Friday, December 28, 2012

OLD AGE SCARE


OLD AGE SCARE
Musings
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Sometime ago I visited a distant relative, an uncle. He is 75 years old and his wife is 72 years old. Both their sons have migrated abroad to the USA and are married and live there with their families in America and have no intention of returning back to India.

In most cases, elderly Indian parents do not want to go to America to live with their kids settled over there.

But this couple was an exception – they wanted to spend the autumn of their lives with their children and grandchildren in America. Their children also wanted them to come to America and live there comfortably along with them .

“So why don’t you go over there and live with your kids?” I asked them.

My uncle beckoned me and took me to a bedroom.  There was frail old lady sleeping on the bed. My uncle pointed to her and said, “That is my mother-in-law. She is 96 years old. We are stuck here because of her. We can’t go anywhere because of her – forget about going abroad, or outstation – we can’t even go out in Pune City for more than a few hours as we have to literally lock her inside and go out.”

Just imagine. At the age of 75 when he himself is in need of care, he has to look after his 96 year old mother. Yes, this 75 year old uncle has had a heart attack himself and his wife too does not keep too well. And yet, in their seventies they are expected to look after the mother-in-law who is in her mid-nineties. They have no choice – where will the old woman go?

Of course, his kids won’t have that problem, since they are well settled in America and have no intention of coming back to India. And when they get old they will not have to depend on their children to look after them since out there in the USA I am sure there are excellent facilities for old age care like retirement communities with assisted living facilities which are not available in India. There are no adult care facilities or proper retirement homes with assisted living facilities in India and senior citizens are left to the mercy of their children. And if their children have migrated abroad then the old people have to fend for themselves in the autumn of their lives.
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