“Daughter is to son-in-law while son is to daughter-in-law; only husband belongs to you,” said an elderly woman found on the streets of Lagankhel. She did not want to tell her name and said she had been living in the streets since the death of her husband. Hailing from eastern Nepal, she lives all alone on her own even though she has her children. She said with a sigh, “children, nowadays, do not belong to us. I raised them with so much love but now they have found their own ways. When little, we fear about something bad happening to them, and now, it is just the opposite; we have to live with the fear that they might do something bad with us.”
She has crossed 80 by age. When she was healthy and physically strong, she lived an independent life. Time has changed. It is not the same case now. With passing time and old age, life has become harder for her. She entered the city with hopes of a better living, the decision which she regrets as of now. Shortly, her husband succumbed to death after suffering from some disease. She single-handedly raised her children with much difficulty and hardships hoping they would take care of her later in her life even though she lost her husband. Sadly, her hopes and dreams shattered. Her son, her only hope, left her on her own. She lamented, “Everyone detests you in the city if you cannot earn by yourself. My son’s attitude towards me changed after he got married, so I left them.” Now, she lives in the streets and begs for living. The streets of the capital have now become her home and she eats whatever she can get from a rupee or two given by the passerby.

Most of the women become the victims of domestic violence and are vulnerable to the physical and mental abuse from their in-laws and sometimes even husbands while the rest of the women are tortured by their own children after their husband’s death. Nepal being a patriarchal society, generally, husband acts as the head of the family. The legacy is then passed on to the son after his death. In this scenario, there are instances and evidences of women being misbehaved and ill-mannered by their own children.

Such another woman is Hiradevi Shrestha. She has four children yet she is living a lonely life without anyone to look after her. She has no food to eat and no place to live. She sells maize and vegetables on the roadside as per the season to make her ends meet. She has crossed 71. “I have a daughter but she has her own family.” She has been rejecting her daughter’s frequent requests to stay together with her and said, “Even though I want to stay and live with her, it is impossible to adjust along with my son-in-law and grandchildren all in a same room.”

Not only a daughter but she has sons too but was quite reluctant to speak about them. She further said, “We had a good life as long as my husband lived but all the sons went their own ways after his death. As of now, I don’t even care about their whereabouts.” Haridevi, now, has found shelter in the periphery of Bhadrakali temple. She eats wherever she gets to and whoever invites her. She usually eats at a nearby hotel which does not charge her anything.

Generally, women who do not have their husbands have worse conditions than that of the men whose wives are deceased. Their days of sorrow start right after they become physically weaker and that they can no longer make an earning and help financially.

According to researcher, Tej Adhikari, the senior citizens in the rural areas fully depend upon their family in comparison to those living in the urban areas. Those in the urban areas generally tend to engage themselves in household chores and babysitting their grandchildren. While, the economically stronger citizens involve themselves in religious activities, the elderly women from a relatively poorer background have a hard time living with problems fulfilling their basic needs like food and shelter.

The government of Nepal has declared the population above 60 years of age as elderly. According to the data of 2068 B.S., 8.13% of the population is over 60 in average. According to a recent survey done by an organization, the population is increasing by 3.5% annually. The government has been providing Rs. 500 monthly as a social security allowance to the elderly citizens, which is very minimal as per the activists working in the favor of the rights of the senior citizens. Even the facilities solely meant for them in the public vehicles have also not been yet implemented.

The younger generations might be physically healthy but it is the older generations that are the experienced ones. Their experiences can help a lot to the youths. However, due to the changing time and the increasing like for a nuclear family, the lives of the senior citizens are at stake. On top of that, moreover, it has adversely impacted the lives of the elderly women. They are left homeless, uncared and unloved. Therefore, it is the duty and responsibility of every family to look after their parents, especially mothers. But on the contrary, they are considered as a burden because of their degrading health. Hence, if they are provided with proper medical care and treatment, almost half of the problems get solved.

