Written and composed by: Rujuta. Soshte. R.Ruia college.
The cycle of life condemns every living being to experience life through three major phases. Once brought to life, we are raised by our parents to develop into high-functioning adults, we see our parents grow old and we are aware that someday we will go through that phase as well. Growing old is a natural process, it’s inevitable and yet very challenging. Not only do one’s physical abilities diminish but the person’s emotional and social life also becomes highly exhausting. As much as people like to believe that once retired you can finally live a stress-free life, it is evident that most elderly will not agree with the statement. Being physically too weak to be independent and having to depend upon people for a number of things, including finances and providing for oneself; the elderly often feel vulnerable.
What do you do? When you’re trying to board a crowded train during office hours and an aged person is being pushed around and being called out for not being fast enough or physically incapable? We have all witnessed such a situation in our everyday lives at least once, where, due to our stereotypical understanding of old people, a person is bashed and ridiculed for stepping out of his house. Age discrimination is something that is not talked about often, it is ignored to an extent that most people aren’t aware that it exists. Growing old is already a physically and mentally draining process and mistreating the elderly for something that they cannot control is completely deplorable. When you call out an old person for not being physically on par with you, you make that person feel guilty for growing old. The Elderly often feel hopeless, unworthy, and invaluable because their opinions are considered obsolete and the modern generation does not take them seriously. It is valid for us to say that we fail to care for the elderly because we are too busy dealing with our own life. Some of us do not want them to feel unwanted but circumstances make them feel otherwise. We fail to tend them and support them and we feel guilty for the same. It is observed that although the elderly live long considering the medical facilities available in today’s date, they often feel like a burden. From facing problems like the inability to make a self-sufficient living, living in poverty due to reduced finances, providing for one’s healthcare, difficulty in carrying out tasks to mistreatment by the society and ageism, saying that the elderly live a stressful life would be an understatement.
As children and grandchildren, we always tend to be good to our parents and grandparents. We help them out with household chores, tend them when they need us, we love and respect them, we take their age into consideration. Why is it that when we see a random elderly person in need our reflexes aren’t the same? Why do we need to think twice when an elderly person asks us to help him cross the road? It is exactly the same as us helping our grandparents at home. When we think about elders our approach should not limit only to the elders that are around us. Elderly people come under the category of neglected minorities and as a society, it is our duty to aid them when they are in need.
India, out of all countries is known to be taking care of the elderly. Being a senior citizen and trying to fit into the daily routines and hassles of the modern generation is physically as well as mentally challenging which is why the government introduced certain privileges for the elderly. The Constitution of India provides secure work and public assistance to the senior citizens. Certain laws were also introduced to prevent the destitution of the senior citizens.
Government Schemes for the elderly.
According to statistics, the percentage of elderly by the year 2050 would be reduced to 20 % which is why it is so important for us to not only introduce more privileges for the elderly but also treat them kindly in our daily life. The government of the India, although not often has focused upon the problems of the elderly and introduced certain acts for their benefit.
Maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens act 2007
This act was initiated by the ministry of social justice and empowerment. It was introduced specifically to prevent the destitution of the elderly. This act made it an obligation for children to provide monthly allowance to their elderly parents. It also provided for the protection of lie and property of the elderly. According to this act it is a punishable criminal offence to abandon an elderly parent or citizen in any place, a person committing such action will be imprisoned. Another benefit of this act that state governments were obliged to establish at least on elderly shelter, old age home in one district each. Proper medical care is also to be ensured but the government.
Other privileges :
• Indian citizens above the age of 60 are entitled to concessions in ticket fares by the Indian railway, there are separate queues a swell as reserved seats for the senior citizens of India.
• Income tax act provides discount on taxes for the elderly.
• There are certain adoption laws classified according to religion for the maintenance of parents ex- Hindu Adoption and maintenance Act 1956.
• Article 46 of the Indian constitution provides for the protection of educational and economic rights of the elderly
• Separate bank accounts and schemes for the senior citizens, providing with a senior citizen card etcetera.
• National Insurance offers 'Varishta Mediclaim Policy', for seniors aged 60-80. Maximum sum insured offered is Rs 1 lakh for hospitalisation and Rs 2 lakh for critical illness.
* LIC's Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2017 will provide an assured pension to senior citizens based on a guaranteed rate of return of 8% for 10 years. A maximum of Rs 7.5 lakh can be invested in this scheme and one can get pension on monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annual basis.
It is necessary for us to make sure that the elderly around us or the senior citizens in our Vicinity are made aware of the rights they posses. If only the elderly are made aware of their rights, living in this modern world will be a lot easier for them.
All India Senior Citizen Confederation. (AISCCON)
The AISCCON is the largest national level organization representing senior citizens. This organization represents over 5 lakhs senior citizens. It is completely concerned only with the welfare of senior citizens as their prime motive. It is a non-political and non- religious organization which devices to improve the elderly life and deal with the problems faced by then with the help of the national and state government. It also provides various services including health and eye care for senior citizens.
The dignity foundation.
The dignity foundation is another non-profit foundation which allows the senior citizens of India to lead a more secure and dignified life. This foundation allows elders to participate in several activities to live a more fulfilled and interesting life. It also provides therapy and takes donations for the benefit of senior citizens in need. The dignity foundation also has a helpline that elderly can contact in case of abuse or mistreatment.
Sometimes due to responsibilities and simply deteriorating health of the elderly, it becomes difficult to look after them properly which is dangerous for their health. In such cases, it is best to seek for old age homes where one can look after the elderly all the time and provide the person with proper medical care at the eight time. Although sending our old grandparents or even parent to an old age home is termed to be unethical by the society, it is necessary for a healthy well being of the senior citizen. Being alone at home and feeling lonely can lead to depression and many other mental disorders which is why letting the elderly into more social an less isolated surroundings will be beneficial for the mental as well as the social well being of the person.
Helping the Elderly in daily life.
As the young generation of this society it is our duty to make sure that the senior citizens around us feel comfortable and secure. We should be respectful towards them and understand their state of mind. If a senior citizen is being abused or is being denied his/ her rights, it is our responsibility to speak up and help that person It is necessary to make people aware of age discrimination, the misconceptions about senior citizens and the fact that growing old does not reduce the value of a person. We can start with small acts of kindness like offering a seat in a crowded bus or train, safeguarding the elderly in physically challenging situations, considering their opinions, understanding their problems, not neglecting them or in the simplest listening to them Teach the younger generation the importance of old people, why aiding them does not make us any superior, it is the job of every decent person.