Non-governmental organizations or NGOs have traditionally played multiple roles in society. They have been direct implementing agents, partners and catalysts. One of the key areas some organizations have contributed to elder health care and wellbeing. This guide explains the importance and role of these organizations in the society and important programs have been making changes in the lives of the elderly.
NGOs as Catalysts of Change
Many organizations have been playing an important role as catalysts in the comprehension of issues and getting all the stakeholders involved. This especially helps in identifying and addressing the needs of those sections of society who are in need of most help – the elderly. It is not always possible for policymakers to be present everywhere and can have limitations on their powers. This is where NGOs can play the role of catalysts.
Reducing Socio-Economic Weaknesses of Elderly
Some of the NGOs organize elder self help groups to help address the vulnerabilities of the elderly. Such organizations work with the elders to create sustainable self-help groups. Such groups receive financial support to invest in assets that support their livelihoods. The assets can include agricultural equipment and various processing units to support the groups.
Some NGOs invest in developing skills and knowledge of volunteers. Such professionals are trained in building institutions and groups for the welfare and wellbeing of the elderly from financially weaker sections.
Health Check-up Camps
Some reputed non profit organization also organize health check up camps on a regular basis to provide free or affordable medical support to the elderly. Such camps are organized in both rural and urban locations. These can be both specialized and general health camps.
- General Check up Camps: A general check up camp involves general physicians, assistants and pharmacists and works as the first point of health evaluation.
- Specialized Check up Camps: Such more sophisticated check up camps have specialized doctors including ophthalmologists, orthopedics, gynecologists, and dentists besides general physicians. Such camps provide free diagnosis and treatments to elderly patients.
Besides helping the elderly with healthcare, many NGOs create ageing centers where the old can find a larger community. Many older persons lead a life of solitude after their work life comes to an end. Such a stage can lead to feelings of loneliness and loss of self-confidence in many elders, which further complicates their mental and physical health. But reputed NGOs are working on addressing this issue by bringing together such elderly and creating their community in ageing centers.
There are programs where senior citizens are supported and encouraged to create small groups or associations. Such small groups comprising of like-minded elders get involved in community work, thus providing them new avenues of engagement.
Thus, social work organizations are playing a crucial role in society. Besides elderly care and support, NGOs can also work in enriching and enhancing the lives of others in the society. These organizations can reach places where the policymakers may not always be able to reach with their programs, ensuring that no one is left without support.