The article “Beyond small mercies” (Dec.25) vividly narrates the woes of elderly men and women in rural areas. However, what they long for is the love of their children which no government scheme or pension can buy. When they get some odd sweet for their grandchildren to win their affection, do these children reciprocate the same warmth? Such values are hard to find in this age of nuclear families.

M. Subbiah,

Chennai

With smaller families, the unpopularity of the joint family system and children going abroad in search of greener pastures, the reality that stares the elderly in the face is moving to a “senior citizens’ home.” A good pension is very important and more dependable than handouts from children. Equally too is a secure health-care system and strong emotional support. The time has come to go back to our roots, rebuild our joint family system, promote an inter-dependent culture and an “each one lives for another” theme.

S.A. Srinivasa Sarma,

Hyderabad

Keywords: pension

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