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KATHMANDU: Senior citizens residing at the government-run old-age home near the Pashupatinath Temple are facing difficulties due to a shortage of caregivers.
A total of 230 senior citizens — 125 females and 105 males — are living there. Thirty-two of them are differently-abled.
Mohan Kumar Basnet, chief of the old-age home, which is under the Social Welfare Council, says, “The centre does not have enough caregivers for the elders. Volunteers providing help are having a hard time because they are spread too thin.”

“We have not written to the ministry, but have made verbal requests to it to provide caregivers,” he says referring to the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare.
Though the center is supposed to have 21 government employees to look after senior citizens, it currently has 15 government staff — three office staff, a nurse, five kitchen staff, three kitchen helpers, two sweepers and a health assistant from the Kathmandu district public health office. Ace Travels has provided five sanitation workers to the old-age facility.

“We have not received any written application from the old-age home demanding staffers, though they have made verbal requests for the same. We have entertained the request and will provide caregivers by the next fiscal if the ministry approves it,” an official says.
For appointment of staffers at the old-age facility, the SWC has to submit an application to the social welfare ministry requesting it to conduct a survey.

After receiving the application, the Ministry of Finance and the social welfare ministry conduct the survey and forward its findings to the Ministry of General Administration, which in turn appoints the staffers. The finance ministry releases the budget after that.
This year, the government has provided Rs 115 million to the center. A staffer at the facility says the government-allocated annual budget is enough to purchase daily commodities and pay salary to staffers. The facility faces cash crunch during medical emergencies, the staffer says.

“We do not go for donation campaigns and do not accept cash donations. Money put in donation boxes is used to foot the medical bill. Whenever elders are admitted to hospitals, we ask hospital authorities for support.”

Source: The Himalayan Times, (January 9th, 2014)

Compiled by: Janu Rai

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