As a grown up, I have realized and observed that unfortunately in Kashmir we have been witnessing sharp rise in abuse, negligence and disrespect of the elderly people in the society. Recently I was quite disheartened to see a poor old man begging on the road, an elderly innocent man crying as he had no one to help him in the hospital.
He was not accompanied by any of his family members. He had no clue of what medicines to take and what procedures to go through; fortunately after seeing his helpless condition the staff lend a helping hand to him.
We, as young citizens must reconstruct the meaning of old age and form healthy public policies for better living of elderly men and women. The socio-cultural factors that have affected the risk of elder abuse in the valley include: ageist stereotypes where older adults are depicted as frail, weak and dependent as well as the erosion of the bonds between generations of a family, the conflicting systems of inheritance and land rights. COVID-19 pandemic too has amplified the violence, abuse, and neglect of older people.
According to the latest statistical report the number of elderly in JK are as follows:IIn order to maintain the quality of life and independence of the old, the following points must be taken into consideration:
Government and the healthcare department should guarantee that the old who are sick and in need of care receive medical treatment to the best.
Support for the elderly in their efforts to help themselves stay physically and mentally fit. Proper source of entertainment like programs on television and radio in local languages must be provided. Kashmiri songs and dramas must be played so that the old can taste the sweetness of their folklore.
Reservation of seats for old citizens must be provided in local transport by the government.
Begging is a menace. Government should take an initiative to condemn and ban this activity.
Seeing the present scenario, establishment of old age homes is the need of the hour Parents who are neglected and maltreated can get a sigh of relief and freedom to breathe in such places. Besides government, NGOs can also play a great role.
Make your old parents feel valued by seeking their advice, giving them compliments, hearing them, learning from their experience and encouraging them. It is obligatory for all of us to make ourselves and our children cherish and value every single moment we spend with our old parents.
Proper consultations, nutritious diet, supplements and light exercises should be encouraged among older citizens.
The old must be made aware about various government schemes like integrated social security scheme; it is a State Sponsored Scheme where financial assistance is being provided to old and elderly widows, Senior Citizens Saving Scheme, National Old Age Pension Scheme should be availed by them.
Remember this holy teaching:
“And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve any but Him, and goodness to your parents. If either of them or both of them reach old age with you , say not to them (so much as) “ugh” nor chide them, and speak to them a generous word” ~ Quran 17:23 .
Let’s walk gently on the dried leaves, without crushing and trampling them as they were the ones who gave us shade one day.