Compassionate care when old age, leprosy, and rejection strike
Many elderly persons affected by leprosy are rejected by their families and ostracised by the community because of leprosy-caused disabilities and the stigma attached to the disease. They have no means of livelihood and no one to look after them. The Leprosy Mission Trust India (TLMTI) provides them geriatric care in residential settings in its five Snehalayas (Snehalaya is a Hindi term which means House of Love).
Leprosy takes a heavy toll on persons affected by the disease. Stigma and/or disability impact their lives in many ways. Leprosy affects their emotions, thoughts, behaviour, relationships, and livelihood. Even people cured of the disease face stigma and discrimination. In many cases, their own families reject them lest the other family members face the social consequences of leprosy-related stigma. It becomes all the more difficult if they are elderly persons, having crippling deformities that make them dependent on others for carrying out activities of daily living.
Many elderly persons affected by leprosy are rejected by their families and ostracised by the community, and they have no means of livelihood and no one to look after them.
TLMTI provides them holistic care for their physical, mental and spiritual well-being. The average age of Snehalaya residents is 75 years. Many of them are living in the Snehalayas for over 40 years. Presently, there are 90 residents (49 men and 41 women) living in the Snehalayas.