Old Age: Boon or Bane?

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THE LIFE span of human beings is marked by successive change of events beginning from gestation and ending in death through successive periods of infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and senescence. The process of growth starts with the uterine life and ends around twenty years post natal life when all linear increments of the body stop and the internal organs fully develop. Almost a decade later, the body starts losing all vital capacities gradually and it is believed to be the onset of ageing. Growing old is a characteristic feature of all living creatures but man stands out distinctly from others in thinking about it. Old age is inevitable. Every person on the earth has a dream of living a long life. It is no more a dream as it has become possible because of the advancement in the field of medical sciences. But old age is the most critical stage a person goes through. It is the stage where man faces problems socially, physically, mentally and even economically.

In India, old age was never a problem. Elder abuse was considered as a western problem and old age home was an alien concept. Earlier the elderly persons of a family were respected a lot and they continued to live with respect till their death. But now the times have changed. The elderly are treated as burden.

Old age is quite similar to childhood in many respects. The way a child or a baby is unable to do any work on his/her own and is dependent on their parents every now and then, an old person is also dependent on another person for getting their work accomplished as they are no longer physically fit. But here one should notice the irony. These old people are the same who took care of their children when were small. They did so willingly, without any complaint. They never considered their children as a burden.

But the same children when they grow up find it difficult to take care of their old parents. In their childhood, their parents had spent sleepless nights catering to their needs...
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