IIT study for elderly well-being
Apartment blocks functioning as joint families, well-equipped ambulance services, plumbers and electricians on call, affordable private healthcare – these were some of the suggestions that came up at an IIT-Kharagpur workshop on improving the quality of life for senior citizens.
The workshop held at the institute’s Calcutta campus in Salt Lake on Saturday is part of a study on enhancing the well-being of elderly in residential neighbourhoods.
The participants spoke about changes in the social and physical infrastructure of neighbourhoods. “Younger senior citizens can look after the older in housing complexes and the entire housing society can function like a joint family,” said Sanghamitra Basu, one of the principal investigators of the study and an associate professor in the department of architecture and regional planning at IIT.
She also called for ramps in public spaces, handrails to support, and larger fonts in road signage.
The study is of great significance to Calcutta, a virtual old-age home with more and more young people leaving the city. “About 15 per cent (of India’s 100 million senior citizens) live alone or with their spouse in Bengal,” said Shirsha Guha, managing director of Deep Probeen Porisheba, an organisation that provides care at home for the elderly.
A survey conducted among 150 persons aged 55 to 80 and above in Salt Lake, Behala Parnasree and Kasba revealed a wish list that includes libraries, parks with accessible pathways and tie-ups with diagnostic centres for home collection of blood samples.
Senior citizens who attended the workshop too voiced their needs. “We want better transport services as getting a taxi is tough,” said Kartik Mukherjee, 84, of Salt Lake.
IIT Kharagpur will share the recommendations with the government after the study is completed.