A day care centre in Khalanga is a blessing for senior citizensThe idea behind the centre is to create an environment of learning and sharing for senior citizens, say authorities.
Laxmi Rudra Kafle of Pandabgufa in Kanaksundari goes to the Senior Citizens Day Care Centre in Khalanga every day. He goes to the centre in the morning and stays throughout the day. “I come here early in the morning and read books, newspapers, and socialise with other members here. It is refreshing to have these people to keep me company,” said Kafle.
Mansur Bhandari, 80, of Bhandaribada in Chandan Nath, who is a former Nepal Army soldier, also goes to the centre on a regular basis. “We have like-minded people here. We talk about our experiences and our lives in general. Everyone is happy to be here,” said Bhandari.
On a daily basis, 60 senior citizens gather and socialise at the centre, which came into operation earlier this year. The idea behind the centre is to create an environment of learning and sharing for senior citizens, for them to get together, talk, and play music, say the centre’s officials.
Tirtharaj Bharati, chairman of the association, said that they have developed the centre as a community for senior citizens to spend their free time in a fun way. He said, “The centre has been established to help senior citizens interact with other people. This will hopefully help them come out of their homes and spend their time productively.”
Senior citizens often find themselves aloof from society—with younger family members busy with their own lives. And because of that they feel lonely and isolated. Yet, there is a lack of facilities and assistance for the elderly in most areas across the country. The centre in Khalanga, however, aims to change that—with plans of expansion in the pipeline.
“We plan to expand in the future to other local units. We also plan to operate a bus service to pick and drop our members to and from their homes,” said Bharati.
Munish Chandra Neupane, an elderly citizen, who walks for two hours to reach the centre from his house in Guthichaur, said that the centre is a blessing for people like him who are looking for ways to engage themselves in learning new things. He said, “We are learning to play musical instruments here. We also talk about our problems and take each other’s suggestions. It feels like we have a community and that we belong.”
Apart from playing music and reading, the members can also engage in playing board games or watching television, says Bharati. “I don’t have anything to do in my house. I come here and interact with everybody, and learn a new thing or two every day,” said Tularaj Neupane.
To manage the centre, Karnali Province has allocated Rs 200,000 this fiscal year. Arjun Singh Kathayat, one of the ward chairmen of the municipality, said that they are in the process of asking the municipality for a budget to purchase a bus for the centre. He said, “The establishment of the centre has helped senior citizens live a life of quality and comfort. They are making new friends and have someone to talk to.”