Media should sensitise society to age care issues

Experts at a media sensitisation programme on age care issues stressed the importance of the Indian family structure, and women and elders being the focus of the family.

The programme was organised by the Regional Centre in Geriatric Care, sponsored by National Institute of Social Defence, at PSGR Krishnammal College for Women, on Thursday.

Inaugurating the programme, P. Kanagasabapathy, former Director, Tamil Nadu Institute of Urban Studies, spoke on role of media in sensitising society to age care issues.

“In the U.S., only 6.6 per cent children stay with their grandparents. Nearly 51 per cent children are born out of wedlock. The role of parents and grandparents are almost missing in these cases. It is a fallout of these that for every one lakh people, there are 760 U.S. citizens in prisons, as against the average 140. In India, it is only 33 for every one lakh,” he said.

Though the family structure had crumbled in many countries, all was not lost in India, where we still continued to be a socially dependent society rather than an economically dependent one.

Andal Priyadarshini, Head, Doordarshan Kendra, Coimbatore, lamented that grown up children neglected their parents blaming it on lack of time. “Time can never be an excuse if we really had the inclination to take care of our parents and elders,” she said.

Pointing out the significance of grandparents in the life of grandchildren, she said how the elderly who had not even gone beyond their towns, showed courage in travelling across seas to look after their daughters, daughters-in-law or grandchildren . Not only this, but those who had shunned technology for their personal use, had adopted this to be in touch, to communicate with their grandchildren, who lived abroad.

When the children and grandchildren involved the grandparents in their everyday activities, it helped the latter lead a holistic life. On the other hand, grandparents had a major role in bringing children out of the house and from their place in front of the television. The habit of story telling and eating together should be revived, she said.

Other experts, S. Sundaravadivel, former CBI Public Prosecutor, spoke on social security for the aged, Prabhu Shanker, lawyer and Commissioner of Oaths, spoke on issues of older women, and Lalitha Kabilan, director, Centre for Social Sciences of the college, spoke on health issues of the aged.

S. Yeshodha Devi, principal of the college, and S. Arunmozhi, dean, Extension Activities, spoke.