Who won’t need a carefree home, full of happiness and contentment? An individual lives a complete life thinking and living for others. From birth till death, an individual is burdened with responsibilities. Growing up, studying, earning a good lifestyle, marrying, being parents, growing up and nurturing children, again make them complete individuals, providing them with all basic needs of life that is food, clothing, and shelter, etc. till settling them to make them the best and contended. What happens after this? The phase of life, where almost every responsibility of the family is completed is old age. Now, this is the last phase of life where an individual has to retire from every responsibility and to attain a life full of divinity and simplicity. This is the most important part of life where an individual waits for the fruit of the entire life they have spent for the sake and betterment of others. It is their turn to get what they gave to their children and family as the health and body start declining, and they have to rely on almost every member in their family to fulfil their basic needs and necessities. This age is the beginning of new challenges, and hardships senior citizens have to face with respect to their health and family. Each action has psychological and emotional effects on them.
Senescence: The Final Stage Of Life
Wondering what life has left for us is the biggest question mark as we never know what is in our future and where our destiny will take us. Old age is the most crucial phase of life where the individuals need utmost care and protection as the body doesn’t support them due to age factor, and body growth starts decreasing. Old age or Senescence are people aged 60 years and above. This age is full of emotional ups and downs since they long for more care and attention. Some have big families but still have no support system for them, and others may have nuclear families and are lucky enough to have happy and supportive family members. They need warmth and joy, the joy of smiling together, including them, the warmth of taking care of their health and basic needs. The kind of respect the elders get in their homes determines the kind of atmosphere the family has in itself. If the elders’ faces are happy and smiling, the family is complete in all self. But there are many sad faces also who are deprived of the happiness which they deserve in their lives in spite of doing everything for others throughout their life. Either they are thrown out of their own houses or left alone in the old age homes. This is the dark reality of many families where elders are considered as a burden, and their basic necessities are ignored or not taken into consideration.
Reasons For Sending Old Age People Or Senior Citizens To Old Age Homes:
There are various reasons why old people suffer a lot and are forced to leave their own homes. They sacrifice their whole life for the sake of their children, but in return, sometimes they don’t get enough happiness to manage their left years of life satisfactorily.
- Division of families from Joint to Nuclear.
- Low source of income.
- Single earning member in the whole family.
- Clash of relationships and understandings with each other, mainly in-laws.
- Fear of holding responsibilities.
- Issues of Interference in the family with each other.
There are many such issues that force old people to live a life that is not suitable for them. For the sake of their families, they sacrifice themselves. In severe cases, they are even left on the streets to wander and beg for their bread and butter. Children forget that those who gave them life and brought them into this world are the angels in disguise, but the shattered houses and wrinkles on their faces are not their burden but their chance to return their own interests when they need the most.
Old Age Homes: A Ray Of Hope
When all the doors of one’s own house are closed, there are old age homes that provide shelter to those who are deprived of the joys that senior citizens deserve. Old age homes are needed most of the time as these are the sheltered homes for those who are forced to leave their families and homes to wander alone on the streets. It is a ray of hope for those who think they have no one to support or take care of. These are multi-residence nursing homes for old people. Old age homes are also known as retirement homes. These shelters have medical facilities, availability of meals, health care, or sanatoriums. In India, there are many old age homes and Kerala has the highest number of old age homes. The main reason is to benefit the one who is in need and work for a cause.
Senior citizens feel secure and safe as the environment is friendly, and they have a sense of respect for themselves which they feel lost when they are considered a burden in their own families. They have people of their own age groups to enjoy, to share, to talk, to gossip, to discuss, and to refresh. These shelters give wings to their left unfulfilled dreams as they find a reason to smile. Of Course, the heart full of agony and pain cannot be ignored as they still have a hope that someday their family will need them and take them back. The searching eyes always wait for someone to come and meet them: their loving grandchildren and their own family members.
Children of such parents never live a satisfying life as they know deep inside their hearts that they are doing wrong. They are teaching their own children what they will get from them in return in the coming future. It is what one sows one reaps.
Problems faced by Old age people:
Old age is not as simple as it looks. It is surrounded by many factors that make it even more tough and difficult to lead. Senior citizens with ageing factors face many health-related issues like Diabetes, Heart diseases, Chronic diseases, depression, eye problems, hearing loss, body pain, etc. There are facilities provided by NGOs and various foundations that take care of these old age homes. They are provided with medications and treatments, whatever possible. In some of the cases, their children send money for them in the old age homes in order to give them complete care and protection.
In many cases, old age parents willingly choose to live in old age homes in order to find a company for them and to avoid interference in their families.
Disadvantages Of Old Age Homes:
- They are expensive.
- Sometimes there is a loss of freedom and independence.
- Issues of adjusting to the new routine and timetable.
- Sometimes adjustment problems.
Why Are Old Age Homes Increasing?
Old age homes are increasing since the western culture has started gaining popularity. Living separately in nuclear families is the tradition of western culture. Since they enjoy living alone and not interfering in their children’s lives. In India, people are generally fond of living in big joint families. They enjoy each other’s company, and it is a matter of great pride if the elders are living together in the family with their sons and daughters-in-law. But with the change in time and people taking more interest in western culture, various cultural changes are coming up leading to cultural clash and downfall of a beautiful tradition.
With the change in time, values and ethical behaviour of people living in the society is also changing. Now people want to live carefree lives full of enjoyments and free from stress and interference of their elders. They are happy and satisfied if the burden of their elders is not on their shoulders. Very few are the people who find immense pleasure to give love and a carefree atmosphere to their elders/parents. Few go away leaving their own country in search of studies and settling down in well-reputed jobs and businesses. In searching and making themselves as gentlemen, they forget their parents’ happiness and leave them alone in search of wait and loneliness. What is left is the unwanted waitings and love they keep on finding for them. Still, they have the mindset that their children are well settled abroad, and maybe one day they will come back to meet them. This unwanted wait never gets over and either they die with their open eyes still looking up in search of their children.
“Love, Care, and Support are what elders need for a respectable living, let’s give them a safe and lovable atmosphere”!
Availability Of Free Old Homes/ Shelters:
There are many who provide a heavy amount to make their parents comfortable at Old homes, taking care of their basic needs in return for money to the agencies or the old age homes authorities. But there are many who don’t have access to either their family or can’t afford a penny to have their basic needs of living. They have to either wander on the streets in search of the living. For them, various NGOs provide free stays and access so that they can live their life peacefully and with respect. There are Seva Mandalis and various trusts who provide them with food, clothing, shelter and living free of cost. In these charitable trusts, many ailing people get shelter and life. Various organizations are working to benefit senior citizens in whatever way possible. Many people come and donate in order to give happiness to the people in need. At least a small step can give happiness to them which their own family is incompetent to provide.
“Let’s respect our birth givers, who took immense pain in nurturing us.”
The above-mentioned quote clearly signifies how it is important to maintain the give and take relationships. The relations of blood need dedication, pain, sacrifices, etc. What our elders can give us and what in return we can give them depends on the cultural values imbibed within each individual. Time and support is the best gift for them. Since money can’t buy happiness, it can only give momentary happiness of fulfilling needs. Fulfilment of needs is equally important if the desires are living inside the individuals. Smiling is the best answer our elders can give us indicating their happiness and satisfaction in their leftover years of life.
“Give Them Love And Care, Spend Time Together, Let’s Be The Reason For Someone’s Happiness”.