Source: Himalaya Times (Nepali Daily), September 06, 2013. 
Translated by : Janu Rai

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Chitwan, Bhadra 18,

The elderly Bhujel couple, 89-year-old Pabahadur Bhujel and his wife 79-year-old Belimaya, of Dhading, Taparsu, finds it hard to forget about the cave they lived in and still reminisces about the past. They now think of their belongings that they left in the cave before coming to reside in Divyasewa Niketan at Churiyamai-3, Ratomate, Makwanpur. Pabahadur said, “There were oil, spices, salt, some rice and maize and wheat flour in the cave,” and wished to go to the cave to observe the cave as well as bring in their belongings.

After living a lonely life in cave because of poverty, they are now friends with other elderly in the old age home; Bhawanath Pandey, Masinimaya Shrestha, Saraswati Niraula and Tilrupa Gautam. There are other two elderly Lamas there in the ashram. Smoking is prohibited in the ashram; therefore, they want to visit the cave for to quench their thirst of smoking too. “They give us sweets instead of cigarettes,” said Belimaya with chocolate in her hands, “how can this replace the addiction of cigarettes.”

The cave they lived in before was quite open and unsafe. “We have beds and life is more easy and comfortable here; however, we still love the care,” Belimaya said. She continued, “It is hard to forget the place that gave us shelter when we had no place to go.”

They ended up living in the cave of Dhading, Dhaireni, after becoming homeless two years ago. “Someone from our own village bought our land but did not give us a penny,” Pabahadur said, “and we became homeless.”

They do not have to beg for food here in ashram as opposed to when living in the cave. Fulmaya Basnet, another elderly in the ashram cooks for everyone there.  Mina Waiba who also looks after the ashram helps everyone out there.

The couple, who had found shelter in the cave after they had nowhere to go, was rescued by Buddhiprasad Regmi of Kathmandu and retired Gurkha, Purnabahadur Gurung, on Bhadra 7, and was rehabilitated at Divyasewa Niketan located in Ratomate, Makwanpur.

The ashram is under construction with an aim to provide shelter to 200 elderly. There are nine elderly now along with the Bhujel couple. The ashram, in the midst of the jungle, is under construction with well facilitated building, hall and hospital according to the Director, Tejram Niraula. After working as an army engineer all his life, he now wants to dedicate his life in social service.

Belimaya, the ninth wife.

It has not been long since Pabahadur and Belimaya met each other.  After the death of her husband, it was hard for Belimaya to meet ends while her three children were busy in their own lives. She had to beg for food after not being able to live with them. On the other hand, Pabahadur, still childless even after marrying eight wives, was working alone in mill. “I had soft corner for her when she asked for food every day.” When his Sahu suggested him to live together with her since both of them were alone, he heeded his Sahu’s words, sold his house so as to eat good food as he had no children. Sadly, he got no money out of it.” He further added that he was not given any money telling that the loan taken by his father got nil now. For Belimaya, Pabahadur holds a place higher than the stone god. However, Pabahadur’s favorite is Bishnumaya out of all nine wives. “The first marriage happened when I was still a child. I was unaware about what marriage was and hence it did not work out.” He said, “I married Bishnumaya after liking her. She passed away after 15 years of marriage without bearing any child.” “After that, I married six wives but no one lived more than a year or two.”

Source: Nagarik Daily , September 04, 2013.
Translated by: Janu Rai 

 

Alzheimer's - an increasing problem.

Alzheimer’s – an increasing problem.

Scientists in the US have made a significant breakthrough in discovering what triggers age-related memory loss – possibly leading to new treatments for the condition.

The findings show that age-related memory loss is a different condition to pre-Alzheimer’s and could one day be treatable.

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center examined the brains of people of varying ages, who had passed away with no indication of neurologic disease.

It was found that a specific gene in a part of the brain’s memory centre does not function effectively in older people, as it doesn’t create enough of an important protein, RbAp48.

This area of the brain, the dentate gyrus, had already been considered particularly susceptible to ageing, although it is a different neural section to the one in which Alzheimer’s forms.

