My Grandfather’s Demands Have Left Me Questioning My Work With The Elderly

Posted by Sayani Das in Society, Specials
June 14, 2018

I’m 25 years old and live in a joint family. My mother always taught me to compromise, sacrifice your happiness for your family. I used to see her taking care of her in-laws and dealing with everything patiently. But believe me, I never was convinced with her point of view of life. Is this really what I have to do in my life also? In return for her all the sacrifice, patience, what did she get? I never saw my grandparents treating her well.

Oh! I forget to tell you, I’m doing my doctoral research in gerontology. So, I ought to think and know more about the wellness of elderly.

I’m well aware of the Indian elderly scenario, and also about several policies for their social, physical and psychological well-being. And the terms like ‘elder abuse’, ‘social isolation’, ‘social support’ etc. is within my knowledge. But who will judge the exact nature of that? I mean, several times in media, I found such instances, where daughter-in-law tortured her in-laws or son didn’t take care of his father. Have you ever thought that if the scenario is not same or rather vice-versa, then what law supports the son or daughter-in-law?

It took me several months, to prepare myself to write about this matter. My grandfather was an advocate and he is currently 90 years of age. He is very well aware of all the laws and rules for elderly. I grew up seeing him as an angry man who never loved me nor my sister. When all my friends tell me stories of how attached they are to their grandparents, I have nothing to say. I have just seen my parents pamper my grandfather like a little boy. He is the head of our house, and my mother always cooks food of his choice. I have seen my parents cleaning the urine and stool of my grandfather when he is ill. In our childhood, we used to get angry with our parents and wonder why they did not send him to my uncle’s (kaka) or aunties’ (pisi) house. Later, I realized that there was no one to take care of my grandfather, they all had turned their backs on him. Even to this day, some of my relatives think that because my grandfather was an advocate, he must have a lot of money and that must be why my parents are taking care of him. But that is wrong. My parents take care of him and love him because they never did all these things for money.

Now, we are facing a different problem. And I didn’t find any solution from my own.

So, I want to get an answer from the society!

We are from lower-middle-class family and presently, my fellowship is the only source of income. And we have adjusted our life accordingly. But, my grandfather wants all the luxuries to which he was accustomed to, and now, we can’t afford that. He told us that if we unable to provide things, he will complain to the police.

Some people always try to misuse the things those are made for wellbeing. But, who can imagine that an elderly can go to this extent?

I have worked on the ageing population and I communicate with them regularly. But my personal experience stops me from believing them.

Can you tell me if the society needs more laws to protect our elderly or we need psychological counselling of both the sides before taking any complain or believing them?