A recent visit to an old age home with my friend and the reclusive life led by the elderly there with children well settled in far flung areas made me give vent to my views on this social problem !
The lockdown has highlighted the importance of social interaction with people getting frustrated by a prolonged confinement to indoors.Man is a social animal ! He is basically instinctive, intuitive and interactive too ! All through the life, he struggles, sweats for the welfare of the near and dear and after passing through a busy phase of working tenure, there comes a day when he has to retire or rest either by intention or by compulsion.
If we observe the life cycle of humans,we understand that it is a sort of repetitive interchange of stages of life.He is a child and and a parent as well ,a student and a teacher,a subordinate and a superior, the ruled and the ruler too.This complex interchange of positions in a way helps to evolve him from a crude to a refined or stubborn to flexible personality or even vice versa.In other words, there is a great scope for transformation of the role of an individual with greater maturity in thought and mettle in actions. However,with age related issues like loss of memory, debilitation,the way the elderly behave may change.They may complain of lack of sleep or strength or taste or smell,sometimes indeed genuine and sometimes psychological.
The child does not know what to do and what not to and has to be fed, clothed and taken care of protecting him at every instant.This perhaps is the reason why a strong bond of rapport is established between the children and the parents.They become grateful to them for the caution, care and concern exhibited by their parents at the cost of sacrificing their personal comforts too! After a few decades, parents become children and the children here have to play a parental role. Those who are lucky may not need any support of any kind but a good number need attention.As is the case with a child, the emotional nourishment besides the physical care is what plays a crucial role ! No doubt they may go on diving into their past with a repetitive narration or they may ask or remind certain things again and again, partly because of the age related loss of memory or partly because of experience of the losses from forgetfulness.A patient attention and suggestion rather than a harsh condemnation in general is a better strategy though at times a bit of harshness too may be needed.
It is important to keep the elderly emotionally happy .This costs little but fetches incredible returns.Some of the best ways are: greeting them at the wake up time and and at bed time, reminding them of their daily schedule of medications, talking to them for some time, reading something aloud for them on their areas of interest, entire family gathering for a while everyday, playing music or a programme of their choice for some time, reminding them of their good and great deeds in the past, briefing them on the positive developments of the family, narrating them one’s joyful experiences at workplace, consulting them on vital issues, arranging for their occasional visits to near and dear, observing and enquiring periodically about the probable changes in vital health parameters such as bowel habits, blood pressure, glucose levels, haemoglobin levels, weight changes, eating habits. Honestly, many of these are simple, cost effective and feasible too but the emotional upbeat and contentment is what plays a great role in energising the entire body mind metabolism in a synchronised fashion for a life of health and wealth of not only the elderly but also of the entire family ! It is the joy derived from the care and concern bestowed on them that keeps them hale and healthy for long rather than the number of pills swallowed
The motto behind many of these actions is to ensure them that they are an important and integral part of the family and that the collective happiness of the family is what helps for a peaceful and prosperous journey of life for all !