Today entire humanity, senior citizens in particular; are under different types of pressures to re-tain & maintain good health under the tsunami of instructions, advisories, guidelines and mentor-ing emanating from the efforts to combat the adverse impacts of the corona virus. Our tiny earth, part of the cosmic creation, possessing a liveable environment, is currently encountering threats/ challenges for life to survive on it.
The preceding 18 months of COVID19, have caused psychological stress, isolation from society, emotional distress, dampening of physical activities, suppression of feelings and many more issues affecting life support needs. This has dramatically changed lifestyle evolution at an unprecedented pace. The most remarkable change in lifestyle is encountered by home confined senior citizens, in particular those who were enjoying good health, pursuing active ageing and are economically se-cure. Every human being is comprised of a body which performs, an intellect which is conscious of the inner & outer world, has a wisdom unique to each and a mind which senses, analyses and di-rects the body to act continually. But the seniors are perceived by society as only ageing bodies to take care of nutrition and health, with no space for application of their mind and intellect.
We currently have senior citizens comprising of superannuated professionals who made their con-tributions in industrialisation, urbanisation, infrastructure development, information & communi-cation technologies, outer space affairs, health and many more domains during the preceding five to seven decades. We also have seniors in the political/ governance system and those controlling vast empires of wealth. A large number of senior citizens in India are earning their bread until the end of their lifetime as a compulsion, substantial numbers are thriving on welfare schemes and many seniors are living on charity either in old age homes or under the sky.
Seniors upon maturing with life, have become either graceful / humble or demanding their rights through welfare schemes and other avenues depending upon life experiences unique to each one. Thus the senior citizens in India are the most multi-coloured social fabric, each of them marching to their holy life transition. There are local, regional, national, international organisations, institu-tions who are taking care of elder concerns in health, wellbeing, nutrition and many more counts.
Absence of consultative process on ground realities of various segments of senior citizens and prudent assessment on viability of compliance of policy provisions, are leading to the voids/ li-mited resource allocations / financial crunches and many more. We need to consider seniors as a part of a society for all ages, and not isolate them as a separate segment. Besides managing wel-fare schemes, the need of hour is for the policies and laws of land to embosom silver economy contributed by various segments of this fast growing, multifaceted senior citizens fraternity in the society.
Senior citizens of today, having contributed to the lifestyle development in the preceding five to seven decades, deserve the stature of being considered as an asset and not a liability in society. For an all-round excellence in the lifestyle evolution, attitude towards elders irrespective of their economic, health, living & other conditions, needs to be changed, treating them as human beings possessing sun shining minds, sun rising intellects, springs of joy, encapsulated within an ageing body. They march ahead in their respective lives and aspiring for their holistic life transitions, a continual phenomenon through countless generations, over the timeline.
Once the attitude towards senior citizens changes, the entire gamut of policy formations will un-dergo a sea change, ushering a new era of a blissful life in a society for all ages, maintaining inter-generational equity, as each one of us is surely destined for the life transition, a part of the human biological life cycle.
Thanks for reading the thoughts. The comments/critics from the readers are sportingly welcome.
Manohar Lal Baharani
Secretary, CSR Committee, All India Senior Citizens Confederation (AISCCON)
Disclaimer: Please note the opinions expressed above are solely that of the individual writer and not HelpAge India.