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Old age homes: Bane or boon ?
Old age homes: Bane or boon ? This question was posed to a group of about 450 senior citizens, a part of a Yahoo Web group called Sss-global. Some 20 senior citizens responded and here is the consolidated opinions of our elders
A DECADE ago, there were hardly any old age homes, barring a few run by the Christian missionaries (orphanages) or the state government. Now Hyderabad alone has about 140 old age homes of all types: for poor, orphans and destitute, pay and stay basis run by individuals, senior citizens associations, NGOs and trusts and the government social welfare department. While many provide shelter and food for older persons, others provide assistance to the physically disabled or bed-ridden individuals. Some old age homes attached to hospitals also offer full fledged geriatric care.

Then the question arises whether such elder homes are a bane or a boon in present changed circumstances. This question was posed to a group of about 450 senior citizens that were a part of a Yahoo Web group called Sss-global. Some 20 senior citizens responded and here is the consolidated opinions of our elders:

Boon

  • For senior citizens who are neglected, dumped, abused
  • For parents whose children are abroad or outside their city
  • For those who lack family support due to some reason

Strained relationships between senior citizens and their son-in-laws and daughter-in-laws

  • For those living alone, widows and widowers
  • For those without children or anyone to look after
  • For those who cannot carry on with daily chores like washing, cooking, etc by themselves
  • For those who have to pay the charges, fees of pay and stay elder homes
  • For those who run old age homes on fully commercial (read: exploitative) basis

They are a boon also because old age homes call for adjustments and learning from other inmates

However, while living in an old age homes, one has to adjust oneself with the rules and regulations of such homes such as specific meal timings, food habits, servants behaviour, attitude, etc.

Enjoy other inmates company without getting offended by their habits and attitudes. A person who has lived in a boarding school or hostel may find it easier to get along and adjust in the new environment.

Bane

It is a bane when senior citizens are forced to live in old age homes despite having their own children.

Mushrooming of old age homes will only make children give up their responsibilities and send their parents to such homes.

Some moot points that emerged are given below:

  • It is the responsibility of parents to groom children in Indian culture to take care of elders
  • It is a shame to live in old age homes when one’s children are there
  • Parents should teach their kids to be responsible in life

My personal views

I feel that we should not expect our children to look after us when we grow old. Senior citizens must secure themselves financially, should take care of their health and should be able to live alone. Expecting love, affection, care, harmonial relationships with son-in-laws and daughter-in-laws or living together with children has become impractical these days. We should not shy away from staying or adjusting in old age homes in the company of other inmates. Adjustments and accepting things as they are is the essence to happy living.

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