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Monday, August 31, 2009

Old Age,New Job

When we call to fix an interview with her, Shobha Mathur, 64, is predictably online. You can tell by the tone of her voice that she is busy and seldom brooks interruptions. Yet, if you persist, you will, in time, hear her chuckle and call herself a "computer potato".

Shobha Mathur is a homemaker. She is also an educator, an Internet geek and a woman with very little patience for the word `cannot'. Keen on "getting some work done" she became a volunteer with Karmayog, a non-profit organisation, to create content for e-books. And has helped create a Standard V English textbook for disadvantaged school children and several online modules for senior citizens (both available on the Karmayog website (www.karmayog.org/hobbies). She also regularly contribute to Silver Innings (http://www.silverinnings.com/ )

Mathur's commitment to spreading knowledge -- she recently did a piece on how senior citizens can surf the Net safely -- has helped many. But she'd sooner direct you to her 83-year-old neighbour, Suhasini Khosla, who volunteers at a school for slum children, than accept any praise for her own work.

Khosla, who has known Mathur for over 13 years, brushes away such comparison. "She writes the books, I teach them," she says with a disarming smile.
Frail yet remarkably active, Khosla has taught Maths, English and Hindi for the Asha Kiran charitable trust since 1999. Every morning at 7.30, before the nearby shops open, children aged 4 to 14 gather on a pavement for lessons and breakfast. Four other teachers, including an 84-year old freedom fighter who only goes by her first name, Sukanya, assist Khosla.

Mansukhlal Ruparelia may have a relatively tame past, but the 76-yearold is well known among his peers for his crusade against the apathy of the BMC and the state government. Since his retirement from the Indian Railways Personnel Services in 1992 Ruparelia has fought to get more buses added on certain routes in Mira Road and Thane for the benefit of senior citizens in the locality. He has taken up the issue of separate queues, again for senior citizens, with Maharashtra's chief postmaster general, and goaded the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation to carry out repair work on roads and streetlights. At present, Ruparelia is fighting for the implementation of the National Policy on Older Persons issued by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in 1999. But his one effort that perhaps spreads the most cheer is his Laughter Club for the elderly, in Mira Road.He is also active with local Senior Citizens Association in Mira Road and with Silver Inning Foundation.

For Mathur, Khosla, Sukanya and Ruparelia, a retired life means more than marking the day by meal timings and TV programmes--there is a lot of work still left to be done, and they are more than willing to do it. Some volunteers, like Sheela Chitnis (67), currently the national secretary of the notfor-profit Multiple Sclerosis Society of India, are driven by their own circumstances and want to ensure others don't face what they did.

Others, like Yashwant Govind Deshpande (70), an honorary social worker associated with Sushrushra Hospital, Dadar, simply see this work as part of their daily schedule, like the early morning cup of tea and hour of yoga. Deshpande is involved in the hospital's community outreach programme and helps organise blood donation camps in various city colleges.

"I wanted to make sure other caregivers didn't go through what I did,"
says Chitnis, whose husband was a multiple sclerosis patient. Problems of money, expensive medication and free physiotherapy sessions were overcome with ideas that still have Chitnis shaking her head in disbelief.
Whether it was approaching pharmaceutical companies and "telling them to have a heart" or creating a certificate of merit for students of physiotherapy who would treat multiple sclerosis patients for free, Chitnis and her team figured it out.

"If you have to," she says, "you do it."

By Dhamini Ratnam

Courtsey: Hindustan Times dt 30th August 2009 ,Mumbai Edition http://epaper.hindustantimes.com/ArticleImage.aspx?article=30_08_2009_002_003&kword=&mode=1

Silver Inning Foundation is proud to have two of its important volunteers Mansukhlal Ruparelia and Shobha Mathur featured in this article and this is one of the Advocacy ways to highlight the issue of Elderly.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Seniors at Home in Co-Housing

Annie Russell lives alone but not in solitude.

While she was laid up for almost nine months by an injured knee, neighbors checked in on her regularly. They brought her ice packs, fetched water and did her grocery shopping.
Twice a week year-round, everyone in Russell's community is assured dinner with friends in the large common house of Silver Sage Village in Boulder, Colo. It's a potluck of sorts. Residents can cook the meal together in a communal gourmet kitchen.

"If somebody just wants a place to live and doesn't want to commune with their neighbors, this is not for them," says Russell, 68.

Projects such as Silver Sage are called co-housing. European-inspired housing built around a common area and a social compact that all residents agree to, co-housing has existed on a small scale in the USA for years. Now, the concept is coming to senior housing, a trend supported by advocates who favor independent living for the old.

The oldest of 79 million Baby Boomers turn 63 this year, and they are "not interested in what their parents had in terms of assisted care, wasting away in a private house or nursing home," says California architect Charles Durrett, author of The Senior Cohousing Handbook.

Pioneered in Denmark

There are only three senior co-housing developments in the USA — compared with 250 built since 1985 in Denmark, a country that has fewer people than the Atlanta metropolitan area.

The first U.S. project opened in Davis, Calif., in 2004. At another in Abingdon, Va., members of The ElderSpirit Community at Trailview believe that spiritual growth is vital in the later stages of life. They vow to help each other and adopt a simple lifestyle. "We better come up with new ideas on how to better accommodate ourselves," says Durrett, who has designed about 50 co-housing developments for all ages.

He hopes it will be soon. More than 20 people from as far as North Carolina attended a senior co-housing workshop he conducted in Boulder last month. A dozen bookstores have invited Durrett to book signings.

"It's very interesting niche housing," says Elinor Ginzler, senior vice president for livable communities at AARP. "It's absolutely an option that should be out there and available. We need as many different kinds of choices as the imagination can bring."

Independent living for the elderly reduces dependence on social services and is a primary goal of most organizations for the aged. "The Danes proved it," says Jim Leach, president of Wonderland Hill Development, the company behind Silver Sage, where he lives. "If you house people that way and let them age together, they not only live longer, they live healthier and cost a lot less."

'Like an extended family'

Think '60s communes meet retirement villages, a description possibly off-putting to some but appealing to others. The key: Residents help design their community and decide what they want it to be. "We do all the management ourselves for the community, and everybody is involved in some way," Leach says. "It becomes a little more like an extended family."

He has built co-housing projects for 20 years. Until recently, they have targeted mostly families.

"There was some resistance in the past to having an exclusive senior community," Leach says. They're gaining in popularity now because they allow residents to shape how they want to live when they're old. Homeowners can hire a caregiver who lives in the common house and tends to all the residents.

"You can come up with a lot of agreements from a social point of view," Durrett says. "What I'll do if you get sick. You can give each other permission to care for each other."

Residents at Silver Sage have their own units — 16 duplexes and attached homes on 1 acre. The homes are somewhat smaller to allow more space for the common house, guest rooms for visitors and gardens.

"Three plagues of aging are isolation, boredom and helplessness," says resident Arthur Okner, 66.

He has no fear of that at Silver Sage. When he had a health issue that took him to the emergency room, "immediately people were checking on me."

