Over the years, the government has launched various schemes and policies for older persons. These schemes and policies are meant to promote the health, well-being and independence of senior citizens around the country. Some of these programmes have been enumerated below.
The central government came out with the National Policy for Older Persons in 1999 to promote the health and welfare of senior citizens in India. This policy aims to encourage individuals to make provision for their own as well as their spouse’s old age. It also strives to encourage families to take care of their older family members. The policy enables and supports voluntary and non-governmental organizations to supplement the care provided by the family and provide care and protection to vulnerable elderly people. Health care, research, creation of awareness and training facilities to geriatric caregivers have also been enumerated under this policy. The main objective of this policy is to make older people fully independent citizens.
This policy has resulted in the launch of new schemes such as-
- Strengthening of primary health care system to enable it to meet the health care needs of older persons
- Training and orientation to medical and paramedical personnel in health care of the elderly.
- Promotion of the concept of healthy ageing.
- Assistance to societies for production and distribution of material on geriatric care.
- Provision of separate queues and reservation of beds for elderly patients in hospitals.
- Extended coverage under the Antyodaya Scheme with emphasis on provision of food at subsidized rates for the benefit of older persons especially the destitute and marginalized sections.
The Integrated Programme for Older Persons (External website that opens in a new window) is a scheme that provides financial assistance up to 90 per cent of the project cost to non-governmental organizations or NGOs as on March 31, 2007. This money is used to establish and maintain old age homes, day care centres, mobile Medicare units and to provide non-institutional services to older persons. The scheme also works towards other needs of older persons such as reinforcing and strengthening the family, generation of awareness on related issues and facilitating productive ageing.
Another programme of the government is the Scheme of Assistance to Panchayati Raj Institutions (External website that opens in a new window) voluntary organisations and self help groups for the construction of old age homes and multi service centres for older persons This scheme provides a one time construction grant.
Central Government Health Scheme (External website that opens in a new window) provides pensioners of central government offices the facility to obtain medicines for chronic ailments up to three months at a stretch.
The National Mental Health Programme (External website that opens in a new window) focuses on the needs of senior citizens who are affected with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, Parkinson’s disease, depression and psycho geriatric disorders.