A topic that has so many sides, so many dimensions and angles to it that scrutinising, assessing and evaluating every aspect and putting it all down here is not only difficult, it’s impossible.
Coming to terms with old-age and associated trials, changing family values, inter-family relationships, the generation divide, socio-economic demands, the exodus brought on by employment and educational situation and family bonds crumbling before demands brought on by such strains, families going nuclear and ballistic—the dynamics and dimensions are endless.
Oft highlighted and portrayed in popular media, each depiction only focuses on one aspect of the entire narrative. Showing just one side of the whole picture, paining the next of kin as selfish, self-centred villains.
- Shedding tears watching a gardener, a ‘Baghban’in a famous Bollywood film, realising his efforts, his sacrifices have come to naught—the seeds he had so lovingly planted, sprout and grow into thorny bushes.
- A famous though heart-wrenching Adhunik Bangla Gaan where the old mother is literally packed-off to a ‘Briddhashram’ to make space for the son, his wife and their pet Alsatian.
Numerous soaps on television, which on a regular basis conduct autopsies on dead ‘Saas-Bahu’and ‘Mata-Pita-Beta’relationships and showcase the reports as popular fare.
Now though the reasons for the changing scenarios depicted on-screen tilt towards the extreme, in reality they often result from compulsions and situations, which force children to look for alternatives to taking care of their aged parents themselves. Ranging from employment and career opportunities out-station or country to time constraints and stress, they result from demands, unnatural and unprecedented.
Considering this, the idea is to try and seek the best care available and an old-age home is certainly not the solution. At least, not compared to the superb alternative of house-based eldercare.