Okner says senior co-housing is an alternative to institutional care. "Graceful aging belongs to people who say to themselves: 'I'm going to age, I'm not going to stay the way I am now and I'm prepared for it,' " he says. "We keep each other out of the old-age nursing home as long as is humanly possible."


Who Cares About Elder Abuse In India?

Prema's name translates as 'loved one'. But in Prema's case, her name is a misnomer. Far from being loved, at her advanced age she finds herself working endlessly for the young woman her husband brought into their home as his new 'wife'.

Prema, a homemaker who lives near Chandigarh, is in her late-60s. She was around 53 when her husband got inclined towards another younger woman. At first, her husband was indifferent towards her and but this has turned to total neglect now.

Her situation is unusual, but it does fall in the category of "elder abuse", a situation in which older people are subjected to abuse and neglect within their families and communities. On June 15, the world observes Elder Abuse Awareness Day, yet people like Prema continue to suffer neglect and abuse.

It was in the mid-1980s that gerontological research, especially in the UK and US, began to focus on elder abuse. But more than three decades later, it remains an unaddressed concern in India, characterised by a lack of conceptual and definitional clarity. Since this crime is greatly under-reported, there is also a conspicuous absence of relevant data on it. The situation is compounded by the fact that not all situations of elder abuse fit neatly into the existing legal categories. Consequently, elder abuse as a social issue or as one that is relevant to public health figures very inadequately in the public sphere. This has resulted in the underlying causes of abuse - which could in turn have helped in developing appropriate interventions to address it - remaining unidentified.

Yet, there is empirical evidence to suggest that in India incidents of abuse and neglect of older people are increasing by the day, both within families and institutions, and that it prevails across classes, castes and religions. Reports of such abuse have come in from every state in the country and it takes place in both rural and urban settings.

What is a particularly disquieting trend is the vulnerability of ageing women to oppression in various forms. Given existing structures of gender discrimination, women run a greater risk than men of becoming victims of material exploitation, financial deprivation, property grabbing, abandonment, verbal humiliation, emotional and psychological torment. When they fall seriously ill, it is more likely than not, that it is the elderly women in the family who will be denied proper health care. There is also a greater tendency to dismiss the gendered aspects of elder abuse. They rarely come to light. This is because such attacks are made invisible by the belief that they are "internal" or "domestic" matters that need to be sorted out by the concerned individuals and not one that can be addressed publicly. There is also a widespread understanding that the neglect, deprivation and marginalisation of older women are the normal consequences of ageing.

The plight of young widows has been well-documented and commented upon in the country, but what has been overlooked are the traumas they undergo as a result of ageing. Already marginalised, the hardships they undergo due to age are never adequately realised and their need for more resources to meet their deteriorating health is invariably overlooked. It is unfortunate that even organisations involved in women's activism have paid insufficient attention to this helpless and hapless section of the population. In fact, women's organisations have so far tended to focus more on the dilemmas of middle-aged women who have to balance their own personal and career needs with the demands of looking after both the young and older generations within their families.

The research that I have personally conducted as a gerontologist has been revealing. I have come across women who have been hit, or more specifically slapped, by their sons, daughters-in-law, daughters and husbands. Some older women have told me that they have had things thrown at them when they have not done something according to the desires of family members. They have been pushed around or restrained from doing something they had wanted to do, whether it is cooking, housekeeping, or participating in activities outside the home. Many have reported being spat upon while some have been falsely framed for dowry harassment. But the most common abuse these women face is being denied independent social and economic resources. Most of them carry on doing the back breaking domestic chores that they have done all their lives. The luxury of a little leisure, a little care, is something that has always eluded them.

While it is difficult to accurately measure the extent of the problem on a national scale, given the fact that most families deny that such abuse takes place within the four walls of their homes, we do know that the number of older people in our midst is growing. Current estimates put the 60-plus population at around 90 million and India is projected to have a population of 142 million older people by 2020. Given this demographic reality, what kind of action can the country take at the individual and societal level to alleviate abuse and neglect? How can we generate thought and action from the health, welfare and criminal justice perspectives, which could contribute to a life free of violence, mistreatment and neglect for our elderly? How can we ensure greater acknowledgement and awareness of the need for older men and women to live a life of dignity and respect?

Some argue that a good legal regime will help victims of abuse and neglect among the elderly. India, like many other countries in the world, has adult protection provisions similar to those in Europe, the UK, Canada, South Africa and USA. But will an act like The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 prove a deterrent to abuse? The problem here is that senior citizens, especially women, do not actively seek justice on issues like these. There is a need to raise public awareness on the issue and set up fast-track systems that will enable older persons to access justice more easily.

For me, an important intervention strategy is for everyone, particularly women, to start preparing for old age even when they are relatively young. It is essentially that each individual understands the legal, social and financial factors that shape their lives throughout their life span, and build the necessary support networks. This will go a long way in helping them take the necessary practical steps to secure their future and protect their rights, even as they advance in years.

By Dr.Mala Shankardass,Chair for India and Asia of the International Network for Prevention of Elder Abuse

and newsblaze.com

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Join Short term training course in Social Work for Senior Citizens

The College of Social Work, Nirmala Niketan has been involved in training graduates and post-graduates in the field of Social Work since 1955.

In the course of its work the College has realised that it is necessary to provide similar inputs to many more people in the community. There is a need to train local leaders and volunteers to assume responsibility for the development of their communities/milieu, to be aware of and protect their own human rights and those of other vulnerable groups.

In 1996, the College of Social Work started a six-month Weekend Training Course in Social Work for Grass root Workers. In response to a growing need for similar training expressed by Senior Citizens, The College of Social Work has initiated a sixteenth short-term three-month training course in Social Work commencing on September 7th 2009.






TIMINGS : 2.00 – 5.00 p.m.
(Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays)



MUMBAI – 400 063.
Tel: 28742284
11.00 A.M. – 5.00 P.M.
(LUNCH BREAK: 1.00 – 2.00 P.M.)

Kindly Note: This course has been approved by the University of Mumbai.


Ms. Philomena Vaz
Program Co-ordinator.
College of Social Work-Extension centre,
St. Pius College Campus,
Virwani Road,
Goregaon (E),
Mumbai-400 063
Tel.No. (022) 28742284.
Email: nnextension.centre@gmail.com

Monday, August 24, 2009

Their safety nets torn, senior citizens return to job market

Between them, the middle-class Bangalore couple have 64 years of service in public sector firms. You would think they would have provided themselves lifelong financial security.

But today, several years after retirement, Krishna Prasad, 66, and his wife Sridevi, 61, lined up at a seniors’ job fair, fresh CVs in hand. In near identical language, the two wrote in their resumes, “Hailing from a respectable and decent family”.

It was a poignant scene portraying a changing India where the economic downturn has intersected with a rapidly altering social landscape, sending hundreds of senior citizens scurrying out in search of financial security.

The job fair puts the focus on India’s elderly, a neglected demographic in a country overwhelmingly dominated by young people. Every second Indian in a country of 1.2 billion people is 25 years or younger.

