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The last resort - Amarpal Malhi - The Sunday Indian
 
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The last resort

 

Shravan Kumar’s devotion to his parents is a legend from another age; unheard of in the times that transpire. Behind every aged soul in an old age home may be a saga of a quagmire of hardships, reasons Shanti (name changed), a 40-year-old working mother of two, citing from her own life.
AMARPAL MALHI | Issue Dated: June 22, 2008
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The last resort Beta ji hamare paas sab kuch hai, aur hum yaha khush hai.” These words make me feel that I took the correct decision.

Initially, things were pretty smooth at my end. I was happily married and had a wonderful husband. I am the only child of my parents. Things became difficult when my husband expired – it happened almost seven years back. My life came down entirely; my parents shifted to my home as I had two daughters to take care of and a job.

Now the complete burden was on me and things started changing. I had a good job but the only problem was that I had no time for my parents; even my daughters were busy in studies. My parents grew older and needed someone to take care of them.

The state of mind of my parents was worsening. I had to regularly take leaves from my office to take care of them. There were fights amongst us and the environment at my home went from bad to worse. My parents did not understand the kind of work I was doing and had a lot of questions for me when I came late from office or went out for official visits.



BRASS TRACKS

“In India, there are about 1,000 old age homes with a maximum of 25,000 beds. These old age homes are hardly adequate to meet the needs of the rising number of elderly. The number of old `people` in the country is currently 77 million, which is likely to grow to 177 million in another 25 years” : Dr Aabha Chaudhary, Founder Secretary, Anugraha, Delhi-based NGO working for the elderly.


I now thought that it was time to take some bold decision. My whole world was crashing in front of my eyes and I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing. I decided to shift my parents to an old age home. The place has been a great help to me. It was a very tough decision for me; it seemed that the whole world would jump at me with questions, but none could actually understand my circumstances and the state of life I was going through. There was no one to lend me a helping hand even.

The day I shifted my parents (around three years back), it felt like I had thrown my own world away from me, but I had to do it simply because I wanted things to get better.

At the old age home my parents get good and timely food, and are taken care of, and above all they have good company – people of their age, people who want to talk and share their feeling. My parents are comfortable there, which gives me much satisfaction. When I see them happy, I am moved to the point of tears. I go to meet them weekly or fortnightly and they are delighted when I take gifts for them.

No one actually wants to be away from the parents, but certain situations make you take certain steps. There were a lot of reactions from the society which I had to face; almost everyone opposed my decision, but I only told them that my life had a separate set of factors to contend with. People might drop off their parents at old age homes for xyz reasons, but when I took the decision I was in a different state. The society has started accepting it, and I hope that everyone sees reason in what I did, and believe that the step I took was in the welfare of my family. Unless they experience something similar, anyone will find it hard to empathise with me.

I do not regret my decision, but I just hope everyone reading this understands me.”
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017