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Friday, 25 December 2020

Convert Indira Home into group facility for mentally ill, says assn

Kaveesha Kohli

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24

Citizens for Inclusive Living, a city-based association, today urged the UT Administration to convert Indira Holiday Home in Sector 24 into a group home for persons with mental disabilities.

UT Adviser Manoj Parida, however, said the Home would remain an old-age home as the elderly and persons with mental disabilities "have conflicting needs". He said facilities for people with mental illnesses would be set up at Cheshire Home in Sector 21 and the GMCH-32.

In its statement, the association of mental health activists and parents of people with mental illnesses said the Home - spread over nearly 4 acres - could house both groups. It also emphasised that there was a significant overlap between the care and support facilities for the elderly and those with mental illnesses.

"At present, the Home hosts around 10 people. It can house almost 100 people through its two dormitories and 15 rooms," said mental health advocate Aditya Rametra.

The association said "Chandigarh is, unfortunately, lacking in decent assisted living facilities for persons with mental disabilities. Persons with mental disabilities feel excluded from the mainstream, and good living options within the city are virtually non-existent."

DR Paul, father to a 29-year-old with mental illness, said Indira Holiday Home provided the perfect place for community living as it was centrally located, safe and surrounded by boundary wall. It had space for vocational and recreational activities.

Paul said places such as Cheshire Home would be unable to house enough people and did not provide the needed therapeutic and occupational facilities.

The association said: "The Home was directly under the UT Administration, we are requesting the Governor and the Adviser to designate it as an inclusive community living space."

Parida maintained that the ultimate call in the matter lay with the Governor. Paul said the parents had not been able to get an appointment with the Governor despite "over 20 phone calls and several e-mails."

Ageing parents stress that in the absence of community living facilities, they wonder what would happen to their children after they were no longer able to care for them.

"My child needs monitoring and support. I don't believe it is fair to burden siblings with caregiving responsibilities. I fear what will happen to him after me," said 58-year-old educator Damanjeet Kaur.

from The Tribune

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