With nuclear families being the norm rather than the exception, septugenarians and octogenerians are being pushed to the fringes of society. Some are forced to be caretakers of palatial mansions of their NRI children while others are relegated to live lonely lives. Occasional visits of children and grandchildren remain the highlight of their twilight years.
Better healthcare has seen an exponential increase in the statistics of geriatric population. A decade ago, there were hardly any old age homes in India, barring a few run by Christian missionaries.
Joint family system of olden days ensured that children, parents and grandparents all lived together in perfect harmony. Household chores were divided equally among the many inmates. Each member whether young or old was woven into the intricate fabric of the family with no room for sense of isolation or loneliness.
sadly the scenario has changed drastically for the worse. Isolated and cocooned in their own world,there is no room in the fast paced lives of today's youth for the older generation.
It is indeed true that joint family system is no longer a practical and viable option,given today's lifestyle and work environment. Rising cost of living and Inflation makes double income a necessity. With both partners working,time spent at home is at a premium and relationships become a causality. Rising consumerism has burdened us with the onerous task of keeping up with the Johnses leaving as cash strapped. Juggling various loans, the monthly budget goes through the stratosphere. An extra mouth to feed is perceived by many as an additional burden.
Old age homes are an unavoidable necessity in this modern world. However, mushrooming of old age homes encourages the young to shrug off responsibilities. Unlike in the west,India has no proper infrastructure or facility to care for the aged.
It is imperative that senior citizens refrain form forsaking everything for their children. Ensuring financial security and health insurance are a must. They should also learn to adapt and adjust to changing environment.
It is heartrending to see the plight of some parents past their prime put to pasture by insensitive offsprings. The older generation is a rich reservoir of ageless wisdom that they are only too happy and eager to share. A kind word, a loving gesture,a fraction of our time spent on senseless activities can indeed brighten up their lives.
Children imbibe the same lessons taught at home and mould into adults based on the very same principles.What goes out, does indeed come back. "As you sow, so shall you reap" is a wise reminder to those who relegate their dependents to a realm of loneliness and despair.
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