Why is it that unless or until we are told about something only then we realize about it. Otherwise, we are all so engrossed in our lives that we tend to ignore important and obvious issues. Some things are obvious and self-explanatory like a simple fact that those who have reach mature age have far more experience, knowledge and wisdom then their successors, this cannot be denied.
Younger generation takes the elders in their family and for that matter, all elders, for granted. They think their elders have orthodox and conventional ideas which are not applicable nowadays. They are highly wrong. The Elderly have seen and gone through enough in their lives, a book can easily be written on each ones’ experiences and accounts. This is what my maternal grandfather actually did.
He wrote citing his personal experiences and observations and that of his predecessors so that his progeny would learn something from the past mistakes and errors of the ancestors. His is a unique case. I can’t think of many people writing autobiographies solely for the purpose of teaching and training the coming generation. Generally, autobiographies are written for publicity purpose, but his object was to guide his children. Reason for quoting the example is that if one wishes, there are many ways to contribute to the society. It’s just a matter of thought. Unfortunately neither the elder know their own worth, nor others around them are willing to give them their share.
The elderly have knowledge, patience and a life full of experiences behind them. While the young generation is more active physically, energetic and enthusiastic. The young generation can’t be expected to be self-driven with not much exposure to the upheavals of life unlike their predecessors, thus making them more vulnerable to troubles and mistakes. The wisdom of an experienced elderly person can be a strong guiding force for the untrained, fresh minds. A very good example is of Mr. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who had wisdom, intellect and years of experience behind him. He relied strongly on the youth knowing that they will be the driving force with him in pursuit of independence. Subsequently, the youth under the leadership and guidance of their Quaid and with fervor and energy, contributed greatly in the making of Pakistan. The mechanics of experience, vision and guidance combined with relentless energy paid well and brought positive and much desired results eventually. This is what is required at the moment.
Once a person reaches a certain age, he/she and those around automatically assume that the person has become useless and slowly authority starts shifting from that person thus making one feel more helpless and dependent on others. It is sad indeed that the elderly are left on their own by their children and the society which is also very disturbing from the psychological point of view. They feel useless, neglected and liable. This should not be the case. Instead, each should be given due respect and importance by the youngsters and by the society who in turn can learn and benefit from their experiences, knowledge and views. We must not also forget that Islam teaches us to respect and care for the elderly. Every elder person should be made to feel equally useful and important as they were once in their prime. It is the duty of the government, media and the society to look after senior citizens and their welfare.
Without government’s interest and support, media’s backing and involvement of the private sector, this issue like all others, will remain unresolved. Following are few suggestions that require immediate attention of both the government and the private sector in order to help uplift the status of senior citizens;
1)- A separate colony for the Senior Citizens in all the cities of the country with all the basic facilities of life including a Hospital, Shopping Centre, Club, Golf Club, Park etc. within its premises. (No need for old homes anymore in their pathetic and deplorable states)
2)-Government/Private Sector sponsored projects and setups to provide employment opportunities and work facilities to the senior citizens in Offices, Factories and any other financial earning opportunities etc.
3)-Free Medical facilities for the elderly
4)-Free education for those who want to study with online facilities.
5)-Free Electricity in the area.
6)-A monthly Wazifa of Rs. 20,000 minimum per person by the government for the elderly.
7)-Free Telephone/Mobile facilities.
8)-Free, Exclusive transportation facilities
9)-Sponsored recreational activities for the elders and sightseeing trips to other cities
10)-Media should play its important role in educating the society in this respect etc.
Senior Citizens are equally useful to the society in every way. Old age doesn’t mean that their potential or talent has drifted away. They are very much like their successors and in some cases, better. It is up to the society to realize their value.