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In the last issue Dwarka City carried an article ‘Kill Senior Citizens’ by M Sudhadhar. In the article the writer has questioned "Is it a crime to be a senior citizen in India?”

He has argued that senior citizens of India are not eligible for medical insurance after 70 years, they do not get a loan on EMI. Driving license is not issued. They are not given any work; hence they depend on others for survival. They had paid all the taxes, insurance premiums up to the age of retirement i.e. 60-65. Now even after becoming senior citizens, they have to pay all the taxes. There is no scheme for senior citizens in India. A 50% discount on railways has also been discontinued. The article has once again rubbed salt on the injury of senior citizens who are managing their own. Dwarka has a huge population of senior citizens and most of them are living alone as their children are outside Delhi or abroad. Because of the advancement in the field of medical sciences the life span of humans has increased. But senior citizens face problems socially, physically, mentally and even economically. In India, earlier old age was never a problem. Earlier the elderly persons of a family were respected a lot and they continued to live with respect till their death. But now the times have changed. The elderly are treated as a burden. Earlier joint family system was prevalent in India and the elderly enjoyed a respectable position in the family. But now with the deterioration of the joint families into nuclear units, the respectable position which the elderly enjoyed earlier has also eroded. Few senior citizens feel that the government and the non- governmental organisations should think seriously about this problem. However not all agree to this and many senior citizens are economically independent and are enjoying life to the hilt. With all responsibilities over they are now masters of their own destiny.

Dwarka city talked to few senior citizens to know if old age is boon or bane.  Here’s their views

I personally don't agree with the Heading "Kill Senior Citizens "Is the life of a senior citizen bane or boon? Well! It all depends from one family to another. In some families, the life of a senior a citizen is roses, roses all the way as he or she has fulfilled all the responsibilities of this mundane world. They are ready to enjoy the green old age while in other families; the life of a senior citizen is a combat, an endless struggle. They suffer all kinds of ills - mental and physical. To top it all, they often end up in old-age homes. As a senior citizen myself, I know many homes where their life is a constant struggle. The space doesn't permit me to tell the stories of these troubled, traumatic souls. All I can say is it is the duty of youngsters to look after their elderly family members while the elderly should also be considerate towards the needs of the children. 

Subhash Chugh

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has introduced a toll free national helpline number 14567 with a view  to connect and engage with senior citizens and compassionately serve them. What is the success rate?  As per Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, the State Government has to establish and maintain at least one old age home in each district. Any information as to its existence? Leading NGOs and some commercial institutions have established Senior Citizen Homes to reportedly assist them when in distress. What is the cost of reasonable living in these retirement homes? Whether any of these homes are equipped with quality care and support, safety and security, providing social interaction and companionship, healthcare and rehabilitation? How many Senior Citizens have been deserted or staying alone in their golden years without any means and family support? Whether any updated data is available with any agency? Why did the Senior Citizen Cell of Delhi Police not succeed in registering all the seniors staying alone and how many visits are conducted out of the registered seniors? The answers to all these questions are ever awaited by the concerned. The answer lies in the hearts of senior citizens. The shift from joint families to smaller families and the siblings and children leaving them in wilderness, their lives become isolated and unsupported. The result is abandonment - a bane of life in the so-called culturally rich Indian Society.

P K Chopra, Shivalik Apartments

Life of Senior Citizens can be a boon or bane depending on how one uses it. It can make you feel miserable if you start comparing yourself with others and start baseless comparisons just on the basis of assumptions that everybody is living a better life than him. It’s important to protect yourself from any sort of negativity. But at the same time it could be used as a platform to interact with like- minded people and develop long lasting friendships. Sometimes it can be used as a tool to voice your opinions and can thus liberate your mind from bottled up emotions. Apart from the old age body issues & diseases, Old age people undergo severe mental trauma when they are felt as a burden and unwanted by their own children and the society. Old age is bane when they are forced to live in old age homes and if not cared for by their children despite having their own children. It is Boon: Old age becomes boon when they have caring children who take care of them with love. Living with their Children and grand-children only give them happiness and peace. They might have so many dreams about their children's lives. They will feel happy and satisfied when they see them living as they dreamt. Old age is second childhood. Just like how badly one needs parents in the childhood, parents also need love and care when they grow old. This makes their old ages a boon, if cared for.

