Old Age Homes – Truth of 21tst Century

“Now I live my life in a better way than I had been living for last three years… it was like hell. Everyday we received humiliation by none other than our own blood. It was heart wrenching to see that children for whom you have sacrificed your life and done everything possible, turn away their faces when you just expect to see them around you…”, tears rolled down his eyes and then this old man came back to his spirit and enthusiasm. Wiping his tears, he said, “But now see I enjoy here, we play, work, eat and celebrate together. Now food is not thrown at my face but served properly, now festivals feel like festivals, not the regular Mahabharata that went on at home especially during festivals.”, tears rolled down my eyes too when I saw this 80 year old man telling me his story, trying to reinforce,  “I am happy”.

Talking to this man living in the old age home, put me in a tussle where my one way vision of looking at the old age homes in all negative aspects now started debating whether one can be satisfied here more than in one’s own home. Home is the best place to live in but it is sad that parents who grayed their hair to shoulder the responsibility of their children, giving them more than they required by sacrificing their own needs, turn their faces when parents just need their children’s physical presence around them. In this scenario old age homes are becoming a forced necessity for our country which is trying to march the path treaded in western countries. This is the reason why one can see this alien culture mushrooming across the length and breadth of the cities.

I feel sorrow when the old are not cared for at home; if they face constant insults and subjugation by their children, when every second of living together becomes perpetual torture due to parents being driven home that they are uncared for, it is always a better option for these old people to take refuge in the old age homes.

Though in India this wrecks the social prestige of the family, but when the children care not about it, then parents should show them that they would never need them if only they had not been rude. Many children argue that their financial conditions do not favor their looking after parents who impose a huge burden upon the former, these words bear no reason as parents did not throw them away when they might have faced financial constraints. If separation occurs for these reasons then it is certainly advantageous for elders to sacrifice their desires once again only to escape what they certainly do not deserve.

Perhaps living in the old age home makes the old more independent and is way better than getting caught within the shackles which do not allow you to do anything with your life. Old age homes are doing a fantastic job in giving accommodation to people who have shaped the future of their children, much to the extent that many couples walk themselves in these galleries to escape what they can foresee for themselves. Every individual has the right to healthy aging which does not only come about medically but also via social relationships and gratification. When this eludes elderly in their own houses, old age homes come to rescue and in most cases bear positive results.

Today it seems that privatization and globalization has filled our pockets but emptied our ethics, it has made us so techno philic that we like the touch of our keypad more than our mother. But as the good old saying goes – Life is not complete until it takes a full circle. What you sow so shall you reap. What you do unto others, others do unto you. The future looks grim with only fragments.  Painful yet true, this is what we deserve in the future when our children grow up.

Juhi Gupta

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