Foreword

There is neither a structure nor a texture to this blog. The subject matter can be anything and everything under the sky that I feel about at any given point that I happen to sit and blog rambling about everything in general. My thoughts and views are basically influenced by what I read, hear, gather, and ponder... if there is any copyright violation which I have not duly acknowledged, kindly let me know.

My world comprises of LO the little one, OA the other adult at home, kiddo the brother :)

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May 11, 2006

In the dusk of life...



"The many lines and wrinkles on my face
Are not folds in the baby fat of youth.
They are time measurements sketched
By the hand of the Keeper of Time"

A Conversation with an Old Man
By Lama Gungtang Konchok Dronme


Was just looking at the paper and my eye caught this article on Hyderabad commemorating the Day For the Aged and it set me thinking about a lot of things.. kind of stirred the hornet's nest.

With the rapid emergence of nuclear families and inflation forcing both the wife and husband to work in order to maintain a particular standard of living and providing the best for their children, there is actually no time to spare with the older generation. As long as they are healthy and look after themselves as well as help take care of the family, everything is a fairy tale.. parents working, grandparents taking care of the family.. perfect arrangement!!! But what tilts this all-so perfect balance is when the younger generation needs to take care of the oldies. When they are in the final stages of life and require our attention the most, where are we?? fighting our own battles for survival!!

It really gets me thinking about the security nets for the elderly. A person struggles all his/her life looking after the kids, oftentimes ignoring their own personal needs and finally where do they end up.. it really shatters me to see the cruelty of life. Not that I blame the new generation for neglecting but there is no choice. If you dont look after yourself, you are left nowhere.. the world around is moving at such a fast pace that you stop for a moment and you are left way behind.

With rapidly changing value systems and people getting hardly any time to spare for themselves, I think the concept of oldage homes in the best. When there is no one to take care of the elders at home, it is best they are put under proper surveillance where there are a lot of others in the same age group and share each others feelings. It breaks my heart to see my grandfather in a room all by himself, doing nothing but sleeping all the day. Nobody really has time to spare with him, not even his own sons, forget the daughters-in-law. I, for one, am no exception to this. I hardly do anything for him other than greet him and just speak to him a sentence or a two.

Is this punishment necessary for a human being, being isolated, hated by everyone, leaving people wondering why is he alive?? Why is there a stigma attached to keeping the people in an oldage home. Why is this a prestige issue? What the hell.. If you dont have time and energy to spare, why not give them the life they deserve, why not let them be happy in the company of their age group where they are properly fed and taken care of.

Keeping a loved one in a home is not wrong, I would have put amma there if I were to be in a postion not being able to care for her. In fact, I was contemplating a day-care kind of a thing for her if I moved on to work in an office environment (sort of dropping her when I go to office and pick her up when going back home). Surprisingly, no place offers anything like that. Thinking along these lines, my love for her was not lost anywhere, it is just that I wanted her to be taken care of properly when I am not around.. fair enough (or so it seemed to me). It does not mean that we are abandoning them, just doing what is best for them in the given situation.

Well.. looking around are there enough options for us to keep our loved ones? I doubt!! With their wisdom gained over the years, they are an asset to the society, no doubt, but why do we have to sacrifice their happiness at the altar of our ego. Why not make their happiness the primary motto, not what the society says..

If I want to give something back to the society in the name of amma, maybe I should just work with a place providing modes of entertainment and comfort for the elderly... well, another dream added!!

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep
-- Robert Frost

9 comments:

Kalpana said...

Sitting at home, aged people do get bored. What you said is right. They need to have some entertainment. Infact, they need to enjoy and spend happily at old age. It should never be a punishment. Just like baby care centres, can't we have aged care centres with some activities, they like, involved for them? Something perfectly, as what you said dropping when we go to office and picking them up when we come back. So, they can have perfect time together enjoying over there plus at home too. A good entertainment. It even made me think this way. But, I don't think there are centres of that sought. Our generation needs to create one.
Good idea. They are many things to do in life sush. Might be, like these.

Kalpana said...

Who is the writer for "Miles to go before I sleep"? I just 4got the name. Might be in Xth, we had that poem. It's my favourite. If you have it now, do send it thru mail or post it on net. Either way, ur wish.

Sush said...

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Chaitu said...

Well, I would say that it is decent thing to think of others happiness, especially loved ones. But my question is do you think at this age they want entertainment? Really? Do you think they are bored because they don’t have similar aged people to talk to or they don’t have any activity to do? I mean people who have gone through 50 or 60 years of life need to be told by us “what they are supposed to do? How they are to entertain themselves? What is best means of living life at this point?” Seriously?

I am not saying that it is not a good idea - I am just saying that when you are asked to do something, you crib about your feelings and what you would want to do. What about the elderly when they are 50 or 60 years of life? When they have spent most of their time and life for the young they never get to see or talk to properly? When they have made multitude of sacrifices for the young? Would not want what they desire? Is it not our duty to give them what they want? At least for a few times in their life?

I think what they really would want is to see the young they raised doing fine and great! They want to enjoy their last few years with their near and dear! Are we making money so that we don’t stay near our loved ones but go ahead and give them things that don’t make much (or any sense) to them? I mean are we not earning so that our kids and parents will be fine and that we get to spend time with them? Else nothing makes sense. If money and little interaction with the people we love is all we want, we don’t have go through so much pain in life. You might think that I am mad or stupid or even that I seem to contradict everything you say. All I am doing is asking you why not ask them what they want? After they spent so many years for you! Tomorrow would you want your kids to do the same to you? Would like to live in a far off place with similar aged people knowing that your kids are alive and out there ... not be worried what they are doing (don’t tell me you are going to talk to them for a couple of hours everyday?) and help in anyway possible for them? Would you not want to take pleasure in their joy and take part in their sorrow? It is not prestige that would stop me from placing my parents in aged people's home. It is the above thoughts that would prevent me. And if I am not able to have a Mercedes or a big house of mine that is alright with me. Desires never end ... the more you have, the more you want - you are never satisfied!! Do you think your will ever spend time with you?

