Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. Musings from someone who sees stories everywhere.

Friday, November 09, 2012

active ageing; is the best yet to be?

“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be,”

Robert Browning’s immortal words now ring truer than ever. The time is ripe to celebrate the golden years. People are living longer and healthier, thanks to improved healthcare and nutrition. Scientific advances are banishing dreaded diseases and prolonging life expectancy. Research on the human genome, for example, is poised to take us beyond merely fighting diseases, and perhaps enable our thathas and ajjis to race like Usain Bolt.

Seniors are growing into a force to reckon with. In almost every country, the proportion of people above 60 years is growing faster than any other age group, as a result of both longer life expectancy and declining birth rates. India has an estimated 100 million elderly persons, which is the second largest in the world. The population of senior citizens in India is projected to reach 179 million by 2031. By 2050, the world’s population aged 60 and over is expected to more than triple from 600 million to 2 billion. The world is growing older, and hopefully wiser. Within the next five years, the number of adults aged 65 and over will outnumber children under the age of five.

Our very own Big B’s recent 70th birthday celebrations has highlighted the glamour, success, aspirations and joys of folks who seem to be growing more vibrant with passing years. Yet Baghban, a 2003 film starring Amitabh Bachchan, also portrayed the pitfalls sadly faced by many Indian seniors. They do their best to provide for their children. But, once the parents are no longer able to support themselves, their children often consider them as a liability. Abandonment and abuse of elders is on the rise, not just in remote western cultures, but right in our own neighbourhoods. As life spans are increasing, the menace of age-related debilities like Alzheimer’s add to the woes of elders.
Let’s consider the privileges and problems of ageing, and see how the balance sheet tallies. Read my  full article published in Sunday Herald


Pradeep Nair said...

Elders live longer thanks to better medical and health care facilities. They are also more active than they used to be before.

But as a society and as a community we are less caring for them. Institutionally, the government has very few processes in place to take care of the elders.

Hope it changes as our country progresses.

monideepa sahu said...

Thanks for dropping by, Pradeep. You've got it right. Our social values and support systems are crumbling, and a new system to ensure care for the aged is yet to come in force.