Holi is a festival of color and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Holi is known to fall on ‘Phalgun’ night of the full moon, which marks the onset of spring season which signifies freshness, beauty and new beginnings. As done in the ancient times and according to Indian history and tradition, a bonfire is made symbolizing the burning of Holika (representing evil) and victory of Prahlad (representing good). People light the fire at night and play with colors the following day.
Holi is one of the most celebrated festivals in India. It is celebrated with a lot of excitement and joy. People make sweet treats at home and also share it with their neighbors and friends. Holi symbolizes new beginnings and passing of the old.
As we celebrate this festival of color with our family and friends, we must not forget the elderly in our family who might be able to celebrate due to mobility or other medical issues keeping them away from participating in the festivities. As we grow old, we need to ensure that we celebrate these festivities with our parents and grandparents who are getting older and for them it means the world to have their loved ones around them, especially during such occasions.
Sadly there are many elders without family or friends who have no one to share or celebrate such festivals with. Issues like loneliness, marginalization, and isolation are the most critical problems faced by bedridden, elderly patients as they cannot visit, meet or interact with their relatives, friends and neighbors. They are often forgotten and left alone, to survive on their own with no support system. Those who do stay with their families, have to compromise and make adjustments in their lifestyle according to the wishes of the younger members of their families to ensure they are cared for.
According to a 2016 report by the Ministry for Statistics and Program Implementation, India has 103.9 million elderly, people above age 60, about 8.5 per cent of the population. “India Ageing Report 2017” by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says the share of population over the age of 60 could increase from 8 per cent in 2015 to 19 per cent in 2050.
For most Indian senior citizens, the biggest challenge is healthcare, lack of financial support and isolation. Lack of physical infrastructure is one of the main restraints in providing comfort to the aged. With increasing life expectancy and enervating chronic diseases, elders need improved and refined physical infrastructure in the coming years.
Families or others involved with an aged person must identify the ‘feeling of insignificance’, loss and resignation amongst the elderly and take remedial action. They should encourage and motivate the elderly to be emotionally, socially and physically engaged – to be actively involved; in order to give him or her a purpose for living.
Let this Holi be the start of a time for helping make a difference in the life of at least one elderly. Help an elder by supporting them to be independent. Health has always remained the main struggle for elders, making it difficult for them to work and move around. But with your support, you can help these elders live with dignity and hope. HelpAge India runs an active healthcare program through its Mobile Healthcare Units providing basic healthcare to destitute elders and their community, and conducts cataract surgeries across country, helping elders see again and as a result go back to earning their livelihood. With your help and generosity, you can save an elder from losing their eyesight by contributing towards these cataract surgeries.
Your contribution can save the lives of these needy elders and also encourage them to live a life of fulfillment and hope. Every penny counts and goes into helping these elders by adding value to their life. By choosing to help, you are not only helping them, but encouraging so many others to support the elder cause. By your generous contribution,
Let not a festivity be the only reason that you help someone in need. You can bring color in the life of an elderly every day and anyday.
It takes just one act of kindness to make a difference.
– Albert Schweitzer