.05.18
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Participants at the Royal Ageing meet on Saturday. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta

Calcutta: Subhendu Bhattacharya, 73, lives with his wife in Ballygunge while their children are in Mumbai and Dubai.

Bhattacharya, worried about the implications of one of them falling ill, turned up at a city hotel on Saturday to learn about organisations and companies that work as caregivers and service providers.

The organisers at the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry presents Royal Ageing in association with The Telegraph said more than double the people expected attended the programme.

"I wanted to know about organisations that help people like us during a medical emergency," Bhattacharya said. "I heard of a few but I want to know the cost of subscribing to their services."

The problem is compounded by the fact that there is hardly any government support for the elderly in the city.

Pronam, a police initiative to provide senior citizens living alone with a support system, is a government scheme for the elderly.

About 550-odd people attended the meet.

Prateep Sen, managing director, Tribeca Care, said the organisation had served almost 12,000 people in the past five years.

The elderly can enrol themselves with the company against a fee. The care managers of the company help the elderly visit shopping centres, and banks or post offices to withdraw pensions.

There is also a system to deal with medical emergencies. "We give them a phone through which they can alert us... we reach the home and take them to hospital," Sen said.

The hospital is chosen in advance. During enrolment, an elderly person's children or next of kin have to fill a detailed form, mentioning their choice of hospital.

One of the organisers saw a job opportunity as well. "There are so many elderly people in Calcutta whose children are settled elsewhere," Amit Ghose, the chairman emeritus of the BCC&i's health committee, said. "They need caregivers and this has created jobs for so many people."

Saturday's programme also had a session with doctors. An organiser who is a doctor told Metro that loss of vision, mobility problems and cardiac problems were common among the elderly.

The meet aimed to raise awareness about the need to monitor the health of the elderly so that health problems can be tackled before they require hospitalisation.

The slogan for the programme was "Youth for Seniors" because they need to shoulder the responsibility of caring for the elderly, an organiser said.

The BCC&i has got a booklet printed with information on caregivers, hospitals and what doctors have to say about ailments that are common to the elderly. There's a website, www.royalageing.com, for the elderly, Ghose said. "We will prepare an e-version of the booklet and it will be available on the website within a fortnight."