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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Beyond Boundaries, for Age Care

Transnational Networking, Vietnam delegation India Visit Report:4th April to 8th April 2011.

Delegation from ‘Vietnam National Commission on Ageing’ consisting of members from government & NGO working with Elderly under leadership of Ms. Nguyen Thi Lan , Head of Office, Vietnam National Commission on Ageing recently visited India on Study Tour on Invitation of Sailesh Mishra, Founder President of Silver Inning Foundation – a not for profit organization dedicated for the cause of Senior Citizens.

This visit facilitated meeting & exchange of knowledge between various NGO’s/Organisation working with Elderly in both countries, which shares historic relationship. This networking meeting will help people from both the countries to understand issues a
nd needs of the Elderly and work out solutions as required by country specific.

The diversity of culture and tradition in South East Asia has its own dynamics in care for elderly. There is a world out there that lends to us different cultures, different lifestyles, and educational, social, religious and political views.

We get entangled in our everyday lives and take most things for granted. It is important to enrich our lives with experiences from other countries for a lot of reasons; the social aspect, seeing how other people lives so that we can respect and appreciate the life that we lead.

The consequences of demographic change in Asia, with the continuously growing
Elder population is a huge challenge.Asian countries need to increase knowledge about how to promote good social, healthy life among Elders with preserving our culture & tradition in changing globalization so as to promote health and quality in later life stages

Policy-makers need good outlines to make decisions, based on research and good practice. This in turn requires that the “bridge” between research and public policy is open and constructive. NGO’s and Senior Citizens play major role in helping the policy makers making an elder friendly policy.

According to the 2009 estimate in Vietnam 9% of population of the country is of Elders 60+ , about 7.5 million. According to the forecast of the UN Population Program due to a decrease in the birth rate & an increase in life-span , by 2025 the Elder population in Vietnam will be about 17% of the total population & 25% by 2050.

In Vietnam traditionally, the elderly are respected in the family and are recognized to have contributed to the cause of constructing and defending the nation and have a lot of life experience. The elderly play significant role in maintaining the traditional value of the family, in educating the children and in different social activities of the community.

Elders in Vietnam actively participate into the family life and social life. In the family, the voices of older persons are important to their children. They contribute to both spiritual and material life of the family, in many cases helping to ensure the sustainability and happiness of the family. For the community, older persons participate in economic activities and continue contributing to producing material properties. Older persons play the key role in social activities, developing “cultural family”, “cultural residential area”, “learning society”, preventing social vices such as drug addiction, prostitution in the residential area. The elderly also have active contribution to the development of policies of the authority.

Vietnam has a saying “the Young rely on their father, the elderly rely on their children”, which means when you grow old, the elderly have to rely on the care of their children. Most of the elderly in Vietnam earn their income by doing farming, and do not have pensions so they need their offspring to take care of and meet their needs when they are too old. These days, in the context of the market economy, there is some change in the value; some of the elderly have prepared for their old age, but the majority still needs the caring from the children, especially those without any savings. The successful people with wealthy life still secure the needs of their old parents and can take care of older people when needed.

In current scenario there is a trend of increasing nuclear family and decreasing extended families. In the market economy, the young generation concentrates on making money for their living and have to migrate to urban area. There are some young people without incomes or employment, and those addicted to drugs, violating the law, etc. they pose difficulties for ensuring older peopled to be taken care of and in many cases bring about burden for the elderly.

In order to assist families in caring for the elderly, the Vietnam government has implemented different policies. The role of social organizations, NGOs and private organizations are strongly promoted thanks to the policy of broadening the participation of the society in caring for the elderly. The social organizations like Women’s Union, Vietnam Red Cross and international NGOs, as well as donors, etc. have made significant contribution to developing caring services for the elderly, which is still in shortage in Vietnam. The government is formulating new policy and programme for elderly.

The Vietnam delegation visited capital city of New Delhi, commercial capital Mumbai and retirement paradise city Pune.

The first meeting was held at Helpage India HO at New Delhi with Mr.Mathew Cherian, CEO & his Team of Directors. Sailesh Mishra of Silver Inning Foundation was also present with the delegation. Helpage India shared information about their activities and their new vision for Age Care. It was an interactive information sharing meeting. Both the countries felt that there has been increase of neglect and abuse cases. Helpage India also assured of help to the delegation with regards to capacity building. The delegation was given CD’s of documentary of various activities and on issues of elderly.

