“Dignity Foundation” Bringing AGING IN INDIA to the fore
Mrs. Alka Damle has initiated the 50+ Club in our neighbourhood. With the sole purpose of assessing what can be done for the senior citizens community in Goa she co-ordinated an interactive session with a veteran pioneer Dr. Sheilu Sreenivasan who is in the forefront of ‘AGING IN INDIA’.
Dr. Sheilu Sreenivasan is the founder president of Dignity Foundation headquartered in Mumbai, with Chapters set up in 6 cities across the country. Her passion for the cause of senior citizens launched the organisation in 1995.. An MA in Psychiatric Social Work from Madras University, she took her Ph.D. from Mumbai University in Sociology.
She gave a presentation on the “Setting up of Productive Ageing Opportunities in Goa,” at the Kala Academy on 13th Aug ’14.
This meeting was an exploratory exercise attended by subscribers of the Dignity magazine, invitees of the co-ordinator Ms. Alka Damle, and the general public.
Dr. Sheilu informed that a model that has worked very well in Ahmedabad and Pune, will be replicated in Goa. This model envisages a team of senior citizen volunteers who will manage a help line and be on call 24 X 7 through a call transfer facility. These volunteers therefore need only commitment of time and can operate from their homes.
In the next two to three weeks a team of trainers from Mumbai will conduct sessions in Goa. The training will focus on issues of abuse, loneliness, need for trusted information with regards to lawyers, doctors and physicians.
This training will equip the volunteers with the correct skill sets. They also propose setting up “Enrichment Centres”. A trained administrator will run these structured programmes. The Dignity Foundation aims to st up these centres in every taluka of Goa.
All complex cases will be referred to a very specialised advisory Board comprising one senior lawyer, a retired police officer and a psychological counsellor.
“Dignity on Wheels ” will reach out to elderly in communities that are in more inaccessible locations of Goa.
Many of the elderly have several productive years left in them. They will therefore be assisted to find second career jobs appropriate to their abilities.
Dignity Foundation’s raison d’être and its future:
Dignity Foundation provides the crucial Social Support system to the elderly who are lonely, depressed or abused by children. For the first time in India, the occurrence of the phenomenon of Elder Abuse as a large scale phenomenon was identified by Sheilu Sreenivasan, whose groundbreaking finding of its occurrence was corroborated by a series of murder and violence on the elderly in Mumbai. Dignity HELPLINE registers on an average 10 calls daily from elders in abused condition. Dignity Foundation volunteers also address threat to senior citizens’ security.
On the other hand, able-bodied senior citizens find plenty of opportunities by becoming a member of the Foundation. Through the magazine Dignity promotes the concept of productive aging and actively persuades seniors to get involved in Second Careers or devote time to community activities.
- To create an enlightened society in which senior citizens feel secure, confident and valued, and can live with dignity.
- We are committed to changing the way people look at ageing in India. We enable senior citizens to lead active lives through easy access to trusted information, opportunities for productive ageing and social support services.
The goals of the Foundation are twofold.
- To rid the minds of the senior citizens of the fear that age means decline and retirement means loneliness, isolation, loss of prestige and so on. The Foundation works assiduously to re-instil in the elderly minds the confidence that age and productivity are not mutually exclusive. It does this by utilising their experience and maturity in activities that serve the needs of the community.
- The other goal is achieved by attending to the needs of the elderly whose social support systems have weakened or are non-existent.