The Government has started a pan-India helpline for the elderly population of the country, Elder Line, to address its problems concerning pension, legal issues or even cases of abuse.
The toll-free helpline 14567 will provide free information and guidance on various issues, extend emotional support, and even take steps to rescue the homeless elderly.
An announcement by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment today said the Elder Line is intended to provide all senior citizens, or their well-wishers, with a single platform to connect and share their concerns and get the guidance, without having to struggle for it.
India is expected to have nearly 20 per cent elderly population i.e. over 300 million senior citizens by 2050.
This age group faces various mental, emotional, financial, legal and physical challenges, and the pandemic has further exacerbated it.
What is more important to understand is that this age group is a basket of wisdom and untapped resource for the overall economic and social growth of the country, the Ministry said.
The Government has started the helpline taking cognizance of the growing need to support the elderly population.
One of the early callers on the helpline was looking for a hospital for his mother-in-law suffering from Parkinson’s and was bedridden with health issues. She got Covid positive and had to be shifted to a Covid ward in the ICU.
After a few days, the hospital insisted that she be taken back home even though she was still positive. Unable to understand this, the caller reached out to Elder Line for guidance. The Elder Line team
immediately acted and found one facility where she could be shifted temporarily.
In the last four months alone, over two lakh calls have been received, and over 30,000 seniors have already been given help. Of the total calls, nearly 40 per cent were related to guidance in vaccination and queries related to it and nearly 23 per cent of calls were related to pension.