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Problems Of Old Age


I recently conducted a social study of the status and condition of old-aged people and the old-age homes in Gujarat. This is a combination of the outcome of the study and the book review of a Gujarati book “Vrudhdhata Ni Samasya” by Dr Hiteshkumar N. Patel.





To begin with, the crux of the book:

1. Old-age persons themselves should:
  • Do as much household work as possible
  • Do outside work as far as possible
  • Try to adjust at maximum
  • Understand problems of the offsprings 
  • Expect least from the children
  • Do creative and useful social services
  • Earn, if possible
2. Society should:
  • Start mobile banks, mobile dispensaries, mobile libraries, mobile shops, etc. for the old-age people
  • Study the problems and needs of the elderly and help accordingly
  • Adopt individual old person or old-age home
  • Pension scheme for the old-aged
  • Offer concessions in Railways, Bus transport, hospital and food
  • At village and town level, prepare places where they can visit to see TV, listen to the radio, read newspaper and books, have chats with other friends
Some of the observations of my study:
  1. Adjustments: Negligence of the old with a difference of opinion and poor attempt to understand problems by the youth is the main issue. While rigidness and abnormal insulting manners of old towards youth are also to be properly understood. 
  2. Residents of the old-age home have less trouble regarding loneliness and praising time. Even they are better settled than persons at home as far as independence, self-respect, company of others and social status are concerned.
  3. Social status reduces in old-age. This change of position in the family and society creates issues. They have to do great compromise and adjustment for self-respect and social status.
  4. Financial needs are limited, but their dominance and leading role in the family and society are not cared about.
  5. Old-age residents of cities/towns feel more separated and lonely compared to the village dwellers. 

Old-age Homes (in Gujarat)

Actual causes for staying here:
  1. Torture by the daughter–in–law (65%)
  2. Quarrels amongst family members
  3. No-child couple
  4. Not having any home or inconvenient-small home
  5. Children staying abroad
  6. Poverty
  7. Problems/controversy
Causes attracting to stay in old-age homes:
  1. Free/concessional stay, food and medicines
  2. Company of same-aged people around
  3. Less difficulty in passing the time
  4. Peace with self-respect
Drawbacks of old-age homes:
  1. Away from family and friends
  2. Stay with disliking, dirty and diseased
  3. Have to compulsorily obey disliking disciplinary rules
  4. Have to stay with less intelligent, backward and/or depressed inmates
  5. Less social status
Who brought them here?
  • 67% - own offsprings
  • 18% - came here themselves
  • 15% - neighbours, friends or other relatives

The element of 'Self respect':
  • 91% - believe to have more here 
  • 97% - think to get better respect from the staff here than family members
  • 90% - feel better peace and happiness here compared to home
  • 81% - facility for medicine, clothing, staying and other needs (compared to only 46% at home)
Their 'Work status':
  • 78% - No work
  • 22% - Some work like cooking, serving food, cleaning room, utensils and helping to pay light and telephone and other bills
Willingness to make adjustments:
  • 81% - Yes
  • 19% - No
  • Qualified and rich inmates find difficulty with illiterate and poor. Some are egoistic, from other religion, selfish and hypocritical. They do not adjust easily.
Disease:
  • Diabetes
  • Indigestion
  • B.P.
Suggestions for old-age homes:
  1. Guest-room for visitors
  2. Arrange lectures of doctors, Kathakars, and motivational speakers
  3. Must give basic facilities
  4. Monthly money to parents from son
  5. Old ones should change their nature and try to adjust
  6. Young ones want elderly to (a) understand them, (b) adjust, (c) maintain their limit and dignity, (d) keep away from quarrelling in trivial matters and (e) keep fewer expectations or no wrong expectations, and (f) no advise when not asked
  7. Keep earning until possible
  8. Keep uniform attitude to all

Whether at home or old-age home, you have to live till you die. If this is a must, plan to live with dignity. If compromise is not optional, at both old-age home and your own home, why not try at home!

Be prudent and enjoy luxury of old age!

Book details:
Title: “Vrudhdhata Ni Samasya” 
Author: Dr Hiteshkumar N. Patel
Pages: 210 
Price: 125/- 
Publisher: Harsh Prakashan, Near Fuvara, Gandhi Road, Ahmedabad

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