Economy

Taxpayers to foot bills for elderly home, medical care

elders

Taxpayers will foot the cost of providing homes and medical care for elderly Kenyans if the National Assembly supports a Bill passed in the Senate. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Taxpayers will foot the cost of providing homes and medical care for elderly Kenyans if the National Assembly supports a Bill passed in the Senate.
  • National and county governments will be required to establish residential care centres, social centres and other facilities for the care of older people.
  • Both levels of government will be compelled to partner in the development of physical infrastructure for the care, rehabilitation and provision of basic services to the elderly.

Taxpayers will foot the cost of providing homes and medical care for elderly Kenyans if the National Assembly supports a Bill passed in the Senate.

National and county governments will be required to establish residential care centres, social centres and other facilities for the care of older people.

Both levels of government will be compelled to partner in the development of physical infrastructure for the care, rehabilitation and provision of basic services to the elderly.

Kenyans who have attained 60 years and are unable to care for themselves have often been neglected will qualify for the State benefits.

The beneficiaries will live in State sponsored homes, which will be built to accommodate undisclosed number of people.

The cost of constructing the homes for the elderly across the 47 counties has not been disclosed.

ABOVE 70 YEARS

Currently, wealthy Kenyans pay for the upkeep of their elderly at specially designated private homes.

The State runs a bi-monthly stipend targeting citizens above the age of 70 years who are entitled to a Sh2,000 allowance.

The stipend, considered a non-contributory social pension for the elderly, is implemented by the Ministry of East African Community, Labour and Social Protection.

Parliament is scrutinising the Care and Protection of Older Members of Society Bill, which further places an obligation on the national government to facilitate access to social, financial, legal and other services by older people.

Senators passed the Bill and forwarded it to the National Assembly for concurrence since it is a money Bill.

Senior citizens have petitioned Parliament to make provisions in the Bill compelling the government to provide homes and medical care for them.

The petitioners further want MPs to make it mandatory in law for citizens to provide for their parents, failure to which they should be convicted.

Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi directed lawmakers to include the petition in the Bill that is under scrutiny by the Labour and Social Welfare committee.

“This petition and the proposed Bill by the petitioners stand committed to the same committee for consideration along with the Bill originating from the Senate. The committee is requested to consider the Petition and report its findings to the House,” Mr Muturi said in a communication to the House.

CULTURAL VALUES

The proposed law seeks to put in place a framework for the empowerment and protection of the elderly and the maintenance of their well-being, safety and security.

Article 57 of the Constitution requires the State to ensure older persons live in dignity.

The proposed law requires each county government to establish and maintain residential homes for care and support of older people.

The Bill stipulates that an older person has the right to reside at home for as long as is possible and benefit from family and community care and protection in accordance with the cultural values.