FOUNDATION COURSE PROJECT PROBLEMS OF THE SENIOR CITIZENS ILL-TREATMENT BY THE NEXT GENERATION AND GENERATION GAP ISSUES INTRODUCTION The traditional norms and values of Indian society laid stress on showing respect and providing care for the elderly. Consequently, the older members of the family were normally taken care of in the family itself. The family, commonly the joint family type, and social networks provided an appropriate environment in which the elderly spent their lives.
The advent of modernization, industrialization, urbanization, occupational differentiation, education, and growth of individual philosophy has eroded the traditional values that vested authority with elderly. These have led to defiance and decline of respect for elders among members of younger generation. Although family support and care of the elderly are unlikely to disappear in the near future, family care of the elderly seems likely to decrease as the nation develop economically -and modernize in other respects.
For a developing country like India, the rapid growth in the number of older population presents issues, barely perceived as yet, that must be addressed if social and economic development is to proceed effectively. Unlike in the western countries, where there is dominant negative effect of modernization and urbanization of family, the situation in the developing countries like India is in favour of continuing the family as a unit for performing various activities. In spite of several economic and social problems, the younger generation generally looks after their elderly relatives.
Though the young generation takes care of their elders in traditional societies, it is their living conditions and the quality of care, which widely differs from society to society. POPULATION AGING IN INDIA The reduction in fertility level, reinforced by steady increase in the life expectancy has produced fundamental changes in the age structure of the population, which in turn leads to the aging population. The analysis of historical patterns of mortality and fertility decline in India indicates that the process of population aging intensified only in the 1990’s. The older population of India, which was 56. million in 1991, is 72 million in 2001 and is expected to grow to 137 million by 2021. Today India is home to one out of every ten senior citizens of the world. Both the absolute and relative size of the population of the elderly in India will gain in strength in future. OLD AGE HOMES Old age homes are meant for senior citizens who are unable to stay with their families or are destitute. These old age homes have special medical facilities for senior citizens such as mobile health care systems, ambulances, nurses and provision of well-balanced meals. There are more than a thousand old age homes in India.
Most of them offer free accommodation. Some homes work on a payment basis depending on the type and quality of services offered. Apart from food, shelter and medical amenities, old age homes also provide yoga classes to senior citizens. Old age homes also provide access to telephones and other forms of communication so that residents may keep in touch with their loved ones. Some old age homes have day care centres. These centres only take care of senior citizens during the day. For older people who have nowhere to go and no one to support them, old age homes provide a safe haven.
These homes also create a family like atmosphere among the residents. Senior citizens experience a sense of security and friendship when they share their joys and sorrows with each other. Here is a list of a few old age homes in India. Many families from Indian homes have now started sending their parents to these old age homes. The essence of the Indian tradition to take care of their parents who are now exposed to many social and economic demons have to stay in these old age homes. This could be the last thing a parent would expect from their child in return of sacrificing their own lives for the well being of their children.
THE GENERATION GAP PROBLEM Mrs. Anila Mehta, a resident of a higher middle class family in my neighbourhood, aged around 65-68 years, usually comes complaining about her grand daughter roaming around freely with boys, or her daughter in law not wearing Indian ethnic wear at home. She is usually emotionally hurt by these acts of her daughter in law and granddaughter. I went to her and spoke to her about the problems she faces regularly at home. These are her own words (translated) : “I have to face a lot of problems because of my children. They have stopped listening to me, they say my thoughts are orthodox and backward in nature.
They fail to understand that I always am there for their benefits. They keep on doing everything completely against my opinion. Amisha(her grand daughter) keeps on talking on phone throughout the day, or keeps on roaming around with her friends. She does not understand the ill-effects of these things now. Its only that I care for her and do not want anything to happen to her. They also do not take me anywhere out of home. When I ask them why they do so they tell me I become a responsibility to them. They cannot enjoy as they wish and they have to take care of me all the time.
This is why they keep me locked in this house for all the hours they are out. They also ill treat me when it comes to any financial decisions of the family. ” CONCLUSION: So the only point I want to bring up here is this could be the problem with every other household in our country. The respect for the ones who have been solely responsible for bringing us up to where we are is lost. Its time for people to realize that senior citizens are not a burden. They are mere assets to the country with their vast ocean of love, affection, knowledge and experience.