A minuscule newspaper ad a few days ago announced “Jobs60+”, a job fair conceived by the Bangalore-based eldercare NGO Nightingales Medical Trust. A hundred or so people were expected to show up.

This morning, the Nightingales’ downtown office was overwhelmed by 600 applicants. The huge rush halted traffic as more seniors blockaded the entrance, heckling and shouting to be allowed in.

Prasad and Sridevi, the public sector retirees who arrived early at the fair, are not badly off. They own their home and have rent coming in. But with loans to pay off, they are left with less than Rs 15,000 to manage the household.

The couple’s tale shares a common skein with the lives of many elderly middle-class couples in urban India.

Their older son, 32, works in the United States and the younger, 27, lives with them and works for a multinational. “Our sons are very different from us,” says Sridevi.

They earn, live lavishly and are irreverent, the couple says. “We are insecure and worried,” confesses Prasad. With loans to pay, they are out in the job market when “we should be putting our feet up and relaxing,” he says.

For many elderly job seekers, it is a tough world out there. A majority of them have no computer or other marketable skills. Of the 600 job seekers today, only 40 matched requirements.

Another job aspirant C B Sinha, 65, retired as a senior inspector at Peerless General Finance over a decade ago. Though his sons deposit a monthly maintenance sum into the couple’s account, Sinha wants to be “engaged.”

“Ninety percent of older people I know are dissatisfied with the way their children care for them,” says Sinha, who hastens to add that his sons look after his and his wife’s necessities.

But, he says, the couple have drastically “shrunk” their needs. Sinha says he eats two slices of bread with daal in the morning, and another two slices of bread with milk in the evening. If he is at home, lunch comprises of rotis and vegetable.

Ismail Afsar, 65, retired as a billing clerk from Hindustan Aeronautics after three decades of service. He lives off a Rs 670-monthly Provident Fund payment and looks to his daughter to chip in household expenses with her teaching income.

“This economy is harsh on people like me, especially in an expensive city like Bangalore,” says Afsar who came dressed in a simple checked shirt and worn-out shoes. At the job fair, he was offered jobs only by insurance firms looking for agents. “I will not be able to cope with that work,” said a disappointed Afsar.

Highlighting the age and income contrast, a dozen young employees from a leading Wall Street firm volunteered at the Nightingales job fair. “It is heart-rending to see old people struggle to live on monthly pensions equal to what I would spend on two coffees,” said a young woman volunteer who did not want her name revealed.

Even NGOs like Nightingales working in elders’ healthcare say they now realize that the bigger problem is economic security. “The financial needs of the elderly caught us by surprise,” says Dr. Radha Murthy, a medical doctor who heads Nightingales.

Over half the callers on their eldercare helpline cite family problems and majority of them, some even as old as 82, seek part-time jobs. “The children are Westernized and refuse to take responsibility for the parents, leaving elders in the lurch,” says Murthy.

By afternoon, the couple, Prasad and Sridevi, was despondent at receiving no job offers other than from private insurance firms. Most companies prefer youngsters, they said. “But seniors like me are more experienced, loyal and responsible than most youngsters,” said Sridevi. She added after a pause, “On a Rs 5,000-salary, I can easily out-deliver a 25-year-old earning Rs 15,000.”


In Kanpur, the elderly extend helping hands to young brains

They are an unusual group of 17 pensioners. Instead of looking for help and support, they go looking for bright students in need of help and then support them financially to fulfill their dreams.

Since 2001 the All India Organisation of Pensioners (AIOP) has helped as many as 77 students.

Seventeen students funded by them have either completed BTech or are pursuing it.

Last week, when Gaurav Nigam, who did BTech from IIT-Kanpur, got a job with Verizon Communications at Chennai, the group had a special reason to celebrate. Gaurav is the their first student who has got a job.

At the age of 13, Gaurav had lost his father. With the support of the group, he continued his studies. In Class X, he ranked 17th in the state and in Class XII, he improved his ranking to 13. Later, Gaurav cleared the IIT-JEE and got admission in the IIT-Kanpur.

Talking to The Indian Express over phone from Chennai, Gaurav said: “I owe my success to AIOP. My mother is a homemaker and after my father’s death the family was dependent on his pension fund. I can never forget the manner in which the AIOP members helped me at every stage.”

One of the first things that Gaurav did after getting the job was to contact the members of AIOP and offered them help in their effort.

Though the group has been in existence since 1969, it has only 17 active members. In 2001, it decided to introduce a students’ welfare scheme. The scheme’s priority is to help meritorious students of economically deprived upper caste families. The AIOP says there are several schemes for such students from SC and ST communities, but few for the upper castes. The finance secretary of the group, Saraswati Dayal Srivastava, said: “We have helped a Muslim girl and a Yadav boy, both brilliant students, who faced financial crisis. But our main objective is to help meritorious students from needy upper caste families.” In 2001, when the scheme was launched, seven students were selected for the scholarship and Rs 10,000 was given to them. This year, the number of beneficiaries reached 22 and the scholarship amount touched Rs 2 lakh.

“The students we supported have never disappointed us,” said M L Gupta, former joint commissioner, Income Tax.

The organisation provides a scholarship of Rs 600 per month till Class VIII and Rs 1,000 for students of Class IX to XII. Those who get selected in reputed institutes for higher studies are given up to Rs 2,000 per month. Besides, students are given financial assistance for competitive exams.

Most of the money comes from contributions made by the members but it is not enough. “We seek donations, or request the educational institution for help,” said Srivastava. The group now plans to spread outside Kanpur.

About the procedure to identify the students, Srivastava said: “We visit schools and collect information about meritorious students from deprived families and examine their academic record. We meet their families to see their financial status. Only then we give the scholarship.”

Ashish Agarwal, who cleared IIT-JEE this year and got admission in IIT-K, lives in a one-room house. His father Ram Agarwal works at a shop and gets Rs 3,500 per month. The AIOP spotted him and started providing a scholarship to him in 2005. “It’s a dream come true. I never thought my son will ever go to IIT-K,” said Ram Agarwal.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

OSTEOPOROSIS Project for Elderly Women at KEM Hospital in Mumbai

Elderly Women of age 60yrs and above are invited to be part of OSTEOPOROSIS Project for Four ( 4 ) year project at KEM Hospital(Mumbai Municipal Hospital),Parel,Mumbai.

What will be done:
1. Dexa Scan
2. Blood Test
3. X rays
4. Free calcium tablets for 4 years or depending upon tretment plan of doctor

Please note ALL Test are Free at KEM Hospital,Mumbai.

Last date is 15th September 2009 to Register.


CELL NO +91-09324394885
0FF. NO.+91-22 24103364
Email: nikamsantosh3@rediffmail.com

Friday, August 21, 2009

Family Caregivers Need to Be Fair to Out-of-Area Siblings

There’s a great deal of angst in the family caregiver world about siblings who don’t help out with the aging parents. Very often, it’s the person who lives closest to the parents who ends up being the primary caregiver. This is kind of a default thing because logistics would make it seem only, well, logical.

