Friday, June 04, 2010

Appreciation for Old Age !!

Old Age - All of us go through it one way or other. What we all fail to realize is that, life is a big circle and  the truth "what goes around comes back around" - sometimes with 'extra baggage' as well ! In today's fast-paced world, all of us hear and read about families where elders (especially parents and grandparents) are not taken care of and ignored. Respect for elders and multi-generational households are also dwindling. Many ‘old age homes’ have opened as a reflection of this change, where elders live either from choice or because there is no one to look after them. I recently came across an interesting e-mail forward, which prompted me to post this blog. Here is a snippet from the same:

"Mr. ABC booked an air ticket for his parents' trip back to their home town instead of booking it in a train and was awarded with a very emotional thank you from his parents, as it meant a great deal to them to be travelling by air, for the first time in their whole life."

This is probably a trivial incident. I am sure there must have been various instances in each of our own life's experiences from where we can take countless examples. We often take our elders for granted and undermine sacrifices that they have done for us over the years with the simple statement - "It was their duty to do the same for their children". But if we really recount such 'simple sacrifices', it will be countless. There was a selflessness in their actions towards us, making our life better within their limited capacity, without us knowing the hardships that they might have gone through to satisfy our demands and delight us.

For example, during a traditional function like Diwali, they would have borrowed / saved money in advance, foregoing their needs, to ensure that the children are not disappointed about their fun with fireworks or new clothes !!! For such innumerable selfless acts, what do they get in return when they get old? Lack of emotional support, neglect by the family members, feeling of insecurity, disrespect and loss of dignity. Children often cite reasons such as being too busy with their own work, 'family' and children (yet they are always able to spend both time and money on holidays, expensive clothes, restaurants/parties...). They blame it on "Generation Gap" and 'brand' elders as 'conservative, boring and out-of-touch with reality'. When our own children grow up, it might be surprising to find us being categorized as old-fashioned, ignorant of latest gadgets / technologies :-)

On the same note, in many families, parents and their married children are not able to get along with each other. We also know about many parents, who still treat their married children like kids, dominating their choice of career, lifestyle and even family planning. The children are also lectured on degrading traditional values, lack of shouldering responsibilities and undermining sufferings of the earlier generations.

Having said that, younger generation and elders should respect each other’s 'culture', feelings and compromise to some extent.  Children need to spend time listening to and addressing specific emotional and material needs of our elders, and treasure them.  After all, our elders expect them to be heard, age with dignity, spend time together with the loved ones and a lot of love !! It is never too late to appreciate and cherish elders for their roles in our lives.


  1. Absolutely second you on this topic. Exactly for the same reason I wanna go back to India. I want us to take care of our parents when they need us in their old age. They have sacrificed so much for all this wonderful life we are blessed with, so I guess being blinded by the luxury in USA and staying here depriving them of the little joys of life is the biggest SIN we can ever do.

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  3. It is a great thing and your great thought. Hats off to you. I will never loose my parents.


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