June 16, 2010

A Short Moral Story on “Caring for the Old”

In olden times our country had the joint family system. It was a nice system. Under this system the needs of all age groups in the family were looked after very carefully. It took good care of the children, the young and the old alike, without any reservation or any kind of pressure or pain to anybody. The old looked after and loved the children, while the young respected and served the old.

In modern times due to the urbanization and the job requirement of the young people the ideal family system had gradually broken down. The people are following western countries and nuclear family system is fast coming up leaving the old people helpless and neglected.

In search of employment the young people are forced to leave their ancestral houses which their parents and forefathers had built with the seat of their brow. They live in rented houses in cities and aged and the old people are left in the native homes. The old people feel totally neglected and sometimes they have to take refuge in homes for the aged which are run by some social organizations. “Old Age Homes” or the homes for the aged as they are called are a western concept, totally alien to the Indian people, but the Westernization of our society has given rise to this problem of caring for the old.

The young people think the old as unwanted burden and a source of hindrance in their progress. They find it difficult to meet the needs of the old people. They simply forget that their parents and grand-parents brought them up and scarified their youth for their good. They made all sorts of sacrifice for their better future. Had they not helped the young they would not have achieved the position, they are occupying now. They faced untold troubles and brought up the young with the hope that they shall look after their old age with care. Now in the evening of their life they need their love, attention and care. It is not a favor that the old are seeking. They want it as a return of the love and care with which they brought up the young during their infancy and youth. It is the duty of the young to look after the old people in the family. They must be kind, considerate and compassionate towards the elderly people.

Always remember that every old person had been young and every young person has to grow old on day, if he or she is ordained to live long. Experience, knowledge and wisdom grow with age. The elders in the family are a store-house of wisdom, knowledge and experience. Old people in the family should not be regarded as an unnecessary burden. They mat not be physically fit and active but they have mature wisdom and valuable experience which can help you at the time of crisis.

Here is an old story which tells us how the old people and their wisdom and experience is helpful to overcome a crisis.

The Story

Once in very, very olden times, the people of Romanian thought that the old people are an unnecessary incumbrance. They are weak and old and are unable to do any work. What is the use of keeping such people? They have already lived their life time. So they decided to kill all the old people in the country. All the old people above the age of fifty were ordered to be killed. Lots of wise and old people were killed and a store-house of wisdom, knowledge and experience was destroyed.

A young man had a great love and respect for his father. He did not want him to be killed. He hid him in a cellar and took good care of him. He always consulted his father in the time of difficulty and trouble. Nobody knew that the old man was living.

As the years passed terrible draught overtook the country and brought famine in its wake. The people had a lot of sufferings, troubles and sickness. The stores of food grains were fully exhausted. They did not have a single grain of seed to sow in the land. They were helpless to solve this problem. Everybody looked worried.
The old man saw everything from his cellar. He asked his son the cause of his worry. The son told him about the problem the country was facing. The old man thought for a while and then said. “Don’t worry, my son! Don’t tell it to any one for the time being. Take your plough and plough up the lane in front of your house, then rake it over.” The son did just as his father had advised.

The rains came and wheat, barely, oats and beans began to sprout out of the ground at some places. Soon the news spread about this unheard thing. The people were surprised to see a man reaping when he had not sown anything. The old man had advised his son to do so, because he knew from his experience that when the people bring their crop home many seeds drop on the ground in the way. He was sure that some seeds may be lying un-noticed in the lane in front of his house. He was proved right.

Soon the king summoned the boy to know the secret of his wisdom. After a lot of hesitation the boy told the king that his old father had advised him to do so. The king was wonder-struck at the wisdom of the old man. He asked the boy to bring his old father to the court, because he wanted to reward him. After all the old man had saved the life of the whole nation by his sagacious advice.

After this incident the people of that country did not kill their old people. They loved and respected them. The treated them as a valuable treasure for the nation.

