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November 10, 2011

Abandoned by Kin and Caught in Twilight Zone (INDIA)

Nov 04, 2011
KOCHI:

There used to be a time when old age homes and retirement centres were alien concepts.
Elderly members were an integral part of the family and abandoning your parents was something unheard of.
But today senior citizens are considered as an appendage that doesn’t fit into the nuclear units and incidence of children abandoning their parents is soaring. The mushrooming of old age homes also indicates a clear change in Malayali’s social and cultural ethos.
“From an agrarian culture, Keralites have switched to an urban lifestyle which has completely erased the concept of joint families. Nuclear families hardly pass on our traditional value system to the coming generations. From their minuscule family environment they imbibe survival tactics, not humanitarian traits,” says poet Chemmanam Chacko. Fighting orphanhood and isolation, especially when you are in the twilight period of your life is a terrifying affair for many.
“I think in the West people are more sympathetic towards the elderly. They find time to take them out or visit them. But here they are completely denied care and compassion,” he says.
Writer C Radhakrishnan says it is an inevitable consequence of urbanisation and the drastic change in lifestyle it brought forth. “In Western countries it is part of their civic culture, but they pay regular visits and make sure that their parents are well cared for.
There are small townships for the elderly, which provide proper living arrangements for senior citizens without curtailing their quality of life and level of independence. All the concepts we borrow from the West go through a process of alteration and we customise them according to our requirements.
The problem lies in our basic approach. Leaving your parents at a place where you feel they are safe is different from completely neglecting them. The present condition of the elderly population is highly deplorable,” he says.
The condition of aged parents and grandparents are pathetic in Kerala and it points to an alarming change in our socio-cultural scenario, says writer Sethu. “Unlike other states, the ratio of expatriates is high in Kerala and slowly we are forced to accept old age homes as a social reality. It is a disturbing sight to find parents left unattended in piteous conditions in spite of all our social accomplishments, including the literary level,” he says.

SOURCE:       IBN LIVE

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