Today I read a very emotional story of a man who was sent to an old age home by his three sons, who were all well off. This unfortunate man tried to commit suicide but was saved in time by one of the inmates of the old age home. His sons were informed. They came and instead of sympathising with him, they shouted at him that he had insulted them by his action.
This touching story set me thinking. When the children grow up and have their own family, they still have a duty towards their old parents. They cannot just leave their parents in the lurch to die a lonely death. I am reminded of another very sad incident which a close friend of mine had to bear. This lady was a retired Principal of a reputed school, a Class 1 gazetted officer. After her husband’s death she was living in her house with her only son and his family. On his persuasion she transferred the house in his name.
Soon after she was driven out from her own house. She was seen begging on the streets and sleeping on the pavements by some of her staff members. I have heard real instances of the children (when questioned, why their old parents are not being looked after) saying that it was the duty of the parents to care for their children, educate them and make them capable. Through this article I want to impress upon young couples how can they look after their old and infirm parents.
The gap between the parents and younger generation is increasing due to which the bonding is weakening. The children must remember that right from birth the parents looked after their needs. Parents struggled to bring them up, keeping awake nights after nights when they were ill and gave them the best education according to their financial status. The achievements which the children have in their lives are the result of their parents’ efforts. The children must do their bit to see that in their old age the parents must be cared for. The children must keep the following points in mind:-
1. Give full respect to parents.
2. Give them enough money so that they don’t have to ask for it (If they have no source of income).
3. Find time every day to talk to them. Tell them interesting incidents and make them smile and share their anecdotes.
4.Closely monitor their health. If necessary take them to the Doctor. Have them medically checked periodically.
5. Keep track of their medicines.
6. Take them to a temple on some holidays. Remember they cannot keep pace with the youngsters. So walk slowly.
7. Take them to a near by park or an open space occasionally.
8. Buy them books of their choice. In old age people like to read books.
9. Keep in mind their daily necessities like clothing, toiletries, shoes and other miscellaneous requirements.
10. Respect their privacy and give them the freedom to lead a relaxed life.
11. Celebrate their birthdays, anniversaries as one would celebrate their own and their children’s.
12. If at any stage the parents give advice on money matters, career or their social contacts, listen to them carefully. The children may act according to their own judgment but do not let parents feel that their advice is being ignored.
13. Take them for outings once in a while. Praise their dress/personality.
14. If sometime one finds them depressed or lonely, special efforts should be made to boost their morale.
15. Have respect for their social circle. Occasionally call their friends for get togethers.
16.Don’t make things difficult for them so that they opt for living in old age homes.
17. Encourage the grand children to spend time with their grandparents, since grand children are dear to the grandparents. Moreover, they will learn from the experiences of their grandparents.
18. Encourage them to take up a hobby such as blogging. It will keep them mentally agile and occupied.
19. Get them active on social media if possible.
20. Last but not the least, keep them in good humour.
If the children follow the above points, there will be a drastic change in the attitude of not only the children towards their parents but also vice versa. The parents on their part must respect the privacy of their children and not intrude in their affairs.
Usha Menon, a 77-years-old retired educationist, who has four sweet, adorable grandchildren. Last year she wrote a book,”Reverse Gear.” This book is a sort of analogy between her professional and personal life, depicting the travails, ups and downs faced by an average working woman. As a retired person, She is leading a contented life with a loving husband, devoted son, daughter-in-law and two grand daughters. Her doting daughter, son-in-law, and two grand sons, who are very affectionate, look after her and her husband. She is grateful to God that He has, in His grace, given her an opportunity to live a life of peaceful contentment.