Kathmandu, April 24

Promotion of moral education is essential for social transformation by implanting moral values so that the current trend of sending senior citizens to shelter homes could be reduced, suggests a study by the National Human Rights Commission.

According to a report titled ‘Monitoring Synopsis of the Senior Citizens’ Care Centres-2019,’ various factors are responsible for pushing senior citizens into shelter homes. Some of the major factors include family disputes and disintegration, loss of moral education in the society and lack of understanding their responsibility among new generation.

Most of the senior citizens who take refuge in shelter homes are victimised by familial, psychological and social problems and physical illness in one way or the other.

Disability due to the old age, lack of proper food, problems in health, lack of love and affection, lack of access to citizenship certificates by some and compulsion to lead an alienated life were found to be the problems of the senior citizens during monitoring of shelter homes, according to NHRC report.

As many as 141 elderly homes are in operation in 64 districts. Many elderly homes take care of senior citizens free of charge. A total of 1,577 senior citizens were living in elderly homes, as per records in mid-October 2018. Of them, 965 are women and 612 men. Based on its study, the rights body has recommended the government to ensure proper sanitation and a senior citizen-friendly environment in shelter homes. “The updated record of number of senior citizens coming to shelter homes, number of deaths in shelter homes, repatriation and rehabilitation of senior citizens should be maintained systematically,” it said.

The NHRC has also stressed on the need to ascertain whether old age homes are earthquake resistant or not and whether or not they are built in accordance with the National Building Code. “The problems faced by some of the senior citizens at old age homes should be resolved and their rehabilitation prioritised since some of the senior citizens have their own families,” it suggested.

According to the rights body, health of every senior citizen should be routinely checked. It urged the government to make a provision of free health services at public hospitals for senior citizens living at shelter homes and for a 50 per cent discount at private hospitals. “Rising number of prisons and elderly homes is an indication of failure of a country.

One of the basic principles of human rights is that each senior citizen should have the right to live in his/her own home while anyone with no kin to assist him/her should be cared for by the government,” the rights body suggested.