Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Mistreated Silvers.




“Life is like a dogsled team…. Unless you are the lead dog, the scenery never changes”. Someone has rightly said this. As long as a person in physically and financially fit to lead himself and his folks, he has respect and dignity. However, as soon as he becomes useless in doing so, the scene changes completely and he becomes the worthless part of the family.
89-year-old Ram Pradhan sits in a corner of his flat and silently, slowly chops vegetables under the observant eye of his daughter in law. What has become his daily routine now; he takes an agonizing 30 minutes to do so and another 15 minutes to walk back to the kitchen. He suffers from elephantiasis, while his wife is partially blind.
Hardly does any one know about such harassment done to the elderly within the four walls of the house on a regular basis. At present this exploitation is been done on a huge scale which is termed as Elder Abuse. Elder abuse is defined as a single or a repeated act or lack of appropriate action occurring within a relationship where there is an expectation of trust. This may result in physical harm and mental distress leading to harmful conditions of living and endangering the elder persons safety. Physical harm can be slapping, beating, pushing, burning, pulling hair or forced confinement. Mental torture can be humiliation, insult and black mail.
There are severe cases of elder abuse where children harass their sick and old parents to give them their property or savings. Moreover, we often get to hear cases about daughter-in-law’s getting tortured by her in-laws. There is a law intended to protect daughter-in-law against such torture, which on one side is good. However, people fail to look at the other side of the coin i.e., the misuse of this law by the daughter-in-law against her in-laws. Often the daughter-in-law files wrong complaints against her in-laws to get rid of their illness and burden. There are many cases where the aged commit suicide after being sued and jailed wrongly. This phenomenon is on a rise due to increase in nuclear family culture. Children want to live alone, on which the aged disagree and hence the children find such ways to kick them away from their houses.
Elder abuse has been going on since a long time but barely anyone considers it or takes action against it. Sometimes even the aged or the children themselves are unaware of such things happening around them. Senior citizens do not report such crimes, because they feel humiliated, ashamed or feel that they might be put in some old age home far away from their children. Sometimes under the pretext of loving their children and not being able to register case against them, the aged become victims of such abuse.

Another dilemma faced by the senior citizens in urban area is of the insurance policies. Some of the public sector health insurers announced hiked premium for senior citizens this year. 70+ citizens (who want to buy a policy) will have to pay over Rs. 13,000/- per year for a cover of Rs.2 lakhs against the earlier of Rs. 7000/-.
“How we are supposed to pay such a huge amount when we have retired in modest pensions, says Mrs. Ahluwalia”.
At present, the companies are also reducing the commission paid to the agents for insuring the elders. Only 10% is paid to the agents for insuring people between the ages of 45-55 years. Moreover, they have stopped paying agents their charge for insuring people above the age of 55. Earlier, the agents used to get 15% of the commission for the same. This makes the agent disinterested in helping the aged.
Moreover, according to the rules and regulations of many organizations, purchasing a policy after the age of 50 is the most difficult. Generally, the companies do not entertain people beyond 50 years of age because of the less profits they get by doing so. Moreover because of stringent procedures and red tapism renewal of the policies also becomes a tiresome job.

Another major issue the aged living in urban areas have to tackle is lack of security and protection. With children migrating to cities and abroad, the elderly are forced to stay alone. The concept of joint family has declined slowly making the elders to stay by themselves. Moreover, in today’s fast moving world where people are busy 24/7, they hardly get time to talk to neighbors or talk to people staying nearby. “I am staying in this apartment for the last 5 years but hardly do I know the names of people staying in the same floor where I stay. I work in the night and in the day time am busy finishing off other pending works, which gives me no time to talk to my neighbors, says Mr. Majumdar, a call-center employee staying in Thane.”
Elders staying unaccompanied now depend on electrical gadgets like video door phones, alarms and intrusion detectors. Moreover, being all by themselves they crave for attention, love and care. Sometimes the servants and house cleaners show this care, which might prove to be risky. Even if they do not allow strangers to come inside their house, they tend to forget that they are risking their life at the hands of their house cleaners whom they trust so much. Out of the eight cases of murder of senior citizens in Mumbai in 2005, five were committed by servants or people known to them. Even after repeated request by the police officers to register the identity of the servants’, people forget to do the same and then land into dilemma.
The number of 60+ people in 1947 was 19 million and at present, it is 80 million.
In the next two decades, it is expected to touch 137 million, due to rising life expectancy. With such rapid increase in the population, the problems are also anticipated to increase. Hence, proper steps and precautions taken now can lead to better and secure environment for the old people to live. Moreover, the children should think twice before mistreating their elders because they themselves are going to be old one day. As it is rightly said by an English writer- Compton Burnett-Dame Ivy, “Don’t be too hard on your parents, you may find yourself in their place.”

12 comments:

Honey said...

Well, it was nice to read this post. somehow ppl find it difficult to write on this topic as they dont get touched nowadays.
Hope to read a lot of such imp topics in the coming future.

Keep up the good work.

StandbyMind said...

This was a real eye opener..and beautifully written!

InkTank said...

i was so impressed with this post that i took the same theme and wrote my own blog recently....u write well!

!!Golden Vulture!! said...

hmm good topic to post buddy .. gotyaa from orkut blogspot community ... its really hard to earn money yourself you must need a qualifications .... so we all must thank to GODji for giving us our PARENTS !!! :) keep smiling

!!Golden Vulture!! said...

hmm good topic to post buddy .. gotyaa from orkut blogspot community ... its really hard to earn money yourself you must need a qualifications .... so we all must thank to GODji for giving us our PARENTS !!! :) keep smiling

saran said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
saran said...

you analyze a lot about ppls around you... not many ppl select this topic to write upon.You use simple words and thats good.seems you love ur parents a lot.keep it up with this work..

regs,
saran.

Rahul Singh said...

very good really touchy

Viraj said...

Not many times one comes across posts on sensitive issues like that. That was a grt post...covered aspects like insurance problems which i was never aware of.

btw, u dint write anything for a long time now?? waiting for some new posts frm u.

cheers.

http://virajgupta.blogspot.com/

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arnab - a person waiting for a new dawn said...

what a great article.it has really brought about new feelings in me for the people in the old age homes.

indeed refrshing to read your thoughts on this sensitive topic.

arnab - a person waiting for a new dawn said...

i have just started blogging,so comments are really welcome..if only u could spend some of your valuable time in visiting my blog and leaving a comment abt how i am doing,i would be highly obliged..thanik you!!