“The eyes that shone, now dimmed and gone, the cheerful hearts now broken!”
We are taught to worship the morning sun. The sun at noon is at its brightest and thereby starts its journey towards disappearing for the day, only to reappear again the next day. Human life cycle almost follows the same path. Well almost.
Sunsets are known more for the beauty and the realization that a day has gone by. The line “walked away into the sunset” when translated means lost into oblivion or fading away.
The walk from the noon of one’s life towards sunset begins cheerily basking in the radiant glow, warmth of the dazzling sun. Somewhere in between the radiance fades and the chillness sets in. It is the grey-zone before darkness creeps in.
Social changes and changes in the family structure have made life in this period tough. Most in this twilight zone are dependent on extended family, neighbours or “paid” help.
Securing the future
While governments have schemes in place for the elderly in the BPL segment those above the red line are dependent on their financial resources, children and or fate.
Savings have taken a battering after inflation has gone through the roof and unbridled price rise have burnt holes if not ditches into the savings of the retired.
Health is an issue that becomes the first victim in these sunset years. The cost of healthcare is on the rise. National and state schemes are there but not for all. Maintaining health insurance is a necessity but a tough one at that.
What is it that we can do for our own in the twilight years of their lives? On Children’s Day it would not be a bad idea to stroll down our conscience lanes.
Living with dignity – too much to ask for?
It is these years that parents need maximum support even if they do not ask for it overtly. The shoulders that once took the burden of the world now need a hand of assurance and who better than their own to do so.
Dignity and pride are as fragile as fine bone china. Utmost care needs to be given that this fine fabric that holds the elderly upright is not destroyed. So children need to be careful even while extending their helping hand.
Parents do many things intuitively for their children. There is a time in their fading years when they deserve the same and who else but their children or ward who can fulfill this need delicately.
Show me the money
Finances are a dwindling resource during these years for many. Our research has shown the urban middle class elderly parents often receive financial support from their well placed children. While this support is of immense value and gives confidence to the elderly, it is also essential to give personal attention and time.
We are poised at a time when life expectancy is going up but the retirement age remains unchanged. The lifestyle and financial benefits have undergone sea change but there is a generation caught between times. It is this segment who needs a re-visit to understand their need and requirement. Expecting legislative changes would be a long haul but some changes can be brought forward by their own.
This Durga Puja, about fifty Vridavan widows were brought to Kolkata. The Chief Minister met them and offered to help them re-settle in the city from where they were once shunted out by their own. This episode must have knocked on the conscience of many.
Team M3.tv makes a special appeal to all children to light a lamp of hope for those in their sunset years grappling with darkness.
The tiny light will not only illumine their world but would drive away the loneliness, the worries and bring back their smile.
They deserve to be happy.