|What is the value of Senior Citizens in Society?
Senior Citizens are invaluable to society because of their experience knowledge and
rational approach to problem solving. Most of the highly regarded members of society, be
it politicians, educationists, doctors, business people or leaders from any walk of life
are undoubtedly senior citizens.
Seniors should realise that just crossing a chronological mark does not mean retirement
from life. In fact, they should volunteer to make their experience available to society.
This could be for a social cause or for individual benefit, but the end result is that
everyone will be benefited.
|What about Society's attitude to the seniors?
Society tends to think of the older person as out-dated. We should instead tap the
potential and experience of the seniors and put them to good use. Their families, the
Govenrment and soceity at large should provide them employment opportunities, set up
trusts to create such opportunities and establish a social security system whereby the
seniors become financially independent.
|Why is the joint family system now not so common in India?
It is believed that now only 60 percent of senior citizens live in joint families. The
rest of them live alone with their spouse, with distant relatives or in old age homes.
There are many reasons for this.
First of all the younger generation is living in a more competitive world where both the
husband and wife have to work to maintain a decent living standard. Prices of all
commodities have escalated. Under these circumstances, they are unable to give much
attention to the welfare of the elders. While the older generation consider it a duty to
take care of the elders, this is not a matter of priority for the present generation.
Elders too have a tendency to expect more from the children and sometimes tend to place
unrealistic demands. All this contribute to the increase in the generation gap and the
break-up of the joint family system. See Also:
|What are the economic difficulties faced by elders in India?
Most often, after their retirement the elders in India have no income at all. In the
villages, the conditions are worse.
In India, among the older generation it was mostly the men who were the bread winners of
the family and were much older than their wives. So, women who are widowed, are most often
left without a livelihood.
In contrast with the western countries there is no social security system in India and
only those who have retired from government jobs or large companies get a pension.
Sometimes this is very inadequate.
The dowry system also drains out much of the earnings of the parents.
|What can be done to improve the financial status of the elders?
The elders themselves should first of all take efforts to get a steady income in
their old age. This should start much earlier in life when they are working. Planned savings and investments in government bonds
and medical insurance should be made with the advice of people experienced in this field.
If possible, an alternative part-time job should be arranged if the elders desire to work.
This could keep them physically and mentally active and also provide for financial
Youngsters on their part should see that once they are financially comfortable, they
should provide for the elders. Even if they were living abroad or far away from their
parents, they could see that suitable arrangements are made for their care and well-being.