However, the adult child living closest to the parents may not be the one who is best suited emotionally, financially or practically, for the job. This person may be a single mother trying desperately to take care of children and provide them with a living by working two low paying jobs. Then she takes on the parents, as they live in the same town. She is, understandably, overwhelmed.

This is when she needs to turn to her siblings for whatever help they can give. If they can’t be present physically, they should help financially, or with bill paying and legal paperwork. They should do something, but often they don’t. Many times, it’s because they just don’t want to be bothered. They assume that the sibling that’s closest can handle it and they don’t have a clue about how much time is involved in the parent care process. And they really don’t care.

But sometimes – yes it happens – sometimes the caregiver martyr syndrome kicks in. Sometimes, the in-town caregiver doesn’t really give the out-of-town siblings a chance. We all know of couples who actually love complaining about the spouse. They’d be devastated if the spouse actually lived up to their expectations, as then there wouldn’t be anything to complain about. Well, this same thing can happen to caregivers. They have an ego investment in caring for the parent. They love the “Honey, one day you’ll have jewels in your crown” comments by the little church ladies. They love the sympathy they get from colleagues.

How to Involve Siblings in Caring for Elders

It’s sad, of course. But this is one more way that old sibling issues can rear up and make parent care an ugly family issue rather than a collaborative one. Caregivers, before bad-mouthing siblings, must honestly ask themselves (and perhaps another trusted person or even a counselor) if they have truly included the siblings. Have they asked for a family conference? Have they asked if the sibling can do something specific such as bill paying? Have they asked if someone can help Mom pay for an in-home caregiver a few hours a week so the primary caregiver can have a break?

There are some siblings who live away from parents and feel totally shut out. They get frantic about the situation but don’t know how to approach the caregiving sibling without that sibling feeling distrusted or threatened. Again, this generally goes back to issues from childhood. Perhaps the hands-on caregiver is still trying to get Mom’s approval, so she refuses to let her siblings contribute to the caregiving process. She wants to be the hero. And slowly, slowly she gets unconsciously sucked into the mire of complaining that siblings never help and she must do it all, and the ultimate martyr is born.

Be aware. Yes, in most cases I’ve heard about, the caregiver is well founded in complaining that his or her siblings have blown off the responsibility of aging parents and underestimated (greatly) the time spend and sacrifices made by the caregiver. They’d just as soon not know, as they want to keep living their own lives as they have always done. But there is another side to this story. If you are a primary caregiver and have siblings who are not in the loop, take a good look at yourself. Ask a trusted friend for advice. See if you have truly given your siblings a chance to be part of the team. If so, it’s their problem is they resent or ignore you. But if not, maybe it’s time to burn the martyr hat and get your siblings involved. Tell them specifically what help you need. Give them a chance to be part of the team. It could be that the whole family dynamic will start to change with that one small gesture and the caregiver and care receiver will benefit greatly from much needed help.

By Carol Bradley Bursack

Source: http://www.agingcare.com/Featured-Stories/135062/Family-Caregivers-Need-to-Be-Fair-to-Out-of-Area-Siblings.htm

Jobs 60+, a job fair for Senior Citizens in Bangalore

Organiser : Nightingales Medical Trust

Title of Event : Jobs 60+, a job fair for senior citizens

Day(s) and Date(s) : 22/08/2009

Time / Timings : 10:00 a.m

Venue : Sandhya Kirana, Shanti Nagar, Bangalore 25

Program Details : Targeting all senior citizens who are financially insecure and willing to work. Employers wanting to recruit senior citizens are invited to come on the day. The event will be a platform for needy senior citizens and socially concious employers to come together for mutual benefit.

How will attendee benefit :
1) Attendees will be able to interact with employers - this will help them understand the current recruitment scenario
2) They will be able to choose from a variety of employers
3) If they are satisfied with their choice of employers, they could immediatly apply for a job and be recruited on the spot.

Fees : No fees

Directions to venue: Opposite to Sita Bhateja Nursing Home, Behind Hockey stadium in Shanti Nagar, minimum hours needed per session

RSVP Name : S. Premkumar Raja, +919880150210, +919243100560, 080- 41248448
RSVP Emaile : nightingales@vsnl.net

Comments : All employers willing to recruit senior citizens are invited to contact us.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Rationale for Pension Parity in India

Pension is a deferred wage, paid in consideration of past service which an employee rendered sacrificing the prime of his youth for the sake of the Government & the quantum of such pension should be such that he is able to lead a dignified Life in his twilight years maintaining as far as possible the standard of living he was used to during his service life!

It is in view of this basic principle that the apex court of the country has repeatedly ruled that any classification of pensioners at any time will have to answer the test of article 14 of the Constitution and further concluded that pensioners for the purpose of pensionary benefits form a homogeneous class and such a homogeneous class could not be arbitrarily divided on the basis of dates of retirement whenever the pension undergoes an upward revision and hence the fixation, at any time, of any cut off date for any new benefit is arbitrary.

Any act which seeks to classify or divide pensioners into two or more classes is not based on any rational principle, and hence it would constitute a violation of article 14 of the Constitution. Thus, parity of pension as between one who retires with a certain pay and a certain rank on a particular date and another one who draws the same pay and with the same rank but retires on a subsequent date is thus a constitutional right guaranteed under article 14 of the Constitution and sanctified by the apex court and many High Courts in their landmark judgments.

The demand for one-rank-one pension for all Defence personnel or pension equal to 50%of the pay as notionally revised in the new pay structure corresponding to the scales from which the employee retired is therefore a just one, which the government should readily accept .The argument of huge financial burden on the national exchequer and the danger of the economy being thrown out of gear to reject this just demand is just a bogey and indeed this has never been accepted by the apex court and many High Courts.

If the arbitrary and frequent increase in the remuneration of Members of legislatures without any public discussion and generally by voice vote, and of Ministers & top bureaucrats (read IAS) or those in the higher echelons of administration, the huge expenditure on the security of politicians, which is generally more of a status symbol than any genuine security cover, the circulation of fake Currency, the absence of any effort to rein in the parallel grey market economy, the gobbling of resources earmarked for social welfare schemes by politicians and vested intermediaries etc. are not going to involve a huge drain on the national exchequer and thereby derail the Indian economy, then how can the just demand of those who actually spared no effort and bore on their shoulders during the prime period of their lives the brunt of running the administration to meet the loud articulations of the rising hopes and aspirations of the common man in the newly emerging independent India, can be thrown out on the ground that it would cause a serious financial imbalance and throw the Indian economy out of gear? Why is only the poor pensioner being made to suffer for no fault of his? He is suffering perhaps because he has so far not realized his own power i.e. the power of vote.

It need hardly be pointed out that generally one retired person has in his hands the power of 6 votes i.e of himself, his spouse, his son, his daughter-in-law, his grand daughter & grand son. There are almost two crores of such pensioners (i.e from the Centre, the States, the Defence establishments, the Railways, the PSUs, Banks, the Education department etc.) and they would thus constitute a vote bank of about 12 crores. So the clarion call to all the pensioners is: “Stop crying, wake up and realize the enormous power in your hands. The Governments & the politicians seem to understand only the language and power of the Vote Bank. You cannot fight your battle individually, nor do you generally have the wherewithal to do so.

