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21st August - World Senior Citizens Day
8/20/2019 10:26:19 PM
Mahadeep Singh Jamwal

A French quote says 'Grey hair is a small price to pay for all accumulated wisdom'. Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. Most people think that aging is irreversible but there are mechanisms even in the human machinery that allow for the reversal of aging, and that is through yoga, meditation, breathing techniques, correction of diet, and through exercise. As the people get old they begin to become dependent on others for support and care and this causes them fear and anxiety for their future. They live in constant fear of neglected, forgotten and abandoned by their family members and friends. Practice of non dependence from an early age makes old age less vulnerable to fear and anxiety. Those who are not inclined to follow these practices are advised to develop the habit of reading books; writing, playing musical instruments etc., so that they can keep themselves occupied, has emotional satisfaction and is non dependant. Aging is not "lost youth" but a new stage of opportunity and strength. We must carry these impressions when we speak of 'World Senior Citizens Day' observed internationally on 21st August every year first proclaimed on 14th of December in the year 1990, by the United Nations General Assembly. The day is acknowledged to raise awareness about the factors and issues affecting older people, such as: deterioration with age and to examine issues that affect their lives such as abuse of elderly people and to recognize and appreciate their contributions in their communities, families and societies, their achievements and involvement in the society to get promoted from their ability and knowledge. A lot of sacrifices are done in their entire life in nurturing their relationships. They have always been sensitive, protective and are selfless towards their children. For this, they need some recognition and some appreciation. Hence, this day is celebrated. Confucius had said that 'Old age, believe me, is a good and pleasant thing. It is true you are gently shouldered off the stage, but then you are given such a comfortable front stall as spectator'. The World Senior Citizens Day is designed to help us remember the contributions of the elders they have given to our society and give something back to them. Dedicating a particular day of the year for the elders provides their families an opportunity to acknowledge their love and efforts. These are only the communities that are good places in which to mature and grow older. These are the places in which older people can participate to the fullest and can find the encouragement, acceptance, assistance, and services they need to continue to lead lives of independence and dignity.
According to the population census of 2011 in India, there were around 104 million old citizens with an age of 60 years and above, out of which 51 million were males and 53 million were females. According to a report, the number is expected to increase year by year and recent study on aging, speaks that 29% of adults over 67 live alone. Considering the large population of elderly people in the country, it is our utmost duty to serve them with care and affection. World Senior Citizens Day provides the best platform to show our elders how important they are to us as well as the entire community. The day among number of countries, it is celebrated by expressing gratitude, love and affection and honors their elders. Desertion and avoidance of elders by their next generation has been well taken care of by the law in India. "The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007" casts obligations on children to maintain their parents/grandparents and also the relative of the senior citizens to maintain such senior citizens. The main attraction of this Act is: there are provisions to protect the life and property of such persons. 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. 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 in these special cells.
We can say that as people grow old, they begin to lose their ability to do basic everyday tasks. They begin to rely on others for help throughout the senescence. Here our role comes as to teach our children to serve the elderly is important. Maintaining independence of elderly can give a big boost to their empowerment and self-esteem. We must live with our elders and take care of all their needs as they have taken care of us while we were in cradle.
Concluding on the day, as a senior citizen, we expect focus on the lack of facilities and government support and the measures on how they can be upgraded and improved. With the increase of life expectancy, the problem of the old has become more pronounced now than before. Under various welfare schemes due protection should be given to the old by means of old age allowance, accident benefit, free medical aid etc.
There is need of social legislative, reformative and welfare measures to protect the interest of the old. Problems of old age are relatively less in societies where the family ties are very strong but unitary formation of family set up are in shambles and the old age homes are the rescue points for discarded elders. The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped. End up with the "Message" on "World Senior Citizen Day" that the day is a reminder that we must value the senior citizens around us as they are the ones who have worked hard to give us this wonderful life.
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