Friday, August 29, 2008

Woes of India's senior citizens in the modern society

Senior citizens have always been a reality but they have never before felt so deprived and unhappy. These are the people who have had their innings successfully and are in the evening of life. In the bygone times this senior generation was never unhappy, unwanted or lonely as we find it today. This why, though the generation of senior citizens always existed it was never so much talked of. The change in this scenario for them has come together with the single unit family system finding its way in the Indian Society.
The generation of senior citizens can be divided into clearly marked into two. Those who have childrenb but no money to fall back upon. These are the people who were never doing too well but, whatever they earned, they spent on the children hoping that the children would support them in their old age. So now, with the single unit family having come, the very basis of their planning has been scuttled. The children do not want old people in their homes they say they cannot afford to keep old parents. To add to this when the lady of the house, (the housewife)also has to go for her job, who will look after the oldies. So, in this way the senior citizens of the family have been ousted by circumstances to some extent and by the vicious will of the children to add.
The second category of senior citizens is that who have done well in life, they have plenty of money to cater to all their needs but money is not all that a person needs. This group of senior citizens needs care, affection and warding off of their loneliness. In spite of having money to back them, children whom they have brought up with all care and dignity, these people feel as if they are not really required by anyone, not even their own children.
With this scenario emerging on the Indian horizon, senior citizens are in for a tough going. If they live alone, there are so many home keeping hazards that they have to face, which could be avoided if they lived with their children. For those who do not have the money as a back, up support, life is probably more than death for them. This style has been imported into India from the West. However it was never thought that, the old also need everything like the young for subsistence. In the west, the old are taken care of by the state, so for their senior citizens the only problem is loneliness. But here, when there are no old age amenities granted to senior citizens, the infiltration of the system has brought a near doom for the senior citizens.
Besides being neglected at home it appears that there has also developed a peculiar dislike for the old which never existed before. The senior citizens feel as though they are always being jeered at, by the younger generation. This makes them feel mentally dispirited. An attitude of looking down on seniors as the individuals of the past who know nothing, is another derogatory behaviour which senior citizens have to encounter in their day-today lives.
With all these feelings and realities being encountered by the senior citizens it will be a wonder if in the future anyone would like to enter the community of senior citizens. With this attitude towards senior citizens, the country will be losing an amplitude of experience, love and affection. It would do well for us if we respected, loved and nurtured our senior citizens as they did to us when we were children. This would bring back to us our cultural heritage which we are ransoming to the west.

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