International Day of the Older Persons: Navigating life as elderly in Mumbai

The UN observed the 33rd Day of the Older Persons on 1st October. In commemoration of the day, we look at some previous works on the theme.

On October 1st 2023, we commemorated the Day of the Older Persons. The United Nations established this observance in 1990 to highlight the important role that older people play in their families, communities, and society at large. Each year, the International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) has a specific theme to focus on. This year’s theme revolved around “Fulfilling the Promises of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Older Persons: Across Generations.”

Objectives of United Nations International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP) 2023

  • Increasing the protection of the human rights of current and future generations of senior citizens worldwide by increasing awareness of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and inspiring pledges from all stakeholders.
  • Discussing and gaining knowledge from intergenerational models for the defence of human rights everywhere
  • Encouraging governments and United Nations entities to reconsider their current practices to integrate a life course approach to human rights in their work and to ensure the active participation of all stakeholders, including civil society, national human rights institutions, and older people themselves, in efforts to strengthen intergenerational solidarity and partnerships.

What should older people have?

  • Older people should have enough food, water, shelter, clothes, and health care through the provision of money, family and community assistance, and self-help.
  • Older people should be able to work or have access to alternative income-generating options.
  • Older people should have access to appropriate educational and training programs.
  • Older people should be allowed to live in situations that are both safe and flexible for their changing needs and abilities

Read More: Watch those links you click: Elderly population most affected by cyber frauds

Challenges faced by senior citizens in Mumbai

Healthcare: Around 70 per cent of senior citizens did not have access to proper healthcare facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic while over 57 per cent faced mental health issues, according to a survey by Max group firm Antara. About 90 per cent of the elderly are from the unorganised sector or abandoned by rich children, without adequate food, clothing or shelter, let alone healthcare or medical treatment. The absence of government-supported social security and geriatric medical services compounds the problem.

Crimes: A total of 614 senior citizens were killed, mostly for financial gain, in Maharashtra during 2016-2019. Of them, 30 were from Mumbai. According to the latest report by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), crime against senior citizens rose by 18% from 2018 to 2019 in Mumbai and by 8% in the state. Going by data for the last four years, on an average, atleast 15 senior citizens fall victim to different types of crime in the state every day. Of this number, four are from Mumbai.

Commute: More than 50,000 citizens travel by local trains in Mumbai everyday. It is difficult for the elderly to find a place to sit as the few seats reserved for senior citizens are occupied by younger persons during peak hours. 

What do senior citizens want?

Pension-related concerns, information about social welfare schemes and assistance in finding daycare centres and doctors were among the top queries raised by senior citizens on the government helpline ‘Elderline’ this year, according to their official data.

Pension-related concerns, information about social welfare schemes and assistance in finding daycare centres and doctors were among the top queries on the helpline ‘Elderline’ . Pic: HelpAge
Pension-related concerns, information about social welfare schemes and assistance in finding daycare centres and doctors were among the top queries on the helpline ‘Elderline’ . Pic: HelpAge India

Last week, HelpAge India  organised a Walkathon as part of the IODP to raise awareness for enhancing the quality of life for ageing women in India. The theme was “Empowering Women: Roles, Resilience & Recognition.” It witnessed enthusiastic participation from senior citizens and students. It served as a platform to address the critical issues faced by elderly women in the country, and several key measures were highlighted. 

Some of these include promoting gainful employment and friendly working environments, raising awareness on the importance of physical and mental well-being, cultivating a culture of empathy and respect for senior citizens, and implementing digital training workshops tailored to the needs of older women.

The necessity of combating elder abuse, promoting redressal mechanisms, and empowering women with knowledge about their rights and entitlement was also addressed.

Helpline numbers for senior citizens
Elderline, operational from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, provides free information, guidance, emotional support, field intervention in cases of abuse, rescues and reunion of homeless elderly driven by values of Consistency, Care, Empathy and Encouragement.
HelpAge offers services such as – rescue of abandoned elders, counseling of those in distress, health care, legal support, information related to services available etc. The Helpline links elders to various institutions such as old age homes, hospitals, police, government and non-governmental organizations.
HELPLINE: 1800-180-1253

Previous Articles

In commemoration of the UNIDOP, we look at some of Citizens Matter’s previous works on the old and elderly.

Why we need to rethink our post-retirement lives

 While retirement means the long-awaited rest after an extensive career for senior citizens, it could mark a decrease in cognitive activity which can lead to an array of ailments such as Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Depression. While a lot of research has gone into the effects of cognitive ageing, very little is being done about how to keep retirees cognitively active. This article looks at measures that can be taken to keep senior citizens cognitively active.

What we need to keep our senior citizens safe, healthy and happy

Raging through 2020 and continuing in the new year as well, the COVID-19 pandemic brought into sharp focus the state of health infrastructure in the country. But apart from that, another issue that came into sharp public focus, after years of neglect, is the plight of senior citizens in our urban settlements. Unable to step out of the house as they came under the vulnerable category, and often with their children living away, they faced serious problems accessing medical care, medicines and sometimes, even essentials. The story shed light on what can be done to keep our senior citizens safe, healthy and happy.

What you should do if you spot elder abuse

A survey found elder abuse to be one of the major concerns in Indian households and old age homes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it reported that 62.1% of the elders polled believed that the pandemic increased the risk of elder abuse. This article is an explainer on what accounts for elder abuse and how to act if you sense elder abuse.

A senior citizen’s guide to claiming maintenance

According to a report published in February 2016 by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the number of senior citizens in the country – those above the age of 60 – has gone up from 7.6 crore in 2001 to 10.3 crore in 2011, a massive 35.5% jump.

In 2007, India enacted The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, with a view to ensure need-based maintenance for parents and senior citizens and their welfare. Based on the information shared by a lawyer, this article talks about some of the salient provisions of the Act that senior citizens in the country must be made aware of.

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