So, join the larger community of senior citizens and consolidate your own Vote Bank. Once you do so, the politicians will come running to you & you will get what you want. Let not any further time be lost in consolidating the vote bank. So, hasten, lend your helping hand and strengthen the hands of the organizations that have dedicated themselves to improving the lot and welfare of the pensioners”.

By S.C.Maheshwari
Email: pensioner77@yahoo.com

Problem in Health Insurance for Senior Citizens in India

A Senior Citizen wrote to me with regards to difficulties faced by him with the Mediclaim poilicies in India,following is note from his mail.I would request you all to give your opnion:

I would like to draw the attention of non-pensioner senior citizens through your organization to thr high increase in mediclaim policy premiums approved by the IRDA. Unfortunately,these Boards are manned mostly by retired bureaucrats, who are not only insensitive to the plights of commoner but also are self-centred.

I pointed out the points to reconsider to the Chairman of IRDA and to the Finance Minister, sometime back,to reconsider certain guidelines to make the mediclaim policies affordable by the senior citizens, who does not enjoy pension facilities.

1) The policies should be made transferable from one insurer to another
during renewal with full benifits of entry age and bonuses etc.
from the existing policy.
2) The premium should be maintained same at a particular age stage,such
as 60 to 65 yrs, 66 to 70 yrs etc. etc. The age related Load Factor
should never be more than 20% of the previous stage.
3) Refusal of reimbursement in full or in part should always be referred
to a Tribunal, manned by knowlegeable citizens, who are non-political
and non-bureaucrats, well represented by all the regions of the country
and tyheir names should never represnt loke the telephone directory of a
particular region of the country. Refusal of renewal of a policy by an
insurer should also be referred to this Tribunal automatically.

My reason to make these above points as I have found out in a hardway,like many other senior citizens that IRDA has approved a very high increase in premiums,I have paid as follows:
For 2007-07 (age 72 & 68yrs-Spouse and self) Rs. 15,165
For 2007-08 (age 73 & 69 yrs-spouse and self) Rs. 21,214 [an increase of
For 2008-09 (age 74 & 70yrs-spouse and self) Rs. 34,306 [an increas of

HOW do we justify these increases, when along with the high increase in cost of loving, the bank interest rates on deposits, which are oue only income reduced gradually from ~10.0% to ~6.0% for the reasons better known to our Hon'ble politicians ?

My purpose in writing to you with the hope that you will be able to mobilize the opinions of senior citizens in this matter and represent the facts to the proper authorities. Our individual writing increse the bulk of the DUSTBIN of the unconcerned selfcentered authorities.

With my regards.

B. N. Ghose
Kolkata,India - 700 068,
PH. (033)2473 0674/2499 1169.
Email : bsnsgs@gmail.com

Monday, August 17, 2009

Should Euthanasia - Right to Dignified Death be promoted

Dear Friends ,Few days back I got this email which addressess the issue of Right to Dignified Death.

In Wikipedia Euthanasia is mentioned as:
Euthanasia (from the Greek ευθανασία meaning "good death": ευ-, eu- (well or good) + θάνατος, thanatos (death)) refers to the practice of ending a life in a painless manner. Many different forms of euthanasia can be distinguished, including animal euthanasia and human euthanasia, and within the latter, voluntary and involuntary euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide have been the focus of great controversy in recent years.

Below is the mail send by Mr.S.N.Marathe,I would request the readers to give their views.What are laws in your country?

Dear Shri Shaileshji

A few days back I read in Economic Times a small article by Vithal Nadkarni about one senior scientist aged 86 from U.K. who became physically handicap and whose wife aged 84 had a terminal cancer had their painless death at Zurich under the Swiss Laws in the presence of their relatives. I read with dismay two senior citizens aged 84 and 86 both from Peddar Road committed suicide by jumping from their high rise residence. To my knowledge we in India have no laws which permit death as one wishes called Ichhyamaran . I feel that as one has a right to live, he/she should have a right to dignified death also.Senior citizens who feel that they have played their innings,not keeping good health and may become burden to their families or who do not have any families to depend upon should be allowed a dignified i.e.painless death.Like in Zurich, we in India also should have such a law.The person who chooses to die like this can also donate his organs to the needy and may serve a social cause.As number of sinior citizens in our country is increasing fast many senior citizen would face this problem.As a nation we should find a solution for this.

The foregoing is for your kind consideration and for wider circulation and discussion in the Silver Innings and elsewhere also.

Thanking you,

With regards,

Yours sincerely,

Chunabhatti, Sion, Mumbai -22,India
Ph.022- 24052251
Email: marathek@bom3.vsnl.net.in

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

In Older Adults, Hip And Back Fractures Increase Mortality Rates

If you are 50 or older and you break your hip, you have a one in four chance of dying within five years. Break your back, and you have a one in six chance of dying that soon, says a McMaster University study.

The research, published in the online edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), has found that approximately 25 per cent of men and women who develop hip fractures and 16 per cent of people who develop spine factures will die over a five-year period.

The national study was led by George Ioannidis, a health research methodologist in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, in collaboration with scientists from the schools of medicine and nursing at McMaster, as well as several universities across Canada.

Using data from the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study, the researchers examined the relationship between new fractures and mortality over a 5-year period in more than 7,750 Canadians aged 50 years and older. The study, looking at various types of fractures reported by participants, differed from previous research in that the study group was representative of the general population.

"Hip fractures may have long-lasting effects that result in eventual death by signalling or actually inducing a progressive decline in health," said Ioannidis. "Our results also showed that vertebral fracture was an independent predictor of death."

In addition, the researchers discovered that all types of bone breaks were more common among women than men, with the exception of rib fractures. They also determined that fractures were associated with other negative consequences such as increased pain, immobility and reduced health-related quality of life.

"People should be aware that fractures are a serious problem in osteoporosis," Ioannidis said. "They do not just reduce health-related quality of life, they actually cause death. So hip and spinal fractures need be taken very seriously, and prevention should be paramount in treating patients with osteoporosis."

The study found factors such as smoking, physical activity and the presence of other diseases increased the risk of death, but so did lower educational levels.

The authors concluded that interventions must be introduced to reduce the likelihood of fractures. These could include osteoporosis medications, fall prevention strategies, hip protectors and enhanced rehabilitation after fracture to improve mobility and strength.

The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Osteoporosis Canada reports that there are approximately 27,000 hip fractures per year in Canada. Data on spinal fractures is limited, but is estimated that more than 65 per cent of vertebral fractures go undetected. The annual cost of treating osteoporotic fractures is over $1.3 billion.

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/159887.php

Monday, August 10, 2009

Senior moments in China

Living in China for eight months has allowed me to discover a lot of interesting things about the Chinese people, particularly the senior citizens. China’s senior citizens are those considered to be in the “Retiring Age” stage, which is 60 years old and above. Oftentimes they stay at home because they fear for their safety or they simply complain about their arthritic joints. Some go ballroom dancing, others would rather take care of their grandchildren.

