The Pashupati Bridhashram, the sole government-managed old age home in Kathmandu, is facing a dire shortage of living space. Most of the elderly people who knock its doors are turned back with promises of accommodation should a vacancy open up. To wit: When one of its 230 residents dies. Lack of space and facilities means that even some of its occupants are forced to put up in veranda. Most ashram residents are elderly people without any family and property; with those shunned by their families and the freed jailbirds making up the numbers. Old age and disease leave these people no option but to depend on others for survival. The capacity of 230 is nearly not enough to shelter the increasing number of people seeking accommodation with the ashram.
Increasing population and the young generationâ€™s penchant for nuclear families have resulted in a disproportionate number of elderly people without home. The Maoist insurgency too has played its part in rendering thousands of old people homeless. How a society treats its elderly sends an important message to its youngsters. A caring society fosters reciprocal feelings among them. On the other hand, a generation that is indifferent to its elders can expect the same kind of treatment when it ages. In this light, the government and the private organisations should join hands to help the old and homeless people. Focus should be on increasing both the number and facilities of shelter homes. The government, on its part, should allocate more resources for this noble cause.