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How Can We Make Lives Better For Senior Citizens

There was a time when Covid-19 was at its peak, several senior citizens became homeless just because they have got infected by Covid-19. Multiple times we got to know about the fact that, at the time of Covid-19 children were throwing their parents out of the house because they were afraid that they might get infected by Covid-19. In my opinion, Covid-19 is just an excuse for throwing parents out of the house and making themselves free from all the responsibilities of senior citizens.

It is just one example that how people free themselves from the responsibilities of their parents. As the world progresses, we are leaving our old generations behind. We have become so busy in the race of life that we are not able to give time to our elders. Suppose, if anyone got trapped in an open place without a phone, friends, and loved ones, then how that person would feel? Obviously, the person will feel left out even when the person is around N number of people. That's the exact case with some of our senior citizens.

Senior citizens are a treasure for our society. They are a link to our past, present & future. These older adults serve as essential resources to our community as they can be highly skilled and proficient and can contribute their world of knowledge and experience to us. They are the senior members of the family who know better about many things like religion, family, history, relation, values, and many more other customary practices. They pass these family values, traditions, and societal knowledge to the upcoming generations. This was an automatic system of the Indian family system to disseminate past values and knowledge.

What did we get from them?

We can get many valuable teachings from them, such as knowledge about our customs, culture, and manners in a more comprehensive manner. They help youngsters by giving ideas of do's and don't. They keep family together. They tell youngsters the stories of Indian history and help to keep the history alive.

But, why do children throw their parents out of the house and leave them in old-age homes? In my opinion, when the children grow up, they forget to respect their parents or some children are so greedy that they leave their parents out of the house for the sake of property. Some children indulge their parents in laborious works for the sake of money.

Do senior citizens have rights?

Yes, there are certain provisions are exist in the Constitution of India, to preserve the rights of those aged above 60, for instance; Article 41 of the Constitution of India talks about the Right to Work, it further talks about the security of the rights of senior citizens to employment, education, and, public assistance. An elderly person has the right to be treated with dignity and respect, without regard to race, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, marital status, or source of payment.

This means that the elderly person has the right to make his or her own choices about personal affairs, benefits, and services. As per the rights guaranteed under the National Policy for Older Persons, 1999, all Indian citizens aged above 60 are entitled to a 30% concession in ticket prices while traveling with the Indian Railways. And for women's the concession is 50% including berth requests. Air India is also bound to provide a concession of 45% to seniors at the time of making a booking for economy class, as per the National policy for older persons,1999.

The policy also carried aid for seniors with special care such as allowing them to board and de-board before others or providing them with wheelchairs, whenever required. While different religions have varying laws in place to protect the interests of senior citizens. Some are very particular, such as Section 20 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 states the statuary provision for maintenance of parents under Hindu personal law. Similar laws can be found in Muslim laws, Christian laws, and even in Parsi laws.

What can we do for Senior Citizens?

  • Care:
    Senior citizens need a lot of care and family support, after the age of 60, seniors start deteriorating in terms of physical and mental health, at this time, they need someone who is willing to stay with them and love them. People should not consider senior citizens as a burden on their families.
  • Independence:
    With the increasing age, it is important to be more vigilant about the basic amenities of senior citizens. They should have access to food, water, shelter, and health care through basic income provisions.
  • Dignity:
    Older persons should be able to live with dignity and free from mental and physical exploitation.
  • Participation:
    Older persons should participate actively in societal works and in the formulation of policies that promote their well-being.
  • Self-fulfillment:
    Older people should have access to educational, cultural, and spiritual resources of the society so that they can make use of their full potential in these areas.

Under personal laws, the moral duty to take care of parents is recognized. However, so far as the law is concerned, the position and extent of such liability vary from community to community.

Hindus laws:
both sons and daughters have an equal duty towards parents so they have to maintain their parents. If their parents are financially unable to maintain themselves so children have to give maintenance to their parents.

Muslim law:
parents have the right to seek maintenance and children are bound to maintain their poor parents.

Christian And Parsi law:
They have no personal laws, if parents wish to seek maintenance so they have to apply under provisions of CrPC, 1973.

There are various initiatives are being taken by Government and judiciary, for example, Karnataka High Court said that State has a statutory obligation under section 19 of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and senior citizens Act, 2007 that there should be an old age home in each district. Under the said act, adult children have the legal obligation to maintain their parents, depending upon the earning of the person.

In the end, I would like to say that respect the seniors, spend time with them, understand them. Do not consider senior citizens as a feast, whenever you think of leaving grandparents/ parents to the old-age-home, then just try to memorize once that what your grandparents/parents have done for you. Parents are also a part of your life, don't let them go away from you.

Always remember, whenever you feel alone, it is only your family who is going to support you whether you are right or you are wrong. I know that today's world is progressing very fast, no one has time, but never forget that you have reached this point only because of your parents. Like your parents have taken care of you since childhood, now is your time to take care of them.

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