Weighed down

A survey of Colony Polyclinic and Research Centre (CPRC) has found that there are 1.48 million senior citizens in the country. Though the majority live with their families, thousands remain uncared for, bereft of any family support, and completely ignored by the society. Sadly, there are just 15 organisations looking after the well-being of old people, and a meagre 1,420 abandoned or homeless senior citizens are getting institutional care. Moreover, most of the 203 senior citizens surveyed across the four districts of Dolakha, Kathmandu, Rasuwa and Chitwan were found to be suffering from diseases like arthritis and cataract.

A 2006 Act ensures social security of the old and the destitute. Likewise, the 10th plan outlines the need for geriatric wards in government hospitals.

The government has also been providing Rs 200 each for Nepalis over 75. But none of these

measures have had the intended effect. The Act is yet to be implemented, geriatric wards for senior citizens remains a distant dream and the monthly stipend is negligible. The soon-to-be-drafted CA constitution should have clear provisions for the elderly folks. Drafting new acts and laws will be no good if the government cannot see to their proper implementation. Again, this calls for political will. The legitimate rights of this neglected group, as every other minority, should be protected.