Are senior citizens a burden or a blessing?

Unfortunately the senior citizens develop a feeling of being a liability to the family, society and the system
An elderly man walks towards dining room in an Old Age Home in Jammu. [Representational Image]
An elderly man walks towards dining room in an Old Age Home in Jammu. [Representational Image]Haseeb Ibn Hameed for Greater Kashmir

BY ABDUL REHMAN BHAT

Admitted and irrefutable law of nature is that birth and death are integral and inseparable components of the cycle of life in which, besides other creatures, human beings in different stages of their age are the key players.

Another unquestionable, undeniable and unchallengeable fact is that today’s youngster has to be tomorrow’s elder, whom we call a senior citizen, who, as a matter of principle, thus attains the distinct status of being the one to be always held in the highest esteem.

The stage when he has aged has undergone changes in physical, mental and even economical perceptions - thereby making him dependent, rather than independent, is the time when he actually requires a lot of emotional support.

Contrarily, the senior citizens develop a feeling of being a liability to the family, society and the system-the most unfortunate situation of the day.

To date, the million-dollar question to family and society is: do these senior citizens receive a fair deal from their children? The ones who have given them birth nursed them, educated them, have been with them in thick and thin, brought them up to be competent enough to earn a livelihood, and have their own family with wholesale control, authority and rights over all that his parents/senior citizens had earned all through their life passing through ups and downs.

Now when he/she is not what they were, who should come to their rescue, - blood relations, society, or the government? I personally feel, principally, his own blood relations and secondly, the society and the government.

Surely, the demands of the senior citizens are not too big that require lavish spending or facilities, and which is not above the meeting capacity of any one of the three - the family, the society, or the government.

All just require basic needs for simple survival, a sense of security, dignified life in the home and in society; and proper care and medication by the government which is otherwise constitutionally duty bound to make sure these basic amenities for such seniors, who have in their times contributed a lot in building the system and the state. And then at the end of the day, they aspire for a peaceful death.

While my factual presentation should be an eye opener to the families, the sons and daughters and others in the home, of the senior citizen, society also has a bigger role in giving dignified life to the senior citizens.

If the menace of maltreatment of senior citizens at the hands of their children remains unchecked and untreated, it would become disastrous for the overall health of the elderly.

Here, I would not absolve the religious scholars regardless of colour and creed. They need to play their part in sensitising the youngsters about the essence of parents.

Above all the government, which is constitutionally duty bound to ensure the basic needs of its citizens should live up to its salt as true patriots, lest the senior citizens feel, we do not have anyone to take care which would undoubtedly be most unfortunate, if not regrettable.

Mr. Bhat is a 75yr old Senior Citizen from Bagh-e-Mehtab.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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