Seniors of our society
Old are not a cast out lot, let's learn to respect them
CONCERN BY BASHARAT SALEEM
Fortunately or unfortunately, the problem with me is that on way to my place of work are situated the local social welfare office and an extension branch of a bank where senior citizens draw their pensions every month. What is observed there is very regrettable and disappointing. Are the senior citizens meant for this maltreatment? A large number of pensioners including highly respected in their circles by dint of their exemplary work, and dedication they rendered during their pre-retirement service days, are very badly treated by the so-called welfare institutions. It is very unfortunate that they are made to make rounds of the social welfare office/bank counters each and every day and humiliated as if they come to receive some private charity. Almost every day senior citizens from both genders could be seen eagerly inquiring about any release, hike or status of their pensions and other monetary benefits essentially helping them to survive in the fag end of their life. The worst part is they are made to run from pillar to post for very ordinary cases. This is despite the fact that they have very limited to spend and most of them hardly afford huge transport fares for getting their minor problems like pension cases, re-fixation, gratuity etc. settled. It doesn’t suit a responsible welfare institution like social welfare department to take senior citizens for a ride. Instead of compelling them to make frequent visits to these offices, it would have been better if some mechanism was devised to give them pension at their door steps or by means of postal services.
While a section of old aged people get post-retirement pensions but majority of them actually rely on a couple of hundred rupees under Old Age Social Security Scheme by social welfare department. A significant population of elderly people does not avail any of these benefits and remain at the mercy of their family members, relatives or other people. Keeping these concerns aside, the ground reality is that old people are severely suffering due to psycho-social intimidation at family or societal level. Though the situation is not a grave as is in western or other countries, it has reached to a level where people need to ponder over the human issue.
Ironically the aged people, who once commanded great respect, are now the most ignored lot due to change in relationship preferences and impact of morally bankrupt and alien cultures. A few moments of interaction with them would reveal their painful living. These people are often neglected by their children and they feel ‘unwanted’ in most cases and even if some bother to accommodate them that too is done more with eying on their pensions than shouldering ethical responsibility (exceptions are there).
The generation gap is gradually widening and the children find it difficult to adjust with their elderly parents and grandparents because of their obsession with cable television, computers and mobile phones. At family level the worst sufferers are those who have working family members or who have lost their spouse or who have to stay at home due to physical weakness or sickness. In a competitive society where usefulness is measured by the economic yardstick, the aged are considered useless due to advancements and its accompanying social change. In such cases persons are generally neglected, ignored, demoralized and in some cases abused. The abuse is more psychological than verbal. Consequently the aged now suffer from numerous familial, social, economic, and psychological problems which have necessitated the need of more and broad based welfare measures.
The problems of aged can be addressed by extending welfare facilities to them by way of reasonable amount of old age pension not less than Rs. 1500 p.m, free medical care, concessions in transport fare, recreation facilities, reading rooms and usual courtesies extended to them at their doorsteps. Instead of giving much importance to old age homes, better give care to them, benefit from their experiences and spare some time to share with them. The elderly should not give any space to unnecessary stress or crisis and avoid conflicting situations at family and societal level. The old age is also the most opportune time for salvation and better to utilize some part of it in praying, reciting holy Qur'an, reforms and social work in addition to their engagement in hobbies and leisure activities.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 12 May 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 12 May 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 13 May 2010 00:00:00 IST
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