The Old Age Crisis in India

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By Anshul Tewari:

In India, around 2/3rd of the population is below or close to 30, so does talking about old age problems (which exist) sound awkward?

Consider this, out of every 10 elderly couples in India, more than 6 are forced by their children to leave their homes. With no place to go and all hopes lost, the elderly have to resort to old age homes, which do not guarantee first class treatment. In India, unlike USA, parents do not leave their children on their own after they turn 18 (of course there are exceptions), but children find it hard to accept the fact that there are times when parents want to feel the love that they once shared with them. There are times when parents just want to relax and want their children to reciprocate their care. Every parents wants to see their child grow and be successful but no parent wants their child to treat them like an unnecessary load on their responsibilities.

Every other day, we see news of parents being beaten up by their children, parents and in laws being forced to do the house hold chores, being made to live in small dungeon like rooms, their property being forcefully taken over by over ambitious children.

There are 81million older people in India-11 lakh in Delhi itself. According to an estimate nearly 40% 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 President has given her assent to 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.

After a certain age health problems begin to crop up leading to losing control over one’s body, even not recognizing own family owing to Alzheimer are common in old age. It is then children began to see their parents as burden. It is these parents who at times wander out of their homes or are thrown out. Some dump their old parents or grand parents in old-age homes and don’t even come to visit them anymore. Delhi has nearly 11 lakh senior citizens but there are only 4 governments’ run homes for them and 31 by NGOs, private agencies and charitable trusts. The facilities are lacking in government run homes.

Forget the rights that the elderly enjoy in India. Just forget about the action that they can take. Think on moral grounds. Why do we tend to forget that the reason we are in this world is our parents, the reason we studied is our parents, the reason we were alive all this while is our parents, the reason we survived all the diseases is our mother’s care. The hands who made us walk is our parents’. When we were kids we never thought of it but we knew that no matter what, our parents will be by our side. But when our time came to show our respect, to reciprocate the love, to show our gratitude, we back out.

But the truth is that even when they are counting their last breath, they are still thinking of us!

Is the youth too insensitive to the elder? Passing comments at an old man walking slowly on the road and disturbing the flow of the traffic are our ethics? Come on youth, stand up against such injustice. DO NOT TREAT YOUR PARENTS LIKE BURDEN ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY NEED YOU.

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13 comments

  1. Sandip

    In Indian society, the question is who has to look after the Parents? A daughter get married and moves away and has responsibility of her family. Man has to slog whole day, comes tired at night. In urban areas even his wife is required to work to meet two ends, Grand children are busy with their studies. Main person becoming responsible to look after parents physically is daughter-in-law, who has no blood relation and actually not obliged to take the responsibility. Sr Citizen homes are either filthy or expensive. Nursing at home is also expensive. Only solution is one of the child to remain unmarried and look after their parents. With my personal experience, I remained unmarried, retired at 40 and took responsibility of my parents. My mother died recently at 90 and father is 95. They consider themselves blessed. I believe charity starts at home. But so do I. Had a wonderful life spending time with them and get their blessings. Society thinks I have given a sacrifice but I do not think so. My parents have done so much for me that what I have been doing for them is just nothing. My siblings are happy with their own family and we are with us.

  2. GRM

    Government has different plans to help senior citizens in country but money issued for help vanishes in corruption. I agree that no parent wants to be burden up on their children and want to see them progressive. But now situation has changed totally. The relation bond between them is gradually loosing. They consider old person a hurdle in their freedom. Senior citizen in present time scenario should also exercise control their own to minimize the unnecessary expectation from children because in present time every one is already burdened from all around.

  3. Madavi. H

    The message what was given was 100% true.. but we cant change everyone’s thought, it should come from there heart..
    only than, the society can be changed.. i wish all should treat their parents in a good way and not hurt them at any time or at any
    situation, has they do to us..

  4. This is just sad and unacceptable. We need to get the youth together to ensure that seniors are given their due respect and allowed to live with the dignity they deserve. After all they have been more responsible than us in creating a wonderful place for us to live. We should ensure that these become the golden years of their life.

  5. As a matter of fact, it’s a truth and we need to face it, that elders in India are ill treated and treated as a burden on society. It’s actually a crisis period for them, also considering the current economic condition of the country. I would like mention here an organization
    “The Golden Estate”, based in Delhi which has come up with this initiative to
    support the senior citizens. They have built up service apartments especially
    for the senior citizens and provide all the modern amenities and fool proof security. Just have a look at this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGwzbEmMYWw

  6. batul

    very well written its really touching and inspirable…..

  7. ffffffff

    wh should everything be done by the government we should start acting aginst this abuse to our parents by ourselves.these people who throw their parents out are illetrate

  8. gayathri

    in my opinnion the governmernt must more aware of this problem.

  9. Prof. Manisha Shukla

    It is truth. Definately it is possible to change but this journey must start with every ourselves. Otherwise it could not cure. It needs patience & humanity towards old aged.
    So please join to new way of thinking

    • fidha fathima

      its one of the inspiring and touching article ,i never had before
      now, old ages are in a verge situations which induce them to give up all their hopes and concerns about their wards. what a terrible situation! Are we expecting our country to be in the first position in the construction of old age homes??????

  10. Fatima

    This is so sad. Unfortunately there are people who treat their parents like burden. how can they?! Those people who gave them life and made them what they are, are thrown out – juts cuz they now need more care and attention. Pathetic. Won't these people grow old too? And won't karma come back to them then…

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