Parents should set an example to their children in taking care of the elderly so that their children would take good care of them when they grow old, said P. Sankar, Collector of Vellore.
Presiding over celebrations of International Day of Older Persons at the Collectorate here on Tuesday, Mr. Sankar said that in the past, children considered it their duty to take care of their parents, whereas today they consider it an obligation.
As a result, many old age homes have mushroomed. Only those who loved others would be loved by this world, he said. The Collector honoured elderly persons and distributed prizes to winners of competitions conducted by the Social Welfare Department for the elderly persons.
Era. Chandrasekaran, president, Udhavum Ullangal, said that most old age homes admitted only those who could take care of themselves.
Government and non-governmental organisations running old age homes should specially admit elders who cannot move and those in vegetative state because these people require special care.
Geriatric services should be introduced in all primary health centres and taluk hospitals for the benefit of the elderly.
Thilagavathi Ramiah, honorary secretary of the Indian Council for Child Welfare, said that the elderly could lead an active and healthy life only when they give up the feeling that they are old. They should not confine themselves to their houses but go out and mingle with others so that they remained cheerful and mentally strong.
T.M. Vijayaraghavalu, senior advocate, wanted all old age homes to be converted into integrated homes for children and the elderly so that the aged are taken care of by the children, while the latter would have the benefit of the counselling and care by the elderly.
N. Shanmugasundaram, Revenue Divisional Officer, Vellore, said that the break-up of the joint family system has led to the enactment of the Maintenance and Welfare of the Parents and Senior Citizens Act. M. Venkadasubbu, vice-president, Indian Red Cross Society, Vellore district branch, said that the joint family system contributed to the economic strength of India. Susheela Surya, psychiatrist, said that nowadays, elders should learn to accept the views of youngsters who acquired more knowledge and should not remain stubborn in maintaining their orthodox views.