The quest to understand certain paradoxes of life may lead us to a labyrinth. Growth and getting old is such an interesting and perplexing subject. The moment we are born, we are growing towards the end may seem as a philosophical statement. All are happy to grow or live long but don’t want to get old. As we know, human life can be roughly divided into five stages – Infancy, Childhood, Adolescence, Adulthood and Old Age.
During childhood and adolescence, the natural yearning is to be an adult. In those stages of life, the general feeling is that time is not moving fast as expected. But, a person who has reached in his/her fifties may complain that time is running very fast. Statistics show that there were 901 million people aged 60 years or over in 2015. By 2030, this number is expected to grow to 1 billion and by 2050 to 2.1 billion.
So, addressing the problems of older people is an important task before governments and administrations in the present-day world. People aged 60 years and above are generally included in this category. This phase of life is considered as problem ridden. The reasons for that assumption may vary from country to country or from region to region. For people who are worried about deteriorating physical health and financial health, loneliness and neglect would be unbearable. It is true that the atmosphere in the joint families was a great relief to elder people. But in the age of nuclear families talking about joint families is meaningless. Another view is that, earlier when life was simpler and more value based aged people were more respected.
Problems elder people generally face are emotional, physical, financial, psychological and social. There is no need to go into the details of each of these. Getting involved in collectives of the same age group may help elder people to overcome loneliness to a great extent. Such group activities will create opportunities for people who are gifted with the talent to sing, play music instruments, act, draw etc. For elder people, who could not express their talents because of wide ranging reasons during their prime age, participating in such programmes itself will be thrilling. It is the duty of family and society to make sure that elder people are not isolated and neglected. Younger generation is obliged to the old generation for so many virtues they enjoy now.
Creating awareness among people to live a healthy and happy life is extremely important in this context. There lies the twist. As a respected old man pointed out, creating awareness among elder people is very essential, but at the same time it is a belated exercise. As far as older people are concerned, there is a limit for anything. What about today’s young generation who are growing very fast to become tomorrow’s old generation. Are they aware of the problems to confront at that time? Are they preparing themselves to gracefully embrace that stage of life? His advice to young generation is worth sharing – Spare some time for elders. That will work as a tonic for them. And finally, start preparing now itself to welcome your old age in a happy and healthy way.
Author : K Neeni