The researchers tested the theory that a lack of RbAp48 leads to memory loss by studying mice, which also become forgetful in later life.

The scientists discovered that reducing levels of the protein in healthy young mice caused them to get lost in mazes and perform poorly in other memory tests, in the same way old mice do.

Importantly, they found the memory loss was reversible by giving the mice more of the protein.

Nobel laureate and study leader Dr Eric Kandel said ‘it is the best evidence so far’ that age-related memory loss is not comparable to early Alzheimer’s.

Columbia neurologist and study author Dr Scott Small added: ‘As we want to live longer and stay engaged in a cognitively complex world, I think even mild age-related memory decline is meaningful.

‘It opens up a whole avenue of investigation to now try to identify interventions.’

Age UK charity director general Michelle Mitchell said the charity welcomed the distinction between age-related cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

‘A better understanding about how our cognitive abilities change as we get older is vital in order to ensure that people get the best advice and where available treatments. The key now is to find out more about why these changes occur and develop appropriate interventions,’ she said.

‘Age UK funds research at the University of Edinburgh called  The Disconnected Mind project, which aims to establish the key factors that affect how well or poorly people’s thinking skills change as they age.

‘The findings will be used to inform health and social care policy, provide advice on the mental health of older people and help to improve the diagnosis and treatment of age-related cognitive decline.’

Source: Press Association/Age UK

 

The Elderly and Differently-abled ward in Bir Hospital, Kathmandu.

The Elderly and Differently-abled ward in Bir Hospital, Kathmandu.

The free health services meant to provide to the senior and differently-able citizens initiated on Baishakh this year by Bir Hospital did not even last for a month. The early monsoon destroyed the ward and has not been used till date. Instead of providing service, we can see a notice board that says “the service has been closed for repair and renovation for the time being.”

The elderly and the differently-able citizens are forced to climb the flight of stairs to the four-storey building of the hospital due to this. It is unclear as to when the services will start again. The medical pharmacies around the vicinity have started throwing garbage in front of the ward due to the service delay.

Everyday around 30 elderly along with differently-able patients come to get health services. Kathmandu municipality has still not yet made any efforts to renovate the ward that was made conjoined with the emergency department of the hospital and hence the health services could not be reinitiated. Director of the hospital, Dr. Bulanda Thapa said, “due to its poor foundation and make, the ward did not survive even a month. Our request for repair has not been heard as of yet.” According to him, no human lives were lost at the time of the havoc.

The ward along with the hospital’s main gate was providing free medical services to the elderly and differently-able patients and the latter were benefited due to this. According to Director Thapa, 30 such patients used to visit every day for medical attention on an average.

Before this, it was quite difficult for them to stand in line for hours for tickets as well as to climb the stairs. These problems were solved as soon as the ward started its services; however, it is the same scenario as before said Dr. Dhrubaprasad Singh of the emergency department.

Laxman Aryal, municipal chief said the process for renovation has been started right after Bir Hospital sent a proposal letter for the same. According to him, the renovation work is going on and that very soon, the services will start again. “Due to fiscal year and some changes in-between, there were some delay,” said he, “but we will in no time handover the ward to the hospital as we are rapidly working on it.”

The ward started its free medical services with the start of the New Year, which included all the medical services and treatment along with free medicines. Because of a large number of patients in the hospital from all over the nation, the service was started its separate free treatment service with an aim to provide effective and convenient services to the elderly said Director, Dr. Thapa. Elderly citizens above 70 years of age can only be facilitated with the service.

Senior citizens coming for free services should submit their identity card along with citizenship and elderly allowance document. The services include free x-ray along with blood and other laboratory tests. The medicines will be provided free of cost by Christina Dispensary (free medicines provided by the government of Germany) after the referral by the physicians involved informed Director Thapa.

Source: Nagarik Daily, August 28th, 2013.
Translated by : Janu Rai

August 24

An organization representing senior citizens plans to draw the attention of the government towards the plight of the elders by organizing a conference.