In Mumbai the delegation visited Geriatric Psychiatry dept of The BYL Nair Charitable Municipal Hospital. Dr.R.V.Rananavare - The Dean, Dr. Charles Pinto - Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, Dr. Alka Subramanian, Dr.Vinod Gangooli from The BYL Nair Charitable Municipal Hospital and Sailesh Mishra of Silver Inning Foundation were present. The delegation was impressed with the care and services offered to underprivileged by the public hospital. It also got the information of Geriatric Psychiatry clinic run by the hospital. Nair Hospital is a Tertiary care hospital one of the four big public hospitals attached to medical College in Mumbai city. The delegation was informed about growing incidence of mental illness in elderly including Dementia/Alzheimer’s’. Dr.Alka informed the delegation about high number of Diabetic, High Blood Pressure, Depression, Cardiac and Infectious realted illness in elder population. Dr.Charles Pinto explained the working of the Geriatric Psychiatry dept and the hospital. Ms. Nguyen Thi Lan wished if Vietnam could have such medical facility in each district.

The delegation also participated in Networking meeting of NGO’s & Organization’s working with Senior Citizens in India at Center for Life Long Learning, Tata Institute of Social Science, (TISS) Mumbai. Prof. Nasreen Rustomfram - Chairperson, Centre for Lifelong Learning ,Prof. Siva Raju – Demographer & Social Gerontologist , Mr. Sandip & Mr. Darpan Ved from TISS ;Dr.Kinjawadekar & Mr.Chapke from AISCCON ; Mr.Vijay Aundhe from FESCOM ; Mr.S.Mahapatra from GIC Pensioners Association ; Mr.R.S.Desai from All India Bank Retirees Federation ; Ms.Shobha Philips & Ms. Regina from YWCA Asha Kiran; Prakash Borgaonkar & Vallerian Pias from HelpAge India ; Ms.Mona , Sailesh Mishra from Silver Inning Foundation & Ms.Laxmi Rao Project Coordinator from 1298 Senior Citizens Helpline were present for the meet. Prof.Parsuram Director of TISS chaired the meet but had to leave early for an urgent meet. Sailesh Mishra gave an overview of Indian Ageing and NGO’s working in India. Prof. Siva Raju shared Situation Analysis of Indian Ageing and Ms. Nguyen Thi Lan gave presentation on Country report of Vietnam Ageing scenario. It was followed by Q & A session and we all got to know more about respective country ageing issues. The Indians were impressed by the work done by Vietnam government, NGO’s and Community for their Aged. The Health Insurance and Community care of Vietnam elderly was appreciated. Representative from Vietnam delegation wanted to know if there can be support from prestigious institute like TISS on this Prof. Nasreen assured of the support and also informed a Tailor made programme/course can be made available. She also expressed her desire on behalf of TISS to strength the social science particularly in developing countries. Ms. Nguyen Thi Lan invited a delegation from India to visit Vietnam. We all expressed our desire for exchange of resource/people among developing countries and developed nations vice versa for creating better social infrastructure for Age Care. Sailesh Mishra hoped if UN agency or International Community could come forward and encourage such networking among transnational organisation, expert and Senior Citizens.

To get the first hand experience with elder care facility delegation visited Harmony Day Care Center at Harmony Interactive Centre managed by Harmony for Silvers Foundation in central Mumbai. It was amazing to see the interaction among Senior Citizens and the Delegation. Hiren Mehta, Vitista Dhar and Amrita from Harmony and Sailesh Mishra from Silver Inning Foundation were present. ‘Harmony Celebrate Age’ and Harmony memento was presented to the delegates.

The Pune tour included visit to ATHASHRI Retirement Township for Independent Living. The staff of the township gave a tradition Indian Welcome to the entire Delegation member with a huge beautiful Garland. Dr.Vijay Rhayakar - Resident Manager , Ms.Neela Deshpande - Administrative Officer from Athashri and Sailesh Mishra & Laxmi Rao from Silver Inning Foundation were present. The delegation was shown the different facilities including Kitchen, Dining, Club House, Library, Temple, Sample Flat, Gym etc . They were also taken to ‘Continuing Care Center’ for assisted living. We all were amazed by Elder Friendly Design and Infrastructure & by generous and committed staff. The delegation also enjoyed a ride on Electric open car.

