COVID-19 has deprived a large number of senior citizens in Kerala the services of even a home nurse. Many of these elderly people are now left alone in their homes.
People working for the welfare of this section say that that government should address the issue urgently. According to the figures from 2015, there were 1.7 lakh senior citizens leading solitary lives in the state. Of them, 1.43 lakh were women. Over the last five years, the numbers would certainly have gone up. The children of these people could be living abroad or they might have been abandoned.
A majority of these elderly people take medicines for diabetes and hypertension. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, they had received care from relatives or a home nurse. But that attention is absent now. There is no doubt that elderly people living alone would no longer be able to take regular medicines.
Bedridden patients are attended to once a month by a nurse from the government hospital in the area. But that is not sufficient.
If COVID-19 had not arrived, the solitary senior citizens would have received support from relatives. In the present situation, a large number of these elderly people would even be moving towards starvation. As social distancing is imperative to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the lonely seniors cannot even interact with neighbours.
To address the issue, all organizations working in the field of palliative care should come under one umbrella and launch joint efforts. In fact, there is no other alternative in the present circumstances. When the government is focused on saving the majority, the minority naturally faces some problems.
In the coming weeks, the condition of diabetes and hypertension patients who do not receive medicines would worsen. The Government has its limitations. Already some residents’ associations are supplying drugs to the elderly and providing other care. If palliative care organisations and other voluntary aid workers can implement effective programmes, it would complement the government’s efforts.
Wondering what to do at home in the time of COVID-19 lockdown? Click here