“The government has not given due priority to senior citizens,” Chatra Bahadur Pradhan, general secretary of the National Senior Citizens’ Federation, said, highlighting the need to draw its attention towards the plight of the aged population. Representatives of the organizations working for the welfare of senior citizens will highlight the problems facing them at the conference, which will take place in Itahari on September 17.

Pradhan lamented that laws meant for the welfare of senior citizens have remained unimplemented. Senior citizens, whose population is 2.2 million, feel that the government has neglected them. They lack security and respect. Though they have have put their problems before the government through several forums, the government seems least bothered when it comes to solving them.

At a time when the country is gearing up for Constituent Assembly elections, the federation feels it is the right time to press political parties to address concerns of senior citizens as the latter are also a constituency that the parties cannot ignore.Through the conference, the federation aims to bring to light problems facing the senior citizens and draw the government’s attention towards the same. It aims to make the government formulate policies and implement laws meant to ensure welfare of the elderly as soon as possible.

The organizations participating in the meet will highlight experiences and problems of the elderly. Through the conference, the federation also aims to strengthen the participating organizations at the district level.The meet will focus on the attitude of youngsters towards senior citizens and the role the youth can play to ensure the seniors’ welfare.

Source: Himalayan News Service Kathmandu, August 24, 2013

Taplejung, August 21.

Only 10 percent of the differently- abled people in the district are availing of the facilities provided by the state. Out of the some one thousand differently-abled people in the district, only 100 are said to be getting the allowance provided by the state, said Nima Sherpa, President of the Disabled Uplift Society, Taplejung.

Sherpa said 25 people are getting the allowance provided to people who are fully disabled while 75 are getting the allowances provided to the partially disabled. He said many people with the disabilities in the district were not getting the allowances as a certain quota of allowances was fixed for the district which was not enough.

He said 982 people with the disabilities are registered with the society in the district. Of them 426 are women. The highest number of disabled people is in phungling VDC, the district headquarters, with 71 disabled people.

Source: The Rising Nepal-August 21st, 2013

Translated by: Suman Thapa

An infographic on Elderly Nursing Care in America by the Nursing School Hub.

Golden Years
Source: Nursing School Hub
Direct Link: http://www.nursingschoolhub.com/golden-years/

In Nepal, although the ageing population is increasing rapidly, the awareness on the issue among the public has not been able to catch up. People are still unaware of the speed of population ageing, its effects, and challenges surrounding it. Unlike developed countries, a majority of the population still lives in rural areas without access to most of the information, and the population with access to such information does not seem to show interest in it as the nation has other important issues to deal with. A major problem for senior citizens in a developing country like Nepal is Negligence. There are no strong rules or acts against everyday domestic elder abuse, rights of senior citizen or any strong development efforts for ever increasing older population.

With this in mind, Reaping Hope aims to spread the information and raise awareness about the speed of population ageing, elder abuse, neglect and violence against older persons, and more generally, about the experience of being old in our changing world.

Please circulate this video to your circle!!!!

 

June 15th, 2013, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD).

Documentary Show

Documentary Show

A Charity Party and the premier of the documentary by Reaping Hope, ‘Youth for Old’; was arranged by R.H on the occasion of WEAAD. The short 10 minute documentary film covers the issues of the ageing population and the situation of senior citizens in Nepal. The program started with the premier of the documentary followed by a Dance party and the video was repeated along the screen in the venue throughout the night.

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Purple colored lights were used to mark the WEAAD during the party.

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Thank you Stefan Heintjes and Dominiquee for helping us out in the WEAAD program and not forgetting Dj Niroj and Dj Raw-Neat for volunteering as the Dj s and Himalayan Pizza for providing us with the venue.

Thank you everyone who attended and made the party worthwhile.We will update the names of the sponsors of the documentary during the release of the documentary online. Keep tuned for updates.
Visit Facebook Page for more photos.

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