‘Elder Line’ rings in hope for senior citizens


India’s first pan-India toll-free helpline – 14567 – called ‘Elder Line’ was officially launched on Tuesday by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

It aims to provide information, guidance, emotional support, and in cases of abuse, immediate assistance too.

Senior citizens can call in to seek clarity on pension issues, legal issues and even facilitate rescue of homeless elderly.

The intent of ‘Elder Line’, according to the Ministry, is to provide all senior citizens, or their well-wishers, with one platform across the country to get information and guidance on problems that they face on a day-to-day basis.

Already 17 States have opened the Elder Line and others are in the pipeline. According to official estimates, in the last four months alone, in the States where the service is operational, over two lakh calls have been received, and the concerns of 30,000 seniors resolved. Nearly 40 per cent of these calls pertained to guidance on vaccines; around 23 per cent of the calls were related to pension.

The pandemic has escalated the financial, physical and mental problems that the elderly face, with loneliness leading to a lot of emotional trauma.

Response team

“Initiatives like a helpline number is a step in the right direction. A nationwide helpline number has tremendous potential to reach to possibly every elder in every corner of the country,” said Saumyajit Roy, Co-founder and CEO of Emoha Eldercare. However, he pointed out that these calls will need to have a very alert response team who can attend and address the queries that get logged in. The focus must be on quality of responses, he stressed.

According to the Longitudinal Ageing Study of India, India will have over 319 million elderly by 2050 compared to the 120 million now.

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