Healing touch for senior citizens
A man’s life is normally divided into five main stages namely infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age. In each of these stages an individual has to find himself in different situations and face different problems. The old age is not without problems. In old age physical strength deteriorates, mental stability diminishes; money power becomes bleak coupled with negligence from the younger generation. There are 81million older people in India-11 lakh in Delhi itself. According to an estimate nearly 40 per cent of senior citizens living with their families are reportedly facing abuse of one kind or another, but only 1 in 6 cases actually comes to light. Although the government has enacted the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act which punishes children who abandon parents with a prison term of three months or a fine, situation is grim for elderly people in India. According to NGOs incidences of elderly couples being forced to sell their houses are very high. Some elderly people have also complained that in case of a property dispute they feel more helpless when their wives side with their children. Many of them suffer in silence as they fear humiliation or are too scared to speak up. According to them a phenomenon called ‘grand dumping’ is becoming common in urban areas these days as children are being increasingly intolerant of their parents’ health problems.
In India, the proportion of older persons has risen from 4.9 per cent in 1901 to 5.5 per cent in 1951, 6.5 per cent in 1991 to 7.7 per cent in 2001 and will be 12 per cent in 2025 and like many other developing countries in the world, India is confronted with plight of elders comprising young, old, middle, oldest and extremely old persons resulting from rapid ageing of its population. In the year 2025, India will occupy the second rank in having the old persons in its population as projected by the United Nation Population Division.
Traditionally, in India, aged enjoyed a place of respect in family but in modern times, they have lost their place in society. As per Indian culture, it is duty of the son to look after his parents. Now, the Indian society seems changing very fast and so also its moral values.
Based on the above exposition, the book analyses the plight of elders living in families and the old age homes comparatively in Tamilnadu with specific reference to socio-economic characteristics of the elderly persons. The facilities provided in
the families and old age homes, the perception of elderly persons about old age homes, the provisions of the government programmes for the care and support of the aged and strategies of coping with ageing thereby suggesting appropriate remedial measures for welfare and development of the elderly persons at large.
By Ashok Kumar