Who Is Caring For The Elderly In India

Where do the elderly fit into India new modern image? Often in South Asian families, caring for the elderly is not a question-it will happen. In West we know of the many stories of how the elderly are mentally, physically, and getdata.asp.jpgemotionally abused by their children. Often the elderly are forced into starting their life over again in a new country coupled with the strain of supporting themselves at an age when they can no longer work and are socially dependent on their children.

However, in India, we are told it’s not the case. Families care for their elderly-some are even forced to because all the property is in their elderly parents names. But New America Media reports that the number of elderly left to care for themselves in India is skyrocketing and the country has no infastructure to care for them. For example, with an aging population of 80 million, Indian old age homes do not accept patients with dementia. Dementia is a common problem that afflicts the elderly.

In addition, elderly women are often left to care for themselves; particularly if they are widowed. In a 1996 survey, 64% of elderly women depend on others for food, shelter, and clothing. Indrani Chakravarty, director of Calcutta Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, “runs a day care center for poor elders where she sees a handful of men come to the center … at lunch time the room is a sea of women in white saris. Many of them have walked for an hour through slushy roads to get there.” These women are left homeless because they don’t have a pension (often they are house wives) and no healthcare.

Honestly, I was shocked that people would do this to their mothers at such a volunerable stage in their lives. Although the statistics focus on India and not specifically Punjab, it forces us to to step back and realize that elderly abuse is not only a problem in the West. It is becoming common place in India as well. As Sikhs, our responsibility to defend the humanity in others is not limited to our religion or region. We should think of how we can help the elderly in India. Any ideas?


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24 Responses to “Who Is Caring For The Elderly In India”

  1. Bhai says:

    There are a lot of poorly worded phrases in that and grammatical errors, sorry

  2. Bhai says:

    There are a lot of poorly worded phrases in that and grammatical errors, sorry

  3. Bhai says:

    I wonder about the frame of the post, and generally the frame of some of the issues. To me it seems to refer to looking at things over-much from a "critical-studies" point of view, in which the goal to to deconstruct any issue by way of finding the fault-lines, contradictions, ect. That is only one way to look at the issue, but I think it leads to linking any issue to the extent to which there is a problem.

    This is a tendency of a certain school of thought, but how much is it something taught in our universities. This way of looking at things does a good deal towards reform and allows us to see into a issue more critically.

    But, is it always the way? For example the lead-in to this post is the ways in which elder abuse plays out in our community. Why not the lead-in on what I assume is the default case, that quite a number of families in our community do not abuse the elder members of the family, and care for them a great deal? The issue can also be framed from a different perspective and still be a call to action and an over-covering of inconvenient truths.

    I am not saying this to "protect the community" or hide a truth. It's just that the critical studies frame is one frame, but there are other frames that can lead to effective action on problems.

  4. Bhai says:

    I wonder about the frame of the post, and generally the frame of some of the issues. To me it seems to refer to looking at things over-much from a "critical-studies" point of view, in which the goal to to deconstruct any issue by way of finding the fault-lines, contradictions, ect. That is only one way to look at the issue, but I think it leads to linking any issue to the extent to which there is a problem.

    This is a tendency of a certain school of thought, but how much is it something taught in our universities. This way of looking at things does a good deal towards reform and allows us to see into a issue more critically.

    But, is it always the way? For example the lead-in to this post is the ways in which elder abuse plays out in our community. Why not the lead-in on what I assume is the default case, that quite a number of families in our community do not abuse the elder members of the family, and care for them a great deal? The issue can also be framed from a different perspective and still be a call to action and an over-covering of inconvenient truths.

    I am not saying this to "protect the community" or hide a truth. It's just that the critical studies frame is one frame, but there are other frames that can lead to effective action on problems.

  5. Bhai says:

    Just some additional thoughts, as an amateur

    Basically I am suggesting a consideration that critical studies is a post-modern ideological frame that developed possibly out of experience after World War II including as a result of existentialist thought. To what extent can our community speak and be spoken to from a post-modern critical studies framework? Will the Sikh community be late-comers to post-modernity? Are we already there?

    To me this comes about in how the narrative of reform is described. Deconstruction was helpful in problematizing hegemonic structures in the dominant society. Part of the idea of protecting the community is the tension stemming from whether our community is the dominant community or not. When we are talking in Sikh circle, or in Punjab, deconstruction is going at underlying hegemonies in my opinion, such as gender, caste (a relatively under-spoken of hegemony that in South Asia seems at times quite brutal). However in the diaspora, the community is hegemonic and also marginal. Thus, thepossible tension between reform and shining a light on problematic dynamics within the community and the idea of safe-guarding the narratives of the community from further marginalization.

  6. Bhai says:

    Just some additional thoughts, as an amateur

    Basically I am suggesting a consideration that critical studies is a post-modern ideological frame that developed possibly out of experience after World War II including as a result of existentialist thought. To what extent can our community speak and be spoken to from a post-modern critical studies framework? Will the Sikh community be late-comers to post-modernity? Are we already there?

    To me this comes about in how the narrative of reform is described. Deconstruction was helpful in problematizing hegemonic structures in the dominant society. Part of the idea of protecting the community is the tension stemming from whether our community is the dominant community or not. When we are talking in Sikh circle, or in Punjab, deconstruction is going at underlying hegemonies in my opinion, such as gender, caste (a relatively under-spoken of hegemony that in South Asia seems at times quite brutal). However in the diaspora, the community is hegemonic and also marginal. Thus, thepossible tension between reform and shining a light on problematic dynamics within the community and the idea of safe-guarding the narratives of the community from further marginalization.

