Covid scourge: Elderly shunned, left in old age homes in | Live Newspaper Hyderabad

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A doctor checks an elderly patient at an old age home in Hyderabad

HYDERABAD: Reeling under the second Covid-19 wave, the darker side of human nature is coming to the fore as an increasing number of elderly patients are being dumped and forgotten in old age homes across Hyderabad.
Many Homes are now receiving four to five cases a week against one or two in a month during the first wave.
“The current dire situation of Covid-19 has proved to be very difficult for most senior citizens in the city. In the last couple of months, we have seen quite a few cases where people dropped their parents or relatives at our facility as soon as they contracted Covid-19 and never returned to see them,” said Dr Bongu Ramakrishna, who runs Mother Teresa Elder Care Centre at Karkhana.
“The police are also bringing in senior citizens who are being abandoned after they contracted Covid-19,” Ramakrishna, who has lots of inmates who cannot pay a rupee, said.
There are at least five patients at one old age home in the city now, who are still awaiting their families, who have cited various reasons for their inability to take them back.
In one such heart-wrenching incident, 87-year-old inmate Anjamma, 87, (name changed), recently died waiting to hear from her family members.
“The family members would call and ask about her health in the beginning but stopped calling after we informed them that her condition was deteriorating due to the after-effects of the coronavirus disease. After a few days, when we informed them about her death, they asked us to perform her final rites,” said Dr Ramakrishna.
At least half a dozen old age homes that TOI spoke with confirmed a sharp increase in numbers of senior citizens being dropped at their facilities.
Mohammad Abdul Wasif, general secretary, Fathima old age home in Falaknuma said, “We are receiving continuous calls, at least four to five calls in a day, about senior citizens looking for a place to stay. There is also an increase in admissions because people do not want to keep the elderly at home if they contract Covid-19.”
Wasif said he is running out of space as they have a capacity of 55 people and currently there are 46 inmates.
“There is also staff crunch and it is very difficult to manage when the inmates fall sick,” said Wasif.
Shyam Kumar, advocacy officer, HelpAge India said the overall experience reflects a growing sense of vulnerability and uncertainty emerging as the common thread. “There are also cases where families have not come to take the bodies of their parents,” Kumar added.

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