The elderly in India, as it has been extensively reported in mainstream media, live far from a peachy life. From depression to truant children, the aged in India are a lot, whose reality is nothing like what they show you in insurance and health drink ads. An article published in New York Times’ India Blogs just confirms one’s worst fears. It reports on a job fair for the sixty plus age group, which was attended by 1,000 people, most of them with married, settled children. Also most of them, who felt slighted by compromised self respect and a wobbly financial status.
In a story published on Firstpost, it was reported that 63 percent of India’s elderly suffer abuse. The story, based on a survey, identified the inability of adjust to changing times and financial dependence as the prominent reasons behind their trials.
The NYT article by Saritha Rai validates the same by telling you the story of 67-year-old Sheela Rao whose life has gotten confined to two rooms in the back of her married daughters house. Rao pines for freedom and the basic right to do things she likes – like listening to music. “To listen to music she must wear headphones so as to not disturb the family,” the writer says.
Sandip Roy of Firstpost wrote in Parents in New India: Abused, abandoned and betrayed, “A survey from the Agewell Foundation in New Delhi found that 87 percent of elders in the 70-80 age group complain of isolation. And that happens even when they are living with family, at home. They just find themselves shunted off to the back bedroom.”
Rai observes, “The massive turnout at Jobs 60+ may have revealed only the tip of the problem because India’s middle class is adept at keeping up social appearances.”
Hence, the turn-out at the job fair, in a city considered the mecca of the ambitious, points towards the fact how the traditional Indian family structure is falling apart in the strife for success. And the elderly are the worst hit.
Read the NYT article here.