There are various stages in human life: infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. We all have to come and journey across these ages. However, our behaviour, attitude, temperaments and physical fitness are different in every stage. Also, not to forget that man is a social animal. He or she cannot stay in isolation. He needs to live in a family, with his friends in society. The entire world works smoothly on interdependence. Love, affection, and care are mutual, and they help a person live and not merely exist. Because of advancement in urbanization, modernization and several other factors, the joint families have shattered. People are busy with their jobs and professions, and they hardly have any time and interest to look after the older members of the family. Therefore, they leave their parents in old age homes. Also, many insensitive people abandon their parents, and as a result of which various Non-governmental Organizations and governmental organizations rescue them and admit them to old age homes. Many people, who have no family to take care of, admit themselves to the old age home voluntarily. An old age home is a shelter house where the people of older age dwell together with other older people when they have been abandoned by their family members or voluntarily admitted to it to combat loneliness during this crucial stage of life. The old-age house staff is in charge of feeding these senior citizens on time and taking care of their medical needs. They help them cope with the routine by cleaning their clothes and utensils and helping them live the last days of their life without isolation. Also, they conduct various recreational activities, to indulge them in and combat boring lifestyles. They entertain them so that they become happy and jolly. Also, the house inmates stay together, share their experiences and make good bonds with their friends.
It is important to realize that the familial structure today is very different from what it was a couple of generations ago. The joint-family system has given way to nuclear family life. With both the husband and the wife pursuing their careers and availability of quality maids, nannies, and daycare facilities for kids, the dependency on older family members has decreased. Striking a work-life balance has got so tricky that we barely have any time to give to our elderly family members.
Even if we do manage to take out some time for them, we are at a loss of words about the kind of conversations to have with them. In the last couple of decades, technology has impacted our lives so massively that an inevitable technology divide has been formed. Generations on either side of this line are finding it difficult to communicate with each other. Making your house completely senior-friendly is another challenge. Old age homes are supposed to be the last refuge for the destitute and shelterless elder citizens but even children who are otherwise well equipped to take care of their elder parents often outsource them to old age homes. Each family has its own problems, with a single child or two or many sons and daughters to look after parents. As they give priority to their own lives with a bright future, many children face the embarrassment of taking care of their parents. Senior citizens have been the biggest victims of social advancement. They are neglected by their own children as the latter are in pursuit of wealth and comfort. As a result, many of them are left to spend their last years in old age homes. Our elders are our heritage. It’s our foremost duty to take care of them. Parents are the most precious blessings of the lord; they are door to the heaven. Imagine, if they had abandoned us and would have thrown us out of their life, could we have existed anywhere? No, we would have been a spoiled. We need to thank them, love them that they blessed us with a beautiful childhood, they cared for us, and they loved us selflessly. We need to keep in mind that our parents are here to be loved and not to be taken-for-granted. We need to understand their value before we lose them. There is need to make our homes elderly people friendly. These Old Age Homes should be there for only those old people who have no families, no children and relatives there to look after.
(The author is a teacher at Govt. High School Brakpora Anantnag .The views, opinions, facts, assumptions, presumptions and conclusions expressed in this article are author’s own and aren’t necessarily in accord with the views of “Kashmir Horizon”.)