Many seniors are devoid of pension and are forced to depend on their children and families in their old age.
Our parents took care of us as children …. Now when they are old should they really be considered a burden? Did they consider us a burden when they spent hours carrying a restless crying baby all night pacing up and down the hall, or tried to feed the baby when he just kept spitting out the food? The umpteen diapers changed in the rainy season or cold winter nights to ensure their little angle didn’t get any of those nasty rashes. Paying attention to our smallest needs, teaching new things, getting gifts, celebrating birthdays, sometimes even at the cost of their own needs and requirements.
Sometimes people feel, putting their parents in an old age home and taking care of the fees is the end of their moral duty… Is that it? No love, no care and no time to spend with them? Aging is normal and each one of us will get their one day. Remember the world has more and more elders or senior citizens than ever before and the numbers are growing ……. Treat your parents as you would have your children treat you! On a grave stone somewhere is written:
“Remember young man as you pass by,
As you are now, so once was I,
As I am now, so you shall be,
So be prepared to follow me!”
An 89-year-old Australian, Peter Leith says, “I am half deaf and half blind” and he faces challenges every day but refutes the allegation that he is “a burden to the taxpayer.” The scene in India may be a bit different since we do not have a system of social security, but we do have a growing population of people above the age of 65. Many seniors are devoid of pension and are forced to depend on their children and families in their old age.
Some elders are frail and may have become slow due to various reasons, but they are not mentally or intellectually handicapped. They need compassion and care. They need to be heard as they feel their experience can be of help. They have skills, talent and experience which can benefit the community. Even with low mobility, they can be made to feel empowered and inclusive and not ignored…… their advice needs to be heard, after all, they are the shape of our future too…. If we live long enough that is.
The need is to build a society truly inclusive for the elders (in different age groups, say 65-75, 76-85 and 86 and above. Just like we can’t put all ages of children in one group, the different groups of seniors may have their specific needs.) Here their strengths can be put to constructive use. Many wonderful people past their official retirement age volunteer their time, talent and expertise. The growing number of Senior Citizen’s Associations must also tap into these recourses while organizing activities and give a purpose to their lives.