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Plight Of The Aged...
Vindhya Malik | 09 May 2007

It has always been the custom to look after the aged in India. In the days of the joint family system, the patriarchs and the matriarchs continued to exercise the authority till the last. With the break up of the joint families, the parents still continued to live with their children and grandchildren.
 
But urbanization is changing this notion. Small flats cannot accommodate everybody. Parents are either tucked away in some dark remote quarter or are shared round the year with other members of the family.
 
Inevitably, as urbanisation increases, the old in India may find themselves an embarrassment to the young just as in the west. They will have to be sent to Old People’s Homes not out of callousness, but simply because they cannot be accommodated.
 
It is a fact that the plight of the older persons has not engaged the attention of many people enough the way it should and that the time has come for a radical departure from this posture.
 
Even in the countryside, with the cost of living steadily gong up, the business of looking after the old is becoming difficult. The doctors’ bills are becoming expensive and so is the special food, the old need.
 
If this is tragic, the problem of loneliness is frightening. Many psychologists have also written at length of terror at loneliness.
 
The ultimate fact is that there is no one with whom to talk about the world that no longer exists.
 
But, there lies one question…Can we lend a shoulder to our parents to shed their tears?