Today is the day of Elderly and let me write a few observations about the senior citizens. Leading a dignified, harmonious and respectable existence in the autumn of one’s life is not so easy in these days of consumerism, competition and the fashion of nuclear families.
Elderly citizens need better physical infrastructure as most of them suffer from many infirmities. These infirmities are of both body and mind. A healthy soul lives in a physically fit body. Health of elderly citizens especially in India suffers because of decreased mobility and almost nil engagements. Most of them lead a life which for them has lost its meaning and they keep on waiting for the knocking at the door of the God of Death. This negativity is killing and terribly worrisome. This attitude is reflected in the elderly because when they were in their youthful days they never planned about the future, which should be spent in a meaningful manner.
One of the most problematic ailments of elderly people is a nagging attitude that results in familial conflicts and bad blood many a time. Elders should learn to give a free hand to the younger generation as they too have the right to enjoy life as per their whims and fancies. Speak less, see little and ignore the irritants in the family for a peaceful existence.
In our country many old people are deprived of social security schemes and they are financially hard pressed. In certain cases those who are well off, have to face a different problem as their children keep their eye on their property and retirement benefits. At times they are duped by their own children and curse both God and their progeny. For sorting out this mess a borderline should be drawn so that calm prevails.
Conflict of interest arises in nuclear families when children are most interested in personal gains and for them personal care of elderly is not a profitable enterprise. The feeling of being left alone to provide for themselves at the terminal stage is unbearable for many. Anxiety is a common phenomenon among the elderly. Lack of companionship in certain cases results in mental disorders but they must understand that divorce is a reality of life. We meet to part and this is a basic fact which we must not forget.
Here in City Jammu known as City of Temples, at Ambphalla there is an Old Age Home and some folk have on their own consigned their parents to that den. Their stories, in case listened to are heart breaking and how they shall be spending their time is beyond any explanation. As per information, mostly from the wealthy class, considered it better to get rid of their elderly personages completely oblivious of the fact that all have to grow old with the passage of time.
“mohabbat meñ nahīñ hai farq jiine aur marne kā, usī ko dekh kar jiite haiñ jis kāfir pe dam nikle! Hazāroñ ḳhvāhisheñ aisī ki har ḳhvāhish pe dam nikle, bahut nikle mire armān lekin phir bhī kam nikle!”
(Prof. SK.Bhalla is author of the article-a well known anti corruption crusader, social activists and critic)