The man can barely talk, and appears to have injuries on his body

This old man was rescued from Bengalurus streets but life looks bleak for him
news Elderly Friday, May 13, 2016 - 17:55

By Sahana Maddali 

Around midnight on May 10, an elderly man was wandering around outside an apartment complex in Bengaluru in an incoherent state. Finding him there at that hour, a resident from the apartment called the local police who then shifted him to an old age home outside the city.

After much confusion, the Kothanur police officials, took him to Auto Raja Ashram in Dodda Gubbi village, located a few kilometres away.

As he sat on a sofa at the ashram on Thursday morning, Obalappa looked lost. Dressed in striped shorts and a half-sleeved vest, Obalappa’s legs indicated signs of an old injury, his left foot looked swollen. His tall, lean frame was hunched over.

For two days since his arrival his name was the only thing he could articulate. He did try to communicate, when I asked him some questions, but was not able to convey what he wanted to say.

Gesturing for a pen and paper with his dark hands, a toothless Obalappa struggled to talk. Given a pen and paper on which the English alphabet was written, he attempted to point out the letters of his name with trembling fingers. He managed to say that he had studied up to SSLC. Asked if he was from Bengaluru, Obalappa shook his head. His response sounded like Madanapalle, which is in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh.

Manager of the men's division of the Auto Raja Ashram, James told The News Minute that they had not yet had him examined by a doctor and did not know if he suffered from any illnesses. Obalappa, has conveyed that he has four children and a wife. But it may near well be impossible to find out more and contact his family, if he has any.

Like Auto Raja home, old-age homes all over Bengaluru have seen an increase in admissions to their facilities.

A staff member of Shri Sai Old Home on Pipeline Road who declined to be named, says that in the past five years, the number of people being admitted to the home had gone up.

Elderly with poor health conditions need experienced nurses and are viewed as a burden. Childless or family-less elderly have no refuge but old-age homes. “Problems in families are usually due to the generation gap,” she said, because of which, the children sent their parents to old age homes.

The woman who took Obalappa to the police spoke to The News Minute, but declined to be named because she did not want the attention. “He seemed lost, but harmless. It was a normal act of humanity to help him in his situation,” she says.

However, humanity appears to be a rare commodity when it comes to the aged. There are nearly 104 million elderly persons (aged 60 years or above) in India; 53 million females and 51 million males. The report does not have a figure on how many people are in old age homes. But even in their own homes, there studies show that many elderly men and women are abused or face neglect at the hands of their children and other family members.

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