The Wrinkled Outcaste

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THE WRINKLED OUTCASTE
A Study on Ageing in India

GAYATHRI DEVI S, HS11H019

Fast-paced. That is how I would summarise the world around me. All are so busy running berserk behind money that they forget even about their own kids. In this world, if I say the elderly are neglected and forgotten, I hardly think it would be a surprise to anyone. Where have the respect, care and affection gone? Why do we see old-age homes multiplying when each set of parents have an average two children and hence plenty of room in their houses for their parents? Why is it that we have old and destitute people begging for alms in even a metro like Chennai? My term paper looks into this very same issue. It is shocking to know that India is getting old. The bare reality is that today, there are 77 million old people in India. In the next few years it will grow up to 177 million. Improvements in medical field have resulted in an increased life expectancy rate from 40 years in 1951 to 64 years. This started creating issues in the household as the size of houses did not increase with the increase in number of years a person can live. As a result there is growing stress in the household. Insecurity and isolation are the major issues generated among the elderly due to generation gap and changing lifestyle. There was a time when old people never had to worry about their old age disabilities as there will be someone or the other to look after them. Increase in the number of nuclear families resulted in an increase in working women. Consequently old parents become a burden for their children. The objective of this term paper is to describe elder abuse, to explore the problems faced by elderly, find causes for it and develop a way out of this. The basic problems faced by both old men and women are economic insecurity. There is also wide noticed loneliness leading to mental illness. Why is it happening? Lack of time; no one has time to listen to what old people want to say, they don’t ask for a lending hand but an ear will do. Old age is the time when there are a lot of hormonal changes happening within. Emotional support is more important than economic security. A sense of insecurity added with neglect from the family makes old age a “disease” for them. There is a widespread practice of separating parents among children as they say it is convenient for them in terms of accommodation and economic reasons. Demise of spouse can aggravate the emotional issues. Health disabilities create constraints to mobility. There is a tendency for them to talk down their health issues as this can create inconvenience to the family by taking them to doctor and spending money for medicines. Generally old women are the worst sufferers as they have more emotional trauma once they lose their husband. Also mostly women will be dependent towards their husbands in matter of finance, after their demise can lead to economic limitations. Now the whole freedom of

choice is in the hands of the other members of the family to decide anything regarding the old lady. Another major problem in Indian homes is the usual daughter-in-law fights. Sometimes there are misuses of laws when the daughters-in-law complain about domestic harassment they face under in laws leading to abuse by police to the in-laws. (Indian Penal Code- sec. 498{a} – created to confront dowry deaths). Formation of recreational centres can be a big relief for the elderly. There want a lending ears to listen to their worries and anxieties. So setting up of counseling centres can do a lot well. Also government should take initiative to conduct cultural fest and other activities exclusively for the old people. That is the need of the hour. HEALTH CONDITIONS If a young or middle- aged man, when leaving company, does not recollect where he had laid his hat, it is nothing; but if the same inattention is discovered in an old man, people will shrug their shoulders and say, “His memory is going”. Samuel Johnson.

It is a...
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