The Global Age Watch Index (GAWI), developed with UN fund for population and development, ranks India 73rd out of 91 countries in elderly care which includes key areas across income security, healthcare, employment, education and enabling environment.
Can we change this by being involved together, in an extended family?
Even in the last decades of the 20th Century, it was natural for parents to be staying under the care of their children, as part of the family. Elderly care comprises fulfilment of a wide gamut of special needs and requirements in addition to daily necessities. However, in the face of mounting challenges in maintaining the work-life balance in our times, the trend unfortunately is changing. Sons and daughters feel that they should prioritise their own ambitions, and as a result the elder generation is often left to fend for themselves. Most of the younger generation feels that 60 is the retirement age for all activities. This perception needs to change. Herein comes in the importance of understanding wider family relationships and how the younger generation can act as catalysts to bring back many smiles.
Children do have an innocence and trustworthiness that is often missing from adults. Children and their grandparents have a special bond, something which is to be cherished from both parties.
Having young children around gives the elderly a sense of reassurance and new confidence in their own usefulness and worth.
Young people need to learn the values of respect and care for older people.
There are bound to be dilemmas in the relationship on account of the so called 'generation gap'. What is very important, however, is to behave appropriately and not to ignore aged parents and grandparents.
Young people should inform elders about the latest happenings so that they do not feel left out. They can even teach them about new technology and new means of communication like social media, which would help them stay connected with friends and family.
Relationships work best when difficulties are resolved easily through mature conversation and discussions, without making any presuppositions about each other.