21 August marks the World Senior Citizen Day. On this day of awareness, I want to share my experience with my mother who was a senior citizen for about two decades, and left us at the age of 88. I strongly believe senior citizens just need love and care more than money or anything else.
Remaining in good health as an older adult requires much more than what medication and treatment alone have to offer. It requires strength that comes from your near and dear ones. At that age, they feel helpless and isolated, and become dependent on someone – son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, friend, nurse or an outsider depending on who spends most time with them and takes care of them. For instance, Maa was closer to our maid, who took care of her rather than me and Iti because she would spend 24×7 with the maid. The children and grand children of senior citizens should dutifully love their parents and spend quality time with them.
Everyone, even maa knows how I struggled, and faced difficulties to establish KIIT and KISS. In this quest for fulfilling the greater vision, I could not give much time to Maa. I feel really sorry about it and want to rectify the err, but it is seemingly impossible. I understand why my mother was closest to my eldest brother who would spend hours with her. For her, as for other senior citizens, time is more important than money and status.
Those who know me, know that I am very particular to every duty I do, and in that workholic nature, I missed to give Maa my time, which was devoted to lot of other social causes. But I had mentally set a convention to have lunch with Maa at Iti’s residence after she came to stay in Bhubaneswar in her eighties, as she could not stay alone in the village. But unfortunately, my time for lunch was very brief, sometimes didn’t exceed ten minutes and a brief chat.
A day that I don’t want to recall is 1st August, a day before she passed away, when I could not spend more than five minutes with her because of my back to back meetings. Only if I knew that was my last meeting with her, I would have not left the place and told her what she meant to me and how important she was! I knew that my calling for work for a noble cause was even admired by her and she would never show any major qualms about it, except a line here and there directed to me through Iti.
I request all my friends, to love, respect and spend time with the elders and senior citizens at home, and then it reflects in our behaviour with them outside. It will give immense pleasure to them and to us as well. Especially, in a country where the welfare and security for senior citizens in terms of legislation and implementation is much less in letter and spirit, with precarious conditions of those who are not socially well off or in rural areas, we need to go that extra mile to make them feel happy and important.