Old places and Old persons in their turn, when spirit dwells in them, have an intrinsic vitality of which youth is incapable, precisely, the balance and wisdom that come from long perspectives and broad foundations. – By George Santayana
With these words and reverence we wish Happy Senior Citizen Day
to every Grandpas and Grandmaas of Udaipur. Infancy, childhood, youth, middle age and old age, our lives are divided into these five natural stages. In each of these stages an individual has to find himself in different situations and face different obstacles. In old age physical strength deteriorates, mental stability diminishes; money power becomes uninviting together with negligence from the other age bracket.
Today there are 77 million old people in India. This number is likely to rise to 177 million by 2025. Some of the facts related to our base of the society i.e. “Senior Citizens” are: 90% of the older people are from unorganized sector with no social security. 40% of the old live below poverty line. 75% of the old are from the rural areas. 55% of the women 60+ in age are widows. 73% of the old are illiterate.
In addition to the statistics above; In India about 7.5% of the population is above 60 years and the life expectancy is increasing gradually. This increase in life expectancy rate points towards the living aspiration of old age people. The declining joint family system in India and other countless factors have given rise to west-inspired phenomena of old age homes. Surprising cost of living and insufficient return on savings have almost pushed these senior citizens on roads. This act has called for the security net of the helpless, which is almost missing in many states in India.
They have started walking out of their own home in search of a journey that promises peace, joy and celebration of life with a group of people who share the same boat of life. However not may rather any of them receive it. Young people with vigour and strength forget that it’s not too late for them to be in the same shoes. It’s just one life that we all have, why can’t we be a support to the needy who is not a stranger? Why can’t we build a world of love that shelters all, irrespective of age? Why can’t life just begin after retirement, than end? Senior Citizens are pillars to our social development. They have worked hard all these years for the development of the nation as well as the community. They possess a vast experience in different walks of life. The youth of today
can gain from the experience of the senior citizens in taking the nation to greater heights. Today we need to understand that they want to be bothered. Indian government has made a special cell for senior citizens for providing various benefits through its several schemes. Problems:
The rise in the number of those who are non-industrious and do not generate any expectation immediately raises an economic problem. It is also a social problem: Who is going to provide support to them and how? Apart from food and shelter, they also need to be concerned and medicines. They also crave love and tender care. They would like to interact, be heard, be visible, and would like a bit of space of their own and have a constructive and creative role to play in society. 15 years back in a column in a newspaper an elderly male wrote: “I am 65 years old and I lost my wife about two years ago. But for the feeling of loneliness which has me in its grip every once in a while, I am happily placed in life. My children are happily married and settled. They look after me well but have their limitations. I am beginning to feel that it will become difficult to cope with life without a partner. Much of life’s charm has indeed vanished ever since the death of my wife. I feel like I have everything and yet nothing”. – (Times of India, 30 March 1995)
We might not be shocked if we read the same shape again in tomorrow’s newspaper but the question here is: What has been changed in those 15 years? Are our seniors still feeling the same as they did 15 years back? What is the solution for making their lives hunky-dory? Would their Senior Citizen discounts are worth for their happiness? Old Age Clubs:
Societies and clubs are formed by many active senior citizens in order of carrying their social life to the end. In the 1940’s, old age clubs became vehicles of social engineering in many other parts of the world. It reached India by the end of twentieth century. These clubs of Senior Citizens turned out well as it has become a kind in providing social services to deprived citizens. There is no admission fee for any senior citizen. They gather to a place once in every week and share their creativity with everyone. Talking about our town Udaipur, Muskaan Club
is one of the kinds of old age club. This is run by the Gattani Group
under the leadership of Mr. Rajora. This club has around 800 members out of which 150 are active participants. Every Saturday around 4:30 p.m., these members gather at Oriental Palace and Resorts being their meeting place. The day and time of the meeting changes from season to season. The club organises events every week like gazals, poetry, singing, playing classical instruments and many more. They have also arranged foreign trips and have been to international locations twice. An excellent initiative of Muskaan Club for the Senior Citizens of Udaipur as some seniors termed it as Home away from Home
and some said Old is Gold