Here in China, it is just usual to see senior citizens playing sports, dancing, exercising, and doing walkathons during early mornings—not minding the cold weather even during winter time. Last January at the height of winter, my Mom and I were waiting for our bus to work when we noticed an old lady walking in light clothing with no bonnet on her head to protect her from the cold. It turned out that this was the old lady’s routine. Yes, we agreed, walking is a good exercise, but on winter mornings and in light clothing? That sounded difficult, but not for this grandma.

Senior citizens of China don’t mind at all wearing rubber shoes and carrying backpacks. To them, it’s easier to do the everyday errands that they do for their sons and daughters who are at work.

One time, my mom, sister, and I were waiting for the bus when we saw an old woman deftly carrying a backpack nimbly crossing the street in her rubber shoes. She was definitely one groovy grandma!

Who says carnival rides are only for the young ones? Another time, we went to a mini carnival. My two nephews were all so excited to get into the spaceship ride. We were supposed to accompany them, but seeing the fast circular motion of the ride made us think twice so we decided to just let the kids go for the ride. As we were telling the kids to sit properly, an old lady came. We thought that she was looking out for her grandson. We were wrong! She went in and sat on one of the spaceships. A worried staff approached her and asked her if she could handle the ride. The old lady, without batting an eyelash, said yes. So off she went up in the air, contented and happy. She even used the controllers to move her spaceship up and down. After the ride, she walked normally without any trace of being dizzy.

The seniors of China also have a very active social life. They usually gather in parks, especially in the morning to do their morning exercise.

We also see them walking in the park or riding the country’s main transport systems, even motorcycles! Old ladies with canes would rather ride a motorcycle, which can be rented, than wait for the bus.

Here in China, if someone can still move about, then that person can still work. It seems that the Chinese have lived up to this practice because it is just ordinary to see old people working. Most of the seniors’ jobs require even more physical strength than those of the young ones. Some of the seniors’ jobs include delivering loads of goods using a bicycle, walking from street to street selling products, working as cleaners and almost all odd jobs.

One day, while waiting for the bus, an old lady approached me and asked me if I would pay her to shine my shoes. I was hesitant at first, but then I said yes since my shoes really needed cleaning. She just charged me 2 Yuan (about Php15); I felt that she deserved more so I gave her more than that amount. Her bright smile when she received my payment was as shiny as my newly polished shoes. Thanks to this hard-working grandma.

How and where these seniors get their strength is truly a mystery. Is it their lifestyle or culture? Whatever it is, these seniors from China are not your ordinary senior citizens.

Source: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/214893/senior-moments-china

WE'LL WORK TILL 70 : Pension age will have to rise to 70 in UK

People in their 30s now could face having to work until they are 70, a pensions expert warned yesterday.

With an ageing population - in 20 years one in four of the UK will be over 65 - the country will not be able to afford state benefits as they operate now.

Pension regulator David Norgrove believes the entitlement age for the basic state pension will have to rise to 70.

He told the BBC last night: "People are going to have to work longer. As a nation we are not going to save as much for retirement as we did in the past."

The present pensionable age for women is 60 and for men 65. The Government is already committed to raising that. In 2024 the pensionable age for both sexes will reach 66 and in 2034 it will be 67.

In another ten years, 2044, it is due to reach 68.

Using the Ministry of Pensions own online calculator, workers now aged 52 will retire aged 66, those aged 40 will retire at 67.

Anyone now aged 31 must wait until they are 68, or if Mr Norgrove's fears are born out, until they are 70. He said of the planned retirement ages: "I think it will go higher than that." He added: "People are frightened of saving for pensions."

There are plans to increase the number of people eligible for state pensions by cutting the time it takes to qualify from 39 years for women and 44 years for men to 30 years for both.

And from 2012 everyone will be automatically enrolled in a low-cost national savings scheme, which they can opt out of.

Employers can opt out on behalf of workers if they provide a better scheme.

The good news for state pensions is by the time 2044 comes, the current £95.25 a week should have risen to more than £400.

Source: http://www.people.co.uk/news/tm_headline=work-till-70&method=full&objectid=21583449&siteid=93463-name_page.html

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ageing and Employment Policies Project

In an era of rapid population ageing, many employment and social policies, practices and attitudes that discourage work at an older age have passed their sell-by date and need to be overhauled. They not only deny older workers choice about when and how to retire but are costly for business, the economy and society.

If nothing is done to promote better employment prospects for older workers, the number of retirees per worker in OECD countries will double over the next five decades. This will threaten living standards and put enormous pressure on the financing of social protection systems.

To help meet these daunting challenges, work needs to be made a more attractive and rewarding proposition for older workers.

First, there must be strong financial incentives to carry on working and existing, subsidised pathways to early retirement have to be eliminated.

Second, wage-setting and employment practices must be adapted to ensure that employers have stronger incentives to hire and retain older workers.

Third, older workers must be given appropriate help and encouragement to improve their employability.

Finally, a major shift in attitudes to working at an older age will be required on the part of both employers and older workers themselves.

This report makes an important contribution to establishing a new agenda of age-friendly employment policies and practices. It draws out the main lessons that have emerged from the 21 country reviews which have been published separately under the OECD’s series on "Ageing and Employment Policies/Vieillissement et politiques de l’emploi".

Get the report here: http://www.oecd.org/document/42/0,3343,en_2649_34747_36104426_1_1_1_1,00.html

Thursday, August 6, 2009

International Longevity Center-USA and Atria Senior Living Group Project

As people live longer and increasingly make the decision to relocate to a senior living community, their life satisfaction and happiness, or "subjective well-being" (SWB) in later life become issues of vital concern and are the basis for a new project linking the International Longevity Center-USA, a leading policy and research center on healthy aging, and Atria Senior Living Group, one of the nation's largest providers of independent and assisted living services.

The project, which will probe keys to satisfaction and well-being, a growing topic of research interest and practical application, is bringing together leading experts from health care, senior living organizations and related fields.

"Our project's outcomes will be of importance to older persons who leave their longtime home for a new residence and new community environment," says Dr. Robert N. Butler, president and CEO of the ILC-USA and one of the world's leading geriatricians.

"We've learned that fine facilities, thoughtful programming and good intentions are not enough to ensure true satisfaction and ultimate happiness for older people moving into new environments at a challenging time in their lives when they are fearful of losing independence," Dr. Butler says.

Recent studies show that older adults with low self-esteem, high depressive symptoms and low quality of life prior to a move are at high risk for poor outcomes in relocating to senior living communities, regardless of whether they relocate to independent or assisted living.

"The knowledge that we will gain from this groundbreaking study will allow us to provide even better service to older men and women who choose to make their home with us," said Julie Harding, Chief Operating Officer for Atria Senior Living Group. "Helping seniors and their families make the best possible transition into the senior living environment is something we want to ensure we're focusing on during those critical first few months."

While there is a growing body of systematic research about SWB, both in the U.S. and in Europe, little of it trickles down to those who can benefit most from it," according to Dr. Butler who hails Atria's effort and educational grant as "important leadership" that will benefit older persons, their families, medical institutions, and senior living communities.

