Senior Citizens elderly

            Ageing scenario in India is under pressure so far as their all-round care is concerned. It may be their finance, healthcare or shelter. The changing family structure and functions do not agree to provide them space in their family which was the once of their own and for which they devoted whole life. At their later age, they are dysfunctional and unproductive. They are burden to their off-spring and they are treated as old luggage. Surprisingly, Indian culture always teaches to respect elderly and family is the best place for their later life. It is enough for happy ends of their last days. So, they have to suffer from mental illness, isolation and loneliness. They have to live as “sandwich” generation.

According to the Census Report, 2011, Indian’s 8% population was 60 years and above. And it is expected to be 12.5% by 2026 and 20% by 2050. So, it is fact that today’s young must  have reached to their old age. It is just like a vicious cycle. But unfortunately, today’s younger are blind and submerged within the consumerist society and they are busy to meet their materials greed. But they are unhappy and unsatisfied in daily life. They are violent towards their elderly. They abuse elderly in many ways. Physical and mental torture is common. Nowadays, elderly torture is burning issue covered by print and electronic media regularly.  Even, number of elderly orphans is increasing daily. They are being pushed out and abandoned from their home. According to the report of Help Age India (2018), about 52% of elderly of India are abused by their sons and then 34% of them is abused by their daughter-in-laws.  This report also recorded various modes of abuses. For example, 56% of them have to live with disrespect, verbal abuse(49%) and neglect (33%).

The above scenario reminds us that the tripartite relation of elderly, family/society and state are ineffective and it transforms radically with changing society which is a result of wrong imitation of globalization. In family spirituality, morality and ethical values among younger members are self-centred. The state is indifferent to imply laws against abusers(Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 (MWPSC) Act). It has been noticed that state has failed to perform its social responsibility towards elderly. There is lack measure for care and protection (old age pension and others) of elderly as most valuable assets to the state. But it is only dutiful to get their opinion during an election. There is need of the integrated social, economic and cultural environment to save and protect (safety/security) our old experienced and respectful human resource.

At least there is a need of a campaign for “Happy Death” through a balanced happy environment.

Harasankar Adhikari is a political analyst

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