“Charity begins at home“, is a phrase, which we often use in vain. The society in which we live today is rapidly becoming more intolerant and insensitive towards the elderly.
The elderly generation is being looked down upon as a burden. The younger generation deliberately denies the contribution and hard work they have put in to bring the present generation into existence. The elderly are frequently neglected, abused, and manipulated by the young in order to satisfy their own selfish needs. The elderly, of course, oblige and suffer silently, fearing a bad reputation for the family, especially their own children. Altered lifestyles, migration, and nuclear families have paved the way for minimal bonding between grandparents, parents and grandchildren. There is, therefore, a greater need to develop a bond among the elderly, the current and future generations. Rekindling love and bonding between grandparents and their grandchildren is one of the most promising solutions to intolerant and insensitive attitudes towards the elderly.
Conventional approaches like ‘old age homes’ are just one of the elements, but surely not the sole one to help the elderly. We should keep in mind their self-respect, dignity, and attachment to their own homes, especially the love for their children and grandchildren. Most parents struggle and work hard to bring up their children. They suffer a lot to provide for their children, anticipating that their miseries would end and that they could take a break when their children grow up. But their dreams are often shattered.
Our objective should be to generate awareness, which this issue clearly demands, and to look at it collectively. We should involve the younger generation in these exercises so that they will have first-hand experience. This would enable them to contribute immensely towards this cause.
We should prepare a generation in advance, so that it can benefit, a generation later.
Let’s endeavour to constantly engage ourselves in preparing every generation so that ‘today’s young and tomorrow’s old’ are benefited. We must cease to be insensitive towards the plight of the elderly in our society today.
There should be an exercise that would eventually help the present generation to evaluate and consciously inculcate good values and virtues that would hopefully be passed on to the next generation. Thus, securing our own future.
A few points to ponder;
- That it is a person’s fundamental right to live with respect and dignity in this world and in this country,
- Abuse of an elderly person is morally wrong.
- The issue should be addressed in an organised fashion that would help in developing responsible, accountable and alert citizens.
- We should ensure a better future by safeguarding the elderly and setting an example for our future generation.
- We should persuade the police force to take the issue more seriously, as they can be the catalyst for the much-needed change.
- We should promote bonding between the younger and the elderly generations.
The safety and security of the elderly, especially those living alone, is of concern. They are more likely to be exploited by the unscrupulous. They could also be victims of threats from their own relatives, domestic help or servants, landlords, tenants, strangers, thieves or intruders. They are often exposed to accidents or mishaps, even within the house.
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs), particularly those working with the elderly and vulnerable, are affiliated and provide information on these needy and vulnerable seniors. They’ve been helpful to a larger extent. They are provided with important telephone numbers, including those of senior police officers, the police station and other agencies involved in the protocol, along with medical emergencies.
The local police, apart from regular visits to the senior citizens, maintain a register with relevant information on each of them, as well as regarding the frequency of visits, not forgetting the vital contact telephone numbers of close relatives or friends for emergencies or any contingency. A system of local responsibility is sought to be introduced under which neighbours are requested to be concerned about the senior citizens in their midst. The importance of courtesy, patience and care is sought to be a hallmark of police dealings with senior citizens.
Always remember that today’s young is tomorrow’s old!