The project organized by the ILC, a policy research center dedicated to healthy aging, productive engagement and quality of life, in partnership with Atria Senior Living Group, one of the largest and most comprehensive providers of independent and assisted living communities nationwide, includes a scientific consensus conference, a report of research findings and other efforts aimed at enhancing independent and assisted living options.

The ILC-USA recently hosted a conference gathering leading research, direct service, medical and health experts that probed several major questions on what we can derive from the latest empirical research, the experience of staff in senior living communities, and the experience of clinicians, to improve subjective well being and satisfaction outcomes for new residents of independent and assisted living environments.

The conference also featured several research reports by participants, including Eileen Rossen, PhD, from the University of North Carolina Greensboro who discussed the necessity for older adults to preserve the highest level of agency over personal life decisions during a senior housing transition-a high degree of "relocation self-efficacy" as she termed it in a recently published journal article and validated Relocation Self-Efficacy Scale.

Among those represented at the session were leading experts on aging, public policy, consumer advocacy, health care, and social work from such organizations as New York Presbyterian Hospital, Visiting Nurse Service of New York, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia's Aging and Public Health Program, Atria Senior Living Group, and the National Association of Senior Move Managers.

Experts participating in the conference series include:

-Robert N. Butler, M.D.
Founding President and CEO, the International Longevity Center

-Eileen Rossen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor - Community Practice Department, University of North Carolina, Greensboro; Author of study: Older Adults Relocating to Independent Living Communities: Factors Affecting Depression and Quality of Life

-Leonard Kelly, Ph.D.
Research Scientist at the Center for Studies in Education and Human Development at Gallaudet University and Co-author of Wiz Quiz for older adults

-Julie Harding
Chief Operating Officer, Atria Senior Living Group

-Khristine Rogers
Vice President, Active Aging for Atria Senior Living Group

-Jennifer Rehm
Executive Director for Atria Glen Cove, NY location, Atria Senior Living Group

-J. Ryan Fuller, Ph.D.
Director of Research, Albert Ellis Institute (psychotherapy); Author of study: Interpersonal Relationships and Irrationality as Predictors of Life Satisfaction

-Ron Adelman, M.D.
Medical Director of the Irving Wright Center of Aging, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Co-Chief of the Division of Geriatrics Medicine and Gerontology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital

-Kathryn Haslanger
Vice President, Community Benefit and External Affairs, Visiting Nurse Service of NY

-Barry Gurland, M.D.
Sidney Katz Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Columbia University Stroud Center for the Study of Quality of Life in Health and Aging.

-Colin Milner
CEO of International Council on Active Aging in Vancouver

-Thuy-Tien Dam, Ph.D.
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

-Jaclyn Kelly, Ed.M.
Co-author of Wiz Quiz for older adults

-David Dworkin
CEO of Conductorcise

-Victoria Raveis, Ph.D.
Co-Director, Center for the Psychosocial Study of Health & Illness & Director, Aging & Public Health Program, Columbia University

-Mary Kay Buysse
National Association of Senior Move Managers

About the International Longevity Center-USA:
The International Longevity Center-USA is a research policy organization in New York City and has sister centers in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and Israel. Led by Dr. Robert N. Butler, a world renowned physician specializing in geriatrics, the Center is a non-for-profit, non-partisan organization with a staff of economists, medical and health researchers, demographers and others who study the impact of population aging on society. The ILC-USA focuses on combating ageism, healthy aging, productive engagement and the financing of old age. The ILC-USA is an independent affiliate of Mount Sinai School of Medicine and is incorporated as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) entity. More information on the ILC-USA can be found at www.ilcusa.org

About Atria Senior Living Group:
Atria Senior Living Group, the nation's fourth largest assisted living owner-operator, provides respectful, quality care that helps approximately 13,000 older people live life to the fullest. Atria communities are not nursing homes; rather, they are active communities where seniors can get the care they need to live as independently as possible. At the heart of Atria's approach is our belief that superior care depends on running a superior business. That's why Atria has developed some of the industry's most stringent measurement tools and comprehensive training protocols. To learn more, log onto www.atriaseniorliving.com.

News from International Longevity Center

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What Is Alzheimer's Disease? What Causes Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurologic disease of the brain leading to the irreversible loss of neurons and the loss of intellectual abilities, including memory and reasoning, which become severe enough to impede social or occupational functioning. Alzheimer's disease is also known as simply Alzheimer's, and Senile Dementia of the Alzheimer Type (SDAT) .

During the course of the disease plaques and tangles develop within the structure of the brain. This causes brain cells to die. Patients with Alzheimer's also have a deficiency in the levels of some vital brain chemicals which are involved with the transmission of messages in the brain - neurotransmitters.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. The disease gets worse as it develops - it is a progressive disease. There is no current cure for Alzheimer's, although there are ways of slowing down its advance and helping patients with some of the symptoms. Alzheimer's is also a terminal disease - it is incurable and causes death.

According the National Institute on Aging, there are estimated to be between 2.4 million and 4.5 million Americans who have Alzheimer's. There are approximately 417,000 people in the UK with Alzheimer's, according to the Alzheimer's Society.

Know everything about Alzheimer's here: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/159442.php

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Special Tour for Senior Citizens to Valley of Flowers of Maharashtra

This is a special for Senior Citizens (above 55yrs) -Sept 4 (evening) to Sept 7 (early morning), to explore the outdoors without the hectic rush of younger & hyperenergetic people - at their own pace and leisure. Kaas Plateau is famed as the Valley of Flowers of Maharashtra and has thousands of blossoms of orchids, balsams, Senecios and lilies. It also has a rich bird and butterfly diversity besides rare plants like the insectivorous Droscera indica also called the Sundew Plant.

The Thoseghar Waterfall is majestic and is surrounded by Wind Mills and is located in a really picturesque region.

The stay arrangements are comfortable and clean with simple veg food. There will be slide shows and discussions about wildlife on the trip and the members will thoroughly enjoy this memorable 'Weekend with Flowers'.

This trip has been brought to senior citizens at a special concessional price of Rs. 4000 (the regular rate being Rs. 4750)Ex.Mumbai .

There are ONLY 25 seats and you would need to rush your bookings to grab your seat on this fantastic trip.

Contact Gaurav (98705-05785) or Anand (98201-40254) for bookings & inquiries.

Anand Pendharkar
68/4 Tarun Bharat Society,
Chakala, Sahar Road,
Andheri (Eas), Mumbai - 400 099.
Tel: (022) - 28368647
Mobile: +91-98201-40254
Website : www.sproutsenvttrust.org
Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sproutsonline
Email: sproutsonline@gmail.com

Noodle hockey keeps seniors in the game

Close your eyes and it could be a pickup hockey game like any of thousands played daily across this country.

"Ooh, sorry," apologizes one speedster as she accidentally knocks a teammate across his head.

"The other way, George!" someone yells at a latecomer who has just whaled a shot in the wrong direction.

"Uh oh, look who's here," catcalls a third. "It's the Gretzky of noodle hockey."

