The article on old age by R. Devarajan (Open Page, May 16) set me thinking about my grandmother who, at 85, has more physical prowess and emotional stability than all her children and grandchildren put together. Except for a minor hearing defect, she is positive and hardly shows any signs of weakness. She even tells us that the present generation breaks down easily in adverse situations which, she claims, is the reason for the all-time high rate of suicide and divorce. This, as the writer points out, must be the aftermath of living in nuclear families.

Rashmi S. Pillai,

Thiruvananthapuram

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Social organisations can help a lot in the rehabilitation of senior citizens. In the nuclear family system, no one has the time to manage the elders. The common practice is to pack them off to old age homes, ignoring their contribution to the family. The urgent need of the hour is to bring back the joint family system.

K. Sivankutty Nair,

Thiruvananthapuram

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Cultural practices, social security schemes, a vast number of old-age homes, and care for seniors at public places are such in the West that they make life comfortable for the aged. In India, the state is satisfied providing concessions to them in income tax, air and train fares. Improvement in health care facilities has increased longevity. But it has not been accompanied by serious efforts by the state to ensure the elders a decent and respectable life.

Ramya Ravindran,

Cuddalore

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