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New report highlights challenges facing older people

Graphic: Older woman sits by herself in her local village

The National Human Rights Commission has recommended the government take steps to improve the quality of services provided to older people in Nepal.

A study by the National Human Rights Commission shows that older people are often forced into home for the elderly following the death of their spouse.

"They are forced to take refuge in elderly homes due to a lack of care by his/her sons, daughters-in-law, grandsons and granddaughters, among others," the report states.

The report warned that weakening ties within extended families were likely to add to the challenges facing older people.

As many as 87 elderly homes are in operation in 45 districts and 22 others are under construction. Many elderly homes take care of older people free of charge.

A total of 1,577 older people were living in elderly homes as of 30 September 2018. Of this, 965 are women and 612 men.

The NHRC has recommended that the government develop robust policies and programs to ensure that the government investment reaches older people in an equitable manner.

In its report, the NHRC found that the distribution of grants was not transparent and that elderly homes do not meet the standards set out by the Regulations of Elderly Homes and Daycare Centres.

"Though there is no lack of resources for senior citizens to live and have two square meals a day due to support from Samaritans, they do not have proper access to medical and health services. The elderly homes also do not have adequate caretakers," the report said

Some older people living in elderly homes are unable to access government allowances because they lack citizenship certificates or because of procedural complexities.

The NHRC has recommended that the government operate elderly homes and daycare centres under the responsibility of relevant local authorities, set up geriatric ward in every hospital; ensure access to health workers and medicines in elderly homes with more than 10 senior citizens; provide basic services to elderly homes; and distribute identification cards to senior citizens.

Date: 28 October 2018

Source: Himalayan Times

Image credits

  1. Older woman sits by herself in her local village - Mokhamad Edliadi/CIFOR, Flickr; http://bit.ly/2DKHpDG