Responsibilities of Society and Family Towards Old Age People

The problem of the old has become more pronounced now than before. The life expectancy has increased due to industrial revolution, development of medical science and advancement of science and technology. So all the developed and developing countries should undertake various social legislative, reformative and welfare measures to protect the interest of the old.

(i) Society should take steps to establish Day care centres or homes for the aged to give physical protection, medical aid and economic security to the old. These centres should be well equipped and specious with all facilities for reading, crafts and hobbies, recreational facility like radio, television, indoor and outdoor games with sufficient interested volunteers to serve the old people. In short these homes or centres should help the older individual to spend his time usefully and constructively in order to achieve happiness and avoid any in inconvenience to the family and community.

(ii) Under various welfare schemes due protection should be given to the old by means of old age allowance, accident benefit, free medical aid etc. by the government and to ensure economic security for salaried people, provident fund, gratuity, life insurance facility should be introduced.

(iii) Society should engage old person in different activities involving physical and more mental ability, skill and experienced work by giving appointment as advisor or counsellor. Employment of older person will not only provide necessary economic security but also help to keep them busy and alert. So planned and purposeful activities, which will constructively engage older persons according to their capacity must be organised.

(iv) Society should make some arrangement for establishing clubs or religious institution where the old people can spend their time in religious discourses and can get a chance to for-get their owes.

Problems of old age are relatively less in societies where the family ties are very strong. Family should not neglect the old people rather they should get respect and develop the feeling that they are still “Useful” and hence wanted by their own families.

Besides, the family members should take fallowing measures to prevent accident in the life of old people.

(i) The rooms of old should be well lighted especially the passage to the toilet should not be dark and the floor of the room should not be very highly polished and as well as should be cleared of any materials or equipment

(ii) The stair-case should have a hand railing for support while climbing up.

(iii) Floor covering should be intact and secure with no loose opening or strings coming out.

(iv) Pills and medicines should be clearly labeled and care should be taken about their intake as old people of often forget.

Thus we see that much needs to be done for the welfare and care of the elderly by the family as well as society. So we should look into the areas and give it immediate thought and attention for the developmental work of old age. Apart from all these some special measures have been taken by the legislature as well as the judiciary to protect and promote the interest of geriatrics.

The code of criminal procedure 1973 was made to reinforce the natural and fundamental duty of a child to maintain his or her parents. This section is applicable to all irrespective of their religion and includes adoptive parents. The Supreme Court has interpreted this section so as to make daughters and sons married and unmarried equally responsible to maintain their parents.

Although society and family can do much to improve the status of the senior citizens, the individual also needs to prepare himself for the problems typical of old age. He is to plan ahead for an active and useful life in his twilight years. He is to maintain mental flexibility and adaptability. He is to also establish new and satisfying inter personal relationship. Old age thus poses special problems but it is by means incompatible with meaning and self fulfillment.

However necessary assistance should be provided to the aged to ensure that they enjoy the following rights:

(1) The right to be treated as a person.

(2) The right to be treated as a adult.

(3) The right to fair chance on their merits.

(4) The right to decide about their own life.

(5) The right to a future.

(6) The right to have fun and companionship.

(7) The right to be romantic

(8) The right to help.

(9) The right to professional help whenever necessary.

(10) The right to be old.

Suggested Measures To Be Undertaken By The State And Central Government:

1. Economic Welfare:

(a) Provision for sufficient old age pension to fulfil the basic needs should be made available to all deserving old persons.

(b) Earning persons should be encouraged to save more in the pre­retirement period for their financial security in old age.

(c) Settlement of pension, provident fund, other retirement benefits should be made available to them immediately after their retirement in order to prevent all possible harassment.

(d) Older people should be involved in income generating activities in groups through non-government organisations.

(e) Proper arrangement should be made to market the consumable products produced by elders through self help groups.

2. Shelter:

(a) Preference of ground floor facilities should be given to old people, while allotting flats.

(b) Every housing colony should be required to have a multipurpose centre for older persons.

3. Legal Assistance:

Older persons living alone should be encouraged to register with the police stations and separate cell should be set up at police stations to keep a close vigil on such older persons in their jurisdiction. Elder abuse is rapidly increasing. Causes of domestic elder abuse such as physical, emotional, psychological, financial should be dealt with by counsellors.

4. Health Care:

(a) Educational programmes about the health care and nutrional needs of the old should be organised to create awareness among family members.

(b) Primary health centres of rural areas and hospitals should be well equipped to provide health care services for seniors.

(c) Voluntary organisation should be encouraged to establish mobile health care units including ambulatory services in rural areas and urban slums.

5. General Welfare:

(a) Provisions should be made to issue identity cards to the senior citizens so that they can avail different concessions.

(b) Concession in public transport should be given to elderly.

(c) Old age homes should be established in both rural and urban areas.

October 1st has been declared the day of the elderly by the United Nations. It should be celebrated in a befitting manner at educational institutions and public forums to honour geriatric. The motto of the day is to honour the elderly people so as to inject new spirit in them.


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