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Compassion for the elderly

06-06-2017 05:00 PM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream


Compassion for the elderly | My Indian Dream

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It is said that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person, yet very few people care for elders

We are living in a fast-paced, technology driven world where social media rules and leaves us with very little time for self-introspection as well as caring for our loved ones. The most adversely affected seem to be the elderly who are not adept at technology and the use of smartphones.

Mumbai-based gerontologist, Amruta Lovekar says that most seniors just need someone who will listen to them, chat with them and validate their  accomplishments in life. It is a pity that instead of spending time with their parents, most people come home to start work on their laptops or drown themselves in social media with the help of their mobile phones.

To make an elderly person happy is the noblest act a young person can ever do, yet more and more senior citizens are becoming victims of abandonment. According to Prakash Borganonkar, Director of Helpage India, five years ago, one out of five elderly would admit to be abandoned, but now one out of two elderly say they were abandoned by their own children.

The Maintenance and Welfare of Parentsand Senior citizens Act passed by the centre in 2007 promises social security, health security and security of life and property to any senior citizen approaching a state tribunal specially set up under this Act. Unfortunately niether have the state governments set up tribunals at district levels nor have formulated any rules required by the Act. As cases of abandonment of the elderly is on the rise, this dormant Act needs to be given life so that proper rules are framed that will enable them to live with dignity and honour.

This issue has also given rise to a new profession of paid companions who spend time with the senior citizens and give them a new lease of life, from listening to their stories to teaching them how to install apps on their smart phones and use them. 

There are many people above 80 who have learnt to use tabs and created facebook pages, thanks to these paid companions who bring enthusiasm, curiosity and cheer into their otherwise dull lives. They also teach them to shop online and take them out for the much needed stroll and fresh air. 

Nowadays, there are many such organizations that offer such companions for hire. Startups like Mumbai based Aaji Care also offer trained women care companions at monthly packages.

Having written that, let me remind you that by not giving time to our elders it is we who stand to lose on their immense wisdom and love. After all, it is said that the best people are the good old wrinkled people with a sparkle in their eye, a wink when you walk by or a toothless smile saying you are doing just fine.

 



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