  7. Harinder says:

    Few things should be left to GOD ;

    or the worrry list in modern world is endless.

    eg

    1) Birth and death

    2) Old age woes

    3) Evolution

    4) Creation and destruction of Universe

    5) who will go to heavaen and who will not

    etc etc

  8. Harinder says:

    Few things should be left to GOD ;
    or the worrry list in modern world is endless.
    eg
    1) Birth and death
    2) Old age woes
    3) Evolution
    4) Creation and destruction of Universe
    5) who will go to heavaen and who will not

    etc etc

  9. jasneet kaur says:

    yea,if can be done by teenagers cos mostly teenagers believe in their freinds rather than family/relatives etc…. so its our responsibility to send sms,mails etc,,and as there so so many social networking websites also…..to help elders…by giving them clothes,or by goin to virdhashram etc…..and help them…now some people say that we dnt have enough tym for ol dis? so here is an answer for all…that wen we go to them..dnt think we r helping themm..indirectly we are hepling ourself…cos elders have experience of so many years….and by talking to them..knowing their sorrows and some experiences..we can also get some excellent views..to make our life good ….so main motto is to spread all this things to freinds as much as possible

  10. jasneet kaur says:

    yea,if can be done by teenagers cos mostly teenagers believe in their freinds rather than family/relatives etc…. so its our responsibility to send sms,mails etc,,and as there so so many social networking websites also…..to help elders…by giving them clothes,or by goin to virdhashram etc…..and help them…now some people say that we dnt have enough tym for ol dis? so here is an answer for all…that wen we go to them..dnt think we r helping themm..indirectly we are hepling ourself…cos elders have experience of so many years….and by talking to them..knowing their sorrows and some experiences..we can also get some excellent views..to make our life good ….so main motto is to spread all this things to freinds as much as possible

  11. Bhai says:

    Harinder, post-modern critical studies develops from a belief that at the least questions an objective truth. In a way that is what I am getting at. The Sikh community is based on a certain epistemology that developed differently from that which gives rise to post-modernity and critical studies. In the diaspora we are part of at least both these strands of thought. My question is when and how to look at Sikhi from a critical studies perspectives.

    Critical studies seems to have been deeply affected by developments in the years between World War I and II. To what extent can we be aware of using this frame in our discussion of communities. I think problematizing hegemonies has significantly value, but to what extent is the epistemology of Sikhi able to do so in ways similiar or different to critical studies. If anything, there is to me a potential for nihilism within critical studies, or at least an extreme self-referencing. If nothing else, it is a profoundly secular movement. These tools are used in the context of a faith community with an epistemology drawn from sources quite different than the ones critical studies was reacting to. For one question, to which problems in the Sikh epistemology can post-modern critical studies relate?

  12. Bhai says:

    Harinder, post-modern critical studies develops from a belief that at the least questions an objective truth. In a way that is what I am getting at. The Sikh community is based on a certain epistemology that developed differently from that which gives rise to post-modernity and critical studies. In the diaspora we are part of at least both these strands of thought. My question is when and how to look at Sikhi from a critical studies perspectives.

    Critical studies seems to have been deeply affected by developments in the years between World War I and II. To what extent can we be aware of using this frame in our discussion of communities. I think problematizing hegemonies has significantly value, but to what extent is the epistemology of Sikhi able to do so in ways similiar or different to critical studies. If anything, there is to me a potential for nihilism within critical studies, or at least an extreme self-referencing. If nothing else, it is a profoundly secular movement. These tools are used in the context of a faith community with an epistemology drawn from sources quite different than the ones critical studies was reacting to. For one question, to which problems in the Sikh epistemology can post-modern critical studies relate?

  13. San says:

    Critical studies is a way of looking at social issues that may have some similarities to the ways gurubani and Sikh theologies have looked at issue, but also maybe some differences. When looking at a social issue, it might be useful to look at the ways in which gurubani and Sikh thought looks at social issues in comparison to the ways critical theory looks at social issues, and use these ways of looking at social issues with as much clarity as possible regarding which world-view is being used.

  14. San says:

    Critical studies is a way of looking at social issues that may have some similarities to the ways gurubani and Sikh theologies have looked at issue, but also maybe some differences. When looking at a social issue, it might be useful to look at the ways in which gurubani and Sikh thought looks at social issues in comparison to the ways critical theory looks at social issues, and use these ways of looking at social issues with as much clarity as possible regarding which world-view is being used.

  15. harinder says:

    Could you please explain it in a little simple way what you are trying to say.
    It is all going above my head.

  16. harinder says:

    Could you please explain it in a little simple way what you are trying to say.
    It is all going above my head.

  17. Inga says:

    Hi, thanks for the mention of New America Media. However, in the future, there is no "n" at the end. It's just New America Media.

    Thanks,
    INga

  18. Inga says:

    Hi, thanks for the mention of New America Media. However, in the future, there is no "n" at the end. It's just New America Media.

    Thanks,
    INga

  19. Phulkari says:

    Sorry about that Inga! Correction made.

  20. Phulkari says:

    Sorry about that Inga! Correction made.