When you are married, would you stay at a different place from where your husband is? (at least 2 or 3 days a week) - imagine asking people who raised you for a 20 odd years and when their only happiness in life would be from seeing you and being with you to stay at aged people’s home.

Day homes for the aged seems fine on the surface but again, if they are able to do that I guess we should leave the choice to them – take for a couple of days and let them make up their mind. It is when they are not in a position to move around or go around on their own that we need to take care of them and these things don’t help!! I don’t think that they would want to live forever (read expanded life) – whatever life they can live, they would want to live it with their dear ones.

You were talking about wisdom – well, a few questions – when was the last time you needed to make a decision you spoke to you parents or grand parents? If they are in the aged homes, do you think people are going to flock to those places to get advices from their parents? Really?

Aged homes are good for those who don’t have any dear ones or those are thrown out on the streets at this age. They are good concepts – just that it is not good while you are alive and can give them what they really want! And the day care thing for the elderly is also a good idea – this at least will allow them to live with their loved ones. But I think it should be done only if they are ok with coming to a day care center. These are they places you come to for getting that attention you want when you are not getting it at home! Personally I don’t think that this is good enough to send people to a day care aged home unless they would want to.


And by the way, that was a nice poem. I like Robert Frost. I actually started reading Geetanjali today ... I think I will enjoy it. If I happen to like any poems, I will email you!

PS: Dont be mad at me. I happen to put into words what is important for me. Good Luck and have a wonderful day!!

Sush said...

Firstly, why do you always end or begin your comment with dont get mad?? You think I have such a short fuse!!

Hmm... well, you are absolutely right in what you say, we dont need to say what the elders need to do or how to lead their life... we just need to be there for them.

It is really noble that you want to take care of your parents, I do appreciate it sincerely. Who does not want to? It is just that when it comes to practility, it becomes a lot more tougher than you think it is.

Every issue has a lot of angles to it. When I was thinking (read blogging) I was focussed on only a few of them .. the category where prestige is the only reason one does something. Mind you, the fear of society, not the actual love or concern is the reason why a few elders are left in solitude in the house. The circumstances and experiences have a lot of say in your thought processes and mine lead me to feel so strongly about it.. it is case specific though.

Entertainment.. well, my amma used to enjoy spiritual discourses, musical concerts, movies, etc.. even they want to relax and enjoy after a life full of responsibilites, right!! In the village it was different, but when in Hyd, she would be bored just watching TV all day and when I was at home, we used to play, talk, take a walk, go shopping, or just look at the people on the road.. If I dont have time to do all these with her, should she just sit and wait for me to come back.. In stead, I would prefer, she have her share of fun, do what she likes the most, being with people. Same would be the case with a lot of elders her age, 70 plus.. they need people around them, people they love, but who has time to stop everything and be there with them all the time... they need to earn and move on.. it is just a mad, mad, race for survival..

Chaitu said...

Well, there were two things I wanted to highlight mostly. One is that we should let them choose and the second is that we are the ones that can give them what they want most.

Regarding what you said about amma, I agree. She is bored and you would want her to have fun not get bored. Well, she has all those discussions and all because in the village there are a lot of people she knows and has a relationship with. They don’t want someone for company - like you said they need someone they love and they want to be with. If you told amma that you are going to send her to a aged day home center kind of thing, there are two problems - one she may have got hurt and the other is that it takes a while to forge new relationships and you don’t know if she wanted to or not. Still, that is a good idea and given a proper introduction to those and done properly, she might have gone there and had fun (assuming the aged day care center exists). As I said, it should be her choice too.

Nothing in this world comes free - maybe boredom is the price she chose to pay in order that she may have those few wonderful, happy moments with you.

As you said this is a multi-faceted problem and as always there are case specific stuff involved.

Coming to me taking care of my parents, I know there will be many things involved and that I will have to make some sacrifices to give my dad and mom what they want. I know that kids learn most from dad, mom and people at home about relationships, trust etc first. So it is very important to do things in the proper way not just for the society but also so that when being there for parents is possible, we will be there for them. Else the kids misunderstand these things and may assume that parents are not so important after all - they are just there to give them what they want etc, which should never happen. Well, enough of this - you had got the picture long back and I am blabbering on and on ... will stop here. Take care!

Sush said...

well.. you are right.. i got the picture.

Kalpana said...

All these things might depend from family to family. My grandparents are of age around 85. Luckily, since my mom is a home maker, she is able to take care of them. I know how much she does. My dad, when he gets time, he still takes them out to movies, temples, relative's place n so on. But, how many of them r there to take care like that(in this busy world, especially). Maybe, if I am a home maker, I would do the same as my mom. Do whatever they need. But, if both r working, I know, it will be so tough for the elderly people (even at age 60's) to just sit at home like that. It'll be quite boring. If kids are there, that's a different issue. But again, if they are at school, the situations will be the same. We need not tell them what to do. We need to understand n care of them. This is important. Letting them choose what they opt for is a good idea. Ok, just let me stop here....it's just going on n on n on.....

Chaitu said...

Well capsi ... you are correct! We did indeed get the point :D at long last!! Your mom and dad are so sweet - I just hope I can be the same when my parents need me.

For Evil Eyes on LO