Regional Conference on Age Care Issues

Nightingales Medical Trust, the designated Regional Resource and Training Centre (RRTC) for Age Care in collaboration with National Institute of Social Defence (NISD) organized a 3days Regional Conference on Age Care Issues from 20thOctober 2016 to 22nd October 2016 at the YMCA , Nrupathunga Road, Bangalore.

The conference which included representatives from the State Governments, NGOs working in the field of age care and Senior Citizens from the 5 Southern States / UT of Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry and Lakshadweep, focused on the effective implementation of the Maintenanceand Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007 and the challenges faced in implementing the State rules with regard to the Tribunals and Welfare schemes for senior citizens.

The chief guest for the inaugural, Mr. Anand Katoch, the Director of National Institute of Social Defence (NISD), New Delhi spoke about the several lacunae’s in the Act. Senior advocate Mr. Shiv Kumar, the Facilitator of the conference, expressed the need to examine the reasons for the limited awareness regarding the Act and explore effective processes. Dr. Indira Jai Prakash, Retd. Professor from the Department of Psychology, Bangalore University pointed out that inter-generational harmony is also a key factor in ensuring the well-being of senior citizens, which however, is not touched upon by the Act.

Mr. Govindaraju, Director, Dept. for the Empowerment of Differently Abled and Senior Citizens, Govt. of Karnataka listed out the various schemes that were introduced by the department for the welfare of senior citizens; a representative of the Andhra Pradesh Govt. highlighted the functioning of the Tribunals in AP and the challenges faced by these tribunals.

Mr.R. Ramachandran, the Chief Executive Officer of KoppalZilla Panchayat shared his experiences in implementing the Act when he was posted as Assistant Commissioner and the lacunaes in the Act that must be looked into for better and faster results. Presentations were also made on the challenges faced by NGOs and senior citizens in their respective States and the suggestions that are to be made to the Government for the effective implementation of the Act.

The conference concluded with a discussion on the recommendations that are to be made to the Central and State Governments with specific reference to Schemes and the Tribunals. These recommendations ranged from the requirement for exclusive or full time Tribunals to the need for including elder care as a part of the educational curriculums at all levels. Programs for increasing awareness and sensitization about the Act and Elder issues in corporate sectors and public utility centers were also stressed upon.