Role of Seniors Hub Dwarka-

A group of like-minded seniors, keeping above situations in mind, founded Seniors Hub Dwarka (SHD) for interacting with fellow seniors and are successful in making this period of their life a boon and not Bane. During SHD events, including Monthly Lunch, many have found their old friends and office colleagues thus spending quality time together.

Ravi Jaitely

To my mind, the lives of the Dwarka-based senior citizens are a boon. My life in Prabha Apartments, Sector 23 is certainly full of pleasures including needo-health, needo-peace, and needo- happiness. It has the necessary and sufficient infrastructure adding more value to the lives of senior citizens. All basic facilities required by us are available nearby including hospitals and parks. My girlfriends (newspapers including weekly Dwarka City) arriving around 6 AM is a great sense of satisfaction for me which is more than enjoying breakfast as a hope for the day. Dwarka temples are well maintained giving a feel of real Dwarka of Krishan for spiritual experiences with manifestation for spiritual progress in the early mornings from 3 AM to 6 AM with no disturbances of any kind. No issue of electricity and internet connectivity. To maximize and magnetize the manifestation of spiritual progress, we must be grateful to the stakeholders including service providers for senior citizens with a sense of belonging. In totality, it is a boon to live in Dwarka, of course, there is always a scope to improve the needo-facilities by DMC.

Prof M.M. Goel, Prabha Apartments, Sector 23

Someone once said “listen to your elder’s advice. Not because they’re always right but because they have more experience being wrong.” As we grow, we encounter various negative and positive experiences that changes our perception of life. Elders are like the roots of the tree. They are an ocean of knowledge, experience, and wisdom which serves as a guidepost for the younger generation. They always hold the family firmly and make them strong. They are the ideal mentor. From all the experiences they have accumulated over the years, they can judge a situation and give constructive advice to their children. They also play an important role in solving disputes among family members. Elderly people play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren. They spend time with them, play with them, and teach them important rules and values of life in the form of stories. The stories that they tell have a positive impact on the young minds of children. They also provide a safe and loving environment for children to grow in, which is something that no child care center can provide.                                
Shashi Jain, Seniors Hub Dwarka

In fact, the old age was gold 3-4 decades ago as there was a joint family culture and Sr. Citizens were decision makers and heading the entire group, they were getting full support of their family, but in current scenario lives of Sr. Citizens is becoming bane / worse due to Nuclear family, due to health issues, due to income issues and lots of lots of family disputes in terms of finance, property. The overall impact is on Senior citizens and they are considered a burden in the family. In this regard, government organisations and other social welfare organisations and local bodies should create a forum for their survival related grievances. Finally, Senior citizens are a boon for all new generations who have children. Now when senior citizens need children's help then they are ignored. It's a big pain and pain for them.
Jagdishh Joshii, Fire Safety and Yoga therapy and trainer

The lives of Senior Citizens in India is a boon or a bane depends on many factors such as our socio-economic structure, our family system, individual circumstances, our value & belief system.  Elders have always been a valuable asset to our families and communities as they possess a wealth of knowledge and life experience which they can pass on to younger generations. They provide a support system based on family bonds and traditional values like love, care & respect. It is engrained in our culture to give respect to our elders for their selfless love and care. Seniors have always shown direction to their younger generation in times of physical and mental stresses. Seniors are the most ignored and neglected segment of the society. There is no adequate social security, assistance, and protection for them in India. Every year we celebrate International Day of Older persons on 1st October but in reality what measures or initiatives are being taken to ensure a safe and dignified life for the Seniors. New initiatives need to be taken both at the individual as well as Government level towards the wellbeing and better quality of Senior citizens in the country.          
Poonam Chaudhary

Senior citizen means any person who has attained the age of sixty years or above. There's no need for them to get up early, get ready and go to work and beat the deadline. They are like free birds. They can practice things which they couldn't do in their younger days. There's no one to direct their activities because they are now their own masters. New interests and hobbies can be developed which can prove to be very fruitful to the society as a whole Senior citizens have enough time to keep themselves fit and healthy. That's why it is said life starts at 60. Their vast experience and knowledge can be very useful to the young generation. Some of them can be role models to the youngsters. A lawyer can counsel and advise a person in need. A finance expert may give useful tips regarding investments. Physicians are lucky in this respect. They can use their experience and expertise to diagnose intricate problems and help the patients. Age actually is a perception and not just a number. Healthy adults may feel 10 to 20 years younger than their actual age. They can become completely free after retirement and can choose the life- style that they want to lead. There's no time pressure for them and they can live their life to the fullest without any kind of interference.     
Pushpa Sharma


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