Thiruvananthapuram: The Social Justice Department of Kerala has informed that a Senior Citizen Cell will be established to ensure supply of food and medicine to the elderly people in the state.
Health Minister K. K. Shailaja stated that the department has taken the decision to launch the cell for providing special care and treatment to people above 60 years as they are regarded as a high-risk category of coronavirus infection.
In every district, senior citizen cell will be managed under the leadership of district social justice officers, probation officers, technical assistants and ICDS programme officers.
“The team of officials in each district will collect the details of the quarantined elderly people, those who are living alone and those struggling to get medicines. They will take necessary action to solve the grievances of the senior citizens,” informed the minister.
The minister warned that people who are taking medicine for other diseases and respiratory problems must take special care while taking preventive measures against coronavirus. Such people should strictly maintain social distancing as they are more prone to the infection.
“In Kerala, over 1.60 lakh people are under observation at their houses. Aged people in these houses should take special care to avoid infection. Elderly people should not make any close contact with the people who are under observation for coronavirus,” added the minister.
At the same time, the minister noted that over 2 lakh senior citizens in the state are living alone. Compared to elderly people in families, problems of lonely aged people do not get much attention from relatives or neighbours.
In view of this, the social justice department and women and child development department have been jointly planning and implementing new projects, said the minister.
“As part of the efforts to protect over 55 lakh senior citizens in Kerala, anganwadi workers will reach out to each one of them through phone within a week. The anganwadi workers will enquire about whether they are having any issues to get food and medicine. Medicine will be supplied to the needy from the primary health centres and food from the community kitchen,” informed the minister.
In Kerala, 22,000 old aged people are living in 604 old age homes under voluntary organizations and 16 in government old age homes. Government is planning to supply a kit of food products worth Rs 1,000.
The Health Minister informed that two ICDS supervisors are assigned to inquire about the daily life of each inmate in these old age homes.
“The ICDS supervisors will contact every old age home to confirm the safety of each inmate. At present, 97 Vayomithram centres are functioning in Kerala under the Vayomithram project. These centres have been supplying essential medicines to elderly people. Those who are having issues to get medicine must contact ICDS supervisors or Anganwadi workers,” informed the minister.