That the population of senior citizens is fast exploding needs serious and immediate attention. Millions of homes face the problem of managing the elderly. Due to several reasons, they are forced to live alone and many of them find it difficult, nay impossible, to carry on without physical support.
Now is the time to think of organised and professionally managed old age homes at affordable cost for all sections, where the elders can live with the much needed care and support.
I guess with globalisation, we have invited the good, bad and the ugly attributes of the developed countries. A reader has said loneliness is an attitude. Well, the attitude seems to be contagious. The yesteryear generation had a sound upbringing in joint families and, therefore, a strong psychological base to adapt to the changing times. Do today's youngsters understand the value of the times they are living in?
I am reminded of Robert Browning's words: “Grow old along with me; The best is yet to be!” (Rabbi Ben Ezra). But I do not agree that it is all in the mind. However spirited and cheerful we are, we cannot deny that physical health is important for old people to lead an independent life. And however health conscious we are, our health in old age is not always under our control.
The other important factor is financial independence. With no regular income, and increased dependence on children, life is bound to become a struggle if we do not plan for the rainy day.
While blaming the younger generation for being indifferent to the plight of the elderly, should we not admit that a part of the blame should go to the parents who never had time for their children?
It is they who wanted their children to go abroad for studies. By the time they realised how far the children had gone, it was too late.
The world in the last decade-and-a-half has shrunk into one virtual space where building careers is prioritised over love and care. Though many refuse to acknowledge it, there sure is another angle to the souring of relationships, a classic case of “as you sow, so shall you reap.” Old age comes with its own share of duties and is no season of sorrow. After all, autumn is the time to savour the sweet fruits of a life well lived.