Moral of this Story

You must love and respect your old people. Your parents and grand parents need your love and care. In old age people don’t have must to do, so they begin to feel lonely. They need your company. The old people become physically weak and inactive. The old age affects their mental health also. They become irritable and demanding like children. They seek your attention as the child does. The young people often do not understand this change in the behavior of the elderly people.

Old age is the most difficult part of the life’s journey. It is your duty to make this part of the life of the old as comfortable as you can. If a person is happy at heart he always feels young. If we keep our old people well and cheerful, they will always feel young and happy even in their old years. Besides the physical care the old people need your company. Sit with them and give them your company. Make the old people feel that they are not an unnecessary burden, but they are most wanted and loved. Give the old a feeling that you look forward to them for their advice and guidance in life. Make them feel wanted, respect, loved and cared for. Keep your elders well and cheerful, if you want their guidance and earn their blessing in life.

June 14, 2010

90% older persons abused by family members - Agewell

On the occasion of  World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Announced by UN

Indian society is the only society, where people bless their dear ones with blessings like “live for 100 years”, ”May god add my years to your life”, “May god bless you with 100 years of health and happiness”, etc. In India Old Age is a great Celebration in itself. Even today the concept of Elder Abuse is difficult to comprehend in Indian circumstances. But unfortunately it has become an ugly fact of life even in our society.

Elder abuse, the mistreatment and torture of older people, a manifestation of the timeless phenomenon of inter-personal violence is prevalent in Indian families too. This is an extremely sorry state of affairs. Imagine, being mistreated, verbally abused, and denied proper food, proper medication and care by younger members of family. Older people are indeed in a very helpless situation with eroding social value system in India.

On the occasion of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Agewell Foundation an NGO, managing Helpline to assist older persons across 540 districts of India, has analyzed the kinds of problems and mistreatments older persons have to face now a days.

  • 90% cases of elder abuse abusers were young members of their families.
  • However, in almost half of the cases (51%) older persons don’t even know whether they are abuses or mistreated. In other words, they have become habitual of mistreatment, harassment and even torture in their old age.
  • 3/4th older persons (74.5%) found emotionally or psychologically abused whereas 19% older persons are found physically abused. Physical elder abuse is non-accidental use of force against an elderly person that results in physical pain, injury, or impairment.

Older persons are emotionally abused by Intimidation through yelling or threats, humiliation and ridicule, habitual blaming or scapegoat, ignoring the elderly person, isolating an elder from friends or activities, terrorizing or menacing the elderly person, etc. Ignoring health conditions of elderly, financial exploitation of elderly, sexual abuse are found other major forms of elderly abuse.

Major Consequences of elder abuse are as frequent arguments or tension between the caregiver and the elderly person & also changes in personality or behavior in the elderly person.

How to prevent Senior Citizens from Domestic Mistreatment

Tips for older people

  • Stay sociable as you age; maintain and increase your network of friends and acquaintances.
  • Keep in contact with old friends and neighbors if you move in with a relative or change to a new address.
  • Ask friends to visit you at home; even a brief visit insures observation of your well-being.
  • Accept new opportunities for activities. They can bring new friends.
  • Participate in community activities as long as you are able.
  • Avoid interference in the lives of younger family members.
  • Do not complain or instruct unnecessarily.
  • Don't sign a document unless someone you trust has reviewed it.

Tips for Families

  • Be respectful and caring towards old people.
  • Maintain close ties with aging relatives and friends. Keep abreast of changes in their health and ability to live independently.
  • Discuss an older relative's wishes regarding health care, in the case of incapacitation and disposition of his/her personal assets.
  • Find sources of help and use them.
  • Sensitize children about needs of old age and let them interact with old people as much as possible.

Contact Agewell Foundation for any guidance or support. Ph.: 011-29836486/ 29840484, Website: www.agewellfoundation.org

Never forget, one day you too would be old.


June 2, 2010

Media Reports on Agewell Survey on Wisdom of Old Age