The Pune & India tour reached its climax with the Meeting with International Longevity Center – India (ILC –I) and representatives of SCOs, Govt. officials. Dr.S.D.Gokhale ,Mr.Jayant Umranikar, Mr.Prakash Ahirekar and Ms.Anjali Raje from ILC –I ,Dr. Gururaj Mutalik former WHO Director & Mr.Prakash Jawdekar, Wing.Commnd. Marathe, Mr.Avinash , Colonel Athawale and representative from FESCOM & Association of Senior Citizen's Organisation of Pune (ASCOP) were present . Ms. Lan gave info about Ageing in Vietnam. She stressed the need of Shelter for Aged and hope if we could help them. She also bought to the notice importance of Transport facility for Elderly and how difficult it is for them to avail this facility. Ms.Lan also informed that the Vietnam Govt. is drafting a new policy /Programme for Elderly. Dr.S.D.Gokhale informed about Review of NPOP (National Policy of Older Person) and assured help for framing a policy for Elderly in Vietnam. Dr.S.D.Gokhale also shared information on ILC- I ‘Leadership Exchange Programme’ between different countries. Dr.Mutalik talked about establishing ILC-I ‘Information Exchange Center for Ageing’ which could help to share and explore recourses for aging.

In the end Dr.Kinjwadekar of AISCCON & on behalf of all the organisation working with/for Senior Citizens in India gave ‘Silver Inning Foundation Memento’ to each member of the delegation. Ms. Nguyen Thi Lan gave Memento to Helpage India , The BYL Nair Charitable Municipal Hospital, ATHASHRI , TISS and Harmony for Silvers Foundation.

Sailesh Mishra of Silver Inning Foundation , the host and facilitator thanked the Vietnam National Commission on Ageing, Helpage India , The BYL Nair Charitable Municipal Hospital, ATHASHRI , ILC-I , TISS, Harmony for Silvers Foundation , AISCCON, FESCOM, ASCOP, YWCA, GIC Pensioners Association , All India Bank Retirees Federation , 1298 Senior Citizens Helpline , Center for Lifelong Learning- TISS & other organizations working with Senior Citizens for their unconditional support for this Transnational Networking ‘Beyond Boundaries, for Age Care’. He also hopes to facilitate more such visits and sought invitation for Indian delegation visit abroad. Organization and Country interested to Network for the welfare of our Elder can contact Silver inning Foundation. This interaction and networking was also possible due to mentorship of Prof.Joseph Troisi and INIA, Malta.

Vietnam Delegation consisted members as mention below:
1. Ms. Nguyen Thi Lan , Head of Office, Vietnam National Commission on Ageing (head of Delegation).
2. Mr. Ta Xuan Tieu, Vice-head of the Non-Governmental Organisation Department, Ministry of Home Affairs.
3. Mr. Vu Xuan Han, Head of the Secretariat Division, Ministry of Labour – Invalid and Social Affairs.
4. Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Lien, Vice-head of Social and Health Department, Vietnam Association of the Elderly.
5. Lu Quang Ngoi-Director of Labour, Invalid and Social Affair Department of Vinh Long Province.
6.Ms. H’Ny MLo, Vice-director of DakLak Provincial Department of Labour – Invalid and Social Affairs.
7.Pham Vinh Long, Vice-director of Hai Duong Provincial Department of Labour – Invalid and Social Affairs.
8.Le Cong Doan, President Can Tho City Association on Ageing.
9.Hoang Anh Chuong, Oficer of International Relation, Vietnam National Commission on Ageing.

Important contacts:

Vietnam National Commission on Ageing
Address: No. 2 Ngo Thi Nham, Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi, Viet Nam
Tel: 084.4.39447254/Fax:084.4.39447267
Web: www.ubnctvn-vnca.gov.vn
Email: vietnamvnca@gmail.com

Silver Inning Foundation
Correspondence Address: Silver Inning Foundation ,C/o. Sailesh Mishra ,ARENA III , Flat - 801/802, Poonam Garden , Mira Road -East,Mumbai.India - 401107
Tel: 09987104233 / 09029000091
Website: www.silverinningfoundation.org ; www.silverinnings.com
Email: silverinnings@gmail.com / sailesh@silverinnings.com

Silver Innings is working towards creating Elder Friendly World where Ageing becomes a Positive and Rewarding Experience.

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