Woes of Senior Citizen with their off springs in foreign lands


KUDOS To Mr Vijay Phanshikar for bringing up the serious issue of socioemotional aspect of lonely senior citizens in his column 'Loud Thinking. As a doctor, I have seen many senior citizens going into the phase of loneliness and then depression after staying far away from their children who are mostly settled abroad. The problem has worsened many folds during Covid times. In their young days, the same parents encourage their children to study abroad, supporting them financially. Over a period of time children take up lucrative jobs and decide to settle down permanently. The excited proud parents in their hay days make frequent trips to be with them and later mostly for baby-sitting. But later, the same parents are reluctant to visit their children due to the tiring Air travel and children also do not encourage their elderly parents to visit them due to unaffordable medical expenses. At such times children visit their parents for short periods.

Everyone is happy with this arrangement till the parents are physically fit. Once their health starts deteriorating, the parents start feeling the necessity of being near their children. Then it's too late to make compromises from either side. The irony of the situation is the same parents who looked after their elderly parents sincerely, do not have the same kind of support from children.

Unfortunately, most of the senior citizens are left to tend for themselves mostly in old age homes. Western trends are replacing our rich Indian values. How do we solve the problem of migrating diaspora?? Doesn't the present generation owe some moral responsibility towards their parents? Emotions, attachments, sense of responsibilities, are they taking a backseat in today's materialistic world? Can Long distance Video calls kill parents' loneliness? Is the Empty Nest Syndrome a permanent reality in life of elderly?

Should the parents be selfish enough to refuse funding or discourage their children in settling down in foreign countries? Should the Government of India make certain laws (like China) to ensure that Indian citizens return home after stipulated time period and serve their native country and parents?? The problem is complex but quick solutions is the need of the hour before one entire generation of senior citizens becomes mentally unstable. A strong debate is required and Senior citizens need a platform for this controversial debate.

Author - Shubhangi Deshmanet

Comments are welcome at feedback@nyaasahcare.com

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