Remember ME - You Me and Dementia

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Ever since its launch in 2005, the Elder Line (1090), a dedicated helpline for senior citizens run by Mumbai Police, has received positive reviews from most Mumbaikars. However, 84-year-old M Ramesh, a retired businessman from Mahim, begs to differ. Ramesh, who lives in his seventh floor flat in Suraj Venture building in Mahim, has been trying in vain to register with the helpline for the past two-and-a-half months.

According to Ramesh, he has made dozens of calls not only to the helpline but even to the local Mahim police station requesting for a registration form. But his repeated requests have only fallen on deaf ears.

Ramesh, who is unable to walk without support, first made a call to the helpline when he read several newspaper articles praising the helpline.

First call
He says, “I read that the policemen are very polite and visit the elderly regularly and help senior citizens like me in various ways. I was very pleased and immediately called the helpline to register myself as I am very old and my son is often travelling and out of the house for days. I only have the company of my daughter-in-law’s mother who is 60 years old. However, my experience in the past two-and-a-half months has made me believe that the city police cares a damn about people like us.” Ramesh says when he first called the helpline in February he couldn’t get through as he could not understand the helpline’s computerised message. When he somehow managed to speak to a policeman, who was very polite, he told him he would have to come to the Police Commissionerate at Crawford Market or go to the nearest police station to get himself registered. When Ramesh said it would be difficult for him to go to Mahim police station as he was unable to walk, the policeman suggested that he ask Mahim police station to send a constable to his house.

‘Cannot help you’

Ramesh immediately made a call to Mahim police station with the request but the duty officer told him that he had to come to the police station. When Ramesh insisted that there were provisions for a constable to be sent, the policeman said there were no constables available at that time.

“After that, every time I made a call they kept making one excuse or the other. They would say, ‘Try to come to the police station and we will do it immediately’.

When I persisted with my request they would talk rudely and sometimes bang the phone. The mental agony that I have gone through for a simple registration has left me very bitter towards the city police. I read in an interview of Mumbai Police Commissioner Hassan Gafoor that he was especially concerned about senior citizens. It doesn’t seem so,” Ramesh said.

Senior Inspector at Mahim police station, V M Latpate said, “I am not aware of this and cannot comment as I am out of station at present.”


Shame on Mumbai Police - Helpage India should inquire in this matter and if required get themself out of this mess.The Elderhelpline was stared with big bang and it was much publisied event for Mumbai police.

Why not there be 4 digit National Elder Helpline run by NGO in assocaition with police and other agencies.

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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