Oh yes, it's hockey in the best Canadian tradition--jam-packed with fierce competition, good-natured ribbing, and not a little illegal action when spirits run high.

The one big difference about this game?Most of the players are hitting 90 or more, and we're talking years, not points.

Among this crowd, just because you're in your 80s or 90s and using a walker is no excuse for mind and body to grind to a stately crawl. Kinetics experts would applaud. The prevailing theory is that for most people, moving slowly and cautiously with age is counterproductive. Rather than being protective, years of slow, deliberate movement simply exacerbates weakness. Use it or lose it.

The hockey players at Elim Village retirement community in Surrey, B. C., know all about that. They come from a generation for whom physical fitness has always been a life necessity as well as recreation. They are determined, they are disciplined and, make no mistake, they are tough.

"I'm a Saskatchewan girl," retired teacher Edna McFarlane, 89, said. Although she skated, rode horseback and played softball all her life, this is the first time she's put any time into playing hockey. It doesn't bother her that she's sitting in a chair, the stick is a foam noodle and the puck's a beach ball. The adrenalin is there, the camaraderie is there. What more could you want?

Margaret -- "We call her 'Kick' " --Martin, 91, used to ride bareback to school, herd cattle and teach in a one-room school.

"The problem is now, you can't put your arm around a child and that's what the little ones need if they are feeling blue," said Martin, who remembers teaching phys-ed in days gone by. "I think there's too many children left out."

A team player in the past, she's still a team player now: "We have people in there that need to hit the ball and you give it to those who are a little more handicapped than we are. We give them a chance."

George Gunn, 89, was a trapper in northernAlbertaandanarmyphysical training instructor. He's had a stroke and a spinal fusion, walks with a cane, and these days, can barely see.

"I never played hockey. I can't even skate. No wonder I'm no good at (noodle hockey)," he said.

Gunn calls McFarlane "one of these tough girls."

McFarlane said keeping fit comes down to grit and determination.

"What I find is I just make myself do it. Some mornings I get up and I just don't feel like doing it. I have to make myself. I get up and I don't let myself think that way. I absolutely won't let myself think that way," she said. "Before, my blood pressure was high and I was having trouble walking. I started doing the recumbent bike, the resistance chair. My blood pressure went down, dear!It took three or four months. Then it was boring, sitting there on this bike for 40 minutes."

Retired physiotherapist Phyllis Taylor, 91, is in the game to score goals. Period.

Is it frustrating playing hockey from a chair? In a word, yes, she said, but "pain goes away when you're busy."

"I like it. I think it's challenging," she said. "I wanted to be a doctor, but my father said it was a waste of time because he thought I would get married and not use my skills."

Like many of her teammates, Taylor views the younger generation with concern.

"I don't think people in their middle ages have much exercise, but they are learning," she said.

"I think we have a lot to learn from this generation," Elim recreation coordinator Jessica Baker said. "These are the people who built Canada."

Taylor's generation walked five miles to school every day--uphill both ways, as the joke goes--played street games, carried rifles, lived through a war, know how to make use of routine, and have a tremendous respect for honour and friendship, Baker said. They were physically active their whole lives, and that's what's helping them now.

"You don't all of a sudden wake up one morning knitting," Baker said.

Retired bookkeeper Dorothy Padmore, 97, certainly didn't.She played ice hockey as a kid in Armstrong, B. C. And she had her Burnaby, B. C., apartment until a year ago.

"I did the vacuuming, cleaning and I went for a walk every day," she said.

She's taken computer lessons and checks out as many new activities as she can. Her goal is to improve her balance. Just standing is tricky. And showering. But she really gets a kick out of the hockey.

Source: http://www.canada.com/health/seniors/Noodle+hockey+keeps+seniors+game/1809451/story.html

Monday, August 3, 2009

Nigeria Senate Establishes Agency for the Aged

The senate on 14th July 2009 passed a bill seeking to establish the National Agency for the Elderly Persons which will provide welfare and recreational facilities for the aged. Also, the agency is expected to design development programmes and activities aimed at the advancement of elderly persons in Nigeria.

The bill which was Sponsored by Senator Ganiyu Solomon (AC, Lagos West) stated that the agency when fully established, will be charged with the responsibility of providing basic welfare, maintaining and protecting the rights of older persons as well as providing recreational facilities for them.

In his contribution in the debate before the bill was passed, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri (PDP, Bayelsa) whose committee of Sports and Social Development worked on the bill, said, "The bill is a landmark one that seeks to give proper legal support to this segment of our population who suffer untold hardship. It is a bill that requires the support of each and every one of us because all of us will be old one day."

"Although the family remains the most important source of support for older people, family structures are changing and traditional patterns of care are no longer guaranteed. Living patterns are fundamentally changing; urbanization has resulted in many older people living alone in rural areas."

After a clause by clause consideration of the bill which lasted for three hours, Senators unanimously voted in favour of the bill and read it the third time.


Study on Ageing in Rural Areas of Ireland

NUI GALWAY is to lead a cross-border research network which will explore “healthy ageing” in rural communities on the island of Ireland.

The network is the first of its type and will draw on expertise in social care and public health, gerontology, economics, spatial planning and rural geography.

It involves NUIG’s Irish Centre for Social Gerontology and its geography school; Queen’s University Belfast (QUB); and the Rural Community Network and Forum community group in Letterfrack, Co Galway.

The network, known as Health Ageing in Rural Communities (Harc), has received grant aid from the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (Cardi). The Cardi programme aims to promote North-South partnerships on issues affecting older people, and the research will involve senior citizens with the aim of improving policies and services.

Kieran Walsh, of the NUIG Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, said although there is an over-representation of older people in rural areas throughout Ireland, research into rural ageing has been limited to small-scale studies.

There has also been a “total absence of any cross-border coordination”, Walsh said. “Even though there are many similar issues facing both regions, the cross-border and interdisciplinary study of rural ageing in Ireland has not been developed.”

“There is a lack of understanding of the difficulties and inequalities that face older people in rural areas, as well as the opportunities and benefits that are to be obtained from living in our villages and countryside,” Walsh said.

“This, in turn, makes it very difficult to get a full picture of rural ageing and undermines our ability to develop a long-term strategy for ageing in rural Ireland – both north and south of the border.

“Harc will allow us to share existing knowledge, identify key research questions for future study and ultimately increase the capacity for rural ageing research across Ireland,” he said.

The Harc initiative is a part of a broader research programme on rural ageing at the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology. The multidisciplinary research centre has been focusing on the economics of ageing; technology and ageing; and rural ageing. It has been awarded more than €5 million in funding since its establishment in 2006.

The cross-border network is one of six recipients of grant-aid recently announced by CARDI for all-island studies. Trinity College, Dublin (TCD), QUB, the University of Ulster (UU) and the Quality Initiatives consultancy will examine different standards in long-stay care, and will also work with older people to draw up specific standards to meet the needs of those diagnosed with dementia.

The transport needs of vulnerable older people, especially in rural areas, is the subject of another grant-aided study, which is due to be carried out by University College, Dublin, UU and Age Action Ireland.


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