The articles on old age in the Open Page (May 16) and the letters published on them are both tormenting and scary. Tormenting to those who are suffering the woes of old age and scary to people like me who are middle-aged. Westernisation has eroded our age-old values. Not long ago, my father returned to a home teeming with children, grandparents and tiny tots from the neighbourhood. Today, I unlock myself into my dreary apartment late in the night to be greeted by the same disarray I left in the morning. This is what we have brought into our fast-track lives.
But we have to reconcile to this and plan our old age accordingly. Financial independence, good health and a positive attitude will help us lead a fruitful old age. These do not come overnight and have to be planned and nurtured through our younger years.
Let me add a couple of points to the debate on the state of the elderly. The aged should not indulge in self-pity. Again, the senior citizens who are economically independent and healthy should realise that old age is their last opportunity to do whatever they have liked to do all along — visiting places, reading, watching old favourite movies and so on.
Senior citizens, you have nothing to lose but your lives which you will one day anyway.
Loneliness is an attitude — like worry. People worry not knowing why they worry. They feel lonely because they do not know how to handle their leisure. There are many things people can do when they are alone — write, paint, meditate and what not. Preparation is the key to happiness.
In the West, elders live alone. Brothers meet up only on occasions. Cousins do not know one another. When there is an emergency, the elders call the ambulance, not their children. When there is a death, the funeral service is intimated. Only then are the children informed. If this is the culture that is slowly pervading our country, should we not gear up to face the reality?