Being sensitive towards the elderly
The emotional attachment and support that senior citizens need can only be provided by family. It cannot be satisfactory that some relaxation has been given to senior citizens for traveling in trains and banks also give them additional interest.
To set up old age homes with basic health facilities across the country the Supreme Court has issued notices to all the states and union territories on the demand PIL, the information sought from them in this regard will be satisfactory, there is doubt.
In response to this notice, the states have been asked to provide information about old age homes in each district, pension to be given to them and welfare schemes run for the elderly. Undoubtedly, along with giving pension to the elderly, the state governments also run some other schemes for them, but at present there are no old age homes in every district.
It may be that any special arrangement has been made by all the states for their medical treatment or whether the pension given to them is sufficient. At a time when the population of the elderly is increasing and they are facing loneliness and neglect due to the breakdown of joint families, then governments have to be more sensitive towards them.
Undoubtedly, the condition of care for the elderly is still better in rural India, because there still exists joint families and this leads to their care. In contrast, in cities and especially in metropolitan cities, where the trend of nuclear family is increasing, this is not the case.
Due to this, the elderly are not only in financial trouble, often there is no one to support them emotionally. It is also a fact that not all elderly people who are suffering from various types of problems are able to live in old age homes. There are also not enough old age homes.
Often the emotional support senior citizens are looking for is not available to them. Since the increasing number of youth going abroad and settling in other cities in connection with job-business within the country will increase the problems of the elderly living alone in the coming times, so the government will also have to be alert and the society too.
It is true that governments will have to do more for the elderly, but at the same time it has to be understood that their problems should be solved being sensitive to the society. It is not going to happen, because in old age when they become incapacitated then they need extra care and support of their loved ones. It can be fulfilled only by understanding the importance of family values and protecting them. The emotional attachment and support that senior citizens need can only be provided by family.
(The author is a retired Principal and an educational columnist)