Today, well settled youngsters willingly leaving their old and feeble parents in old age homes have altered the actual purpose of these retirement homes which exist for lending shelter to the otherwise isolated old people. The supposedly young generation refuses to look after their begetters and ultimately, leave them at the doorsteps of old folks’ domiciles. In our efforts to chase our goal,earn our bread and in keenness to start a new life, is it fair to forget those who were once ready to bet the ranch for fulfilling our needs and making us capable of establishing our own identity in the society?
This blog post might surprise many of my readers as until now, I’ve never shared my views on any matter of societal concern. But I think it’s high time we all should consider this grave social issue, if we really plan to make this world a better place to live in. And let’s not forget we all are going to face this stage of life one day – looking for love, support and care to comfort ourselves (above all pursuits that presently give us happiness).
My first visit to an old age home on 19 th February of this year had a profound effect on me. Although the psychological pain that the elderly suffer and hide behind their smiles – while narrating the stories of their good times during youth – is indescribable yet I hope that by sharing my experience, I would be able to persuade majority of my readers to never let their parents go through this emotional torment.
Being a dietitian, I visited an old age home to enquire after the health and well being of the senior citizens there. I received a warm welcome with amiable smiles and as soon as our chit-chats took interesting turns, the ones who were hesitating at first also began to participate in our tittle- tattle. The joy of having a young guest, with whom they could share their experiences and numerous tales of life, was clearly visible on their faces.
Most of them were from well-to-do families and once held high ranks as that of an air hostess, teacher, army officer, fashion designer, entrepreneur and so forth.
They were happy in their lives until the stepped into their sixties, when some of them were asked by their children to find new homes for themselves; while others willingly settled on the decision of taking shelter in an old age home. Those who willfully opted for this new residence complained of loneliness i.e. lack of affection or care, and also of the anxiety they experienced by the dominance of their children. Even though majority of them receive money from their families frequently, their kids hardly visit them.
Even when we are young and our physical and mental strength serves us best, we do require the love and emotional support for having a purpose to live. Then in our oldness, can we imagine a life without a shoulder to lean on? Why have we forgotten that as babies our delicate mind and body always had the support of our parents and now it’s time to for us to be their pillars?
I was moved by how in just three hours these old men and women got attached to me, expecting me to stay for some more time as they haven’t talked to anyone so openly, lately. Even I felt the disinclination to leave their company after looking at the innocent wrinkled smiles that reminded me of my grandparents.
I understand that people living abroad or moving from place to place owing to their jobs have to rely on the care of old people’s homes for their parents but then they must take out time to meet them at least once in a week or as frequently as possible on their part.
But as a matter of fact, we should let the services of an old age home be for those alone in their declining years by misfortune; and not for the ones who by our insensitivity have to look for their support.
If you expect to live your life happily till your last breath, don’t let your elderly spent their twilight years on the bed of an old age home. Don’t let the old, weak eyes well up with the tears of despair as they stare at the door of a retirement home waiting for you to turn up one day;
as Mother Teresa believed –
“Being unwanted is the worst disease that any human being can ever