We happened to attend a programme conducted by an NGO to celebrate Elders Day. The topic chosen was Senior citizens homes-are they the solution? After the chief guest spoke in general about the advantages and disadvantages of old age homes, the anchor invited an interaction from the audience who comprised a large number of senior citizens. The panel which took the questions and sought suggestions consisted of middle aged persons , all celebrities in their own right.
The eldest among the gathering was the first to come out with a suggestion that senior citizens homes should be a gated community with security and all the amenities but the most important of all, should have a few reserved for youngsters as well so that the oldies like him will feel young in spirit. The moment he finished the whole gathering burst out laughing and wanted to know whether he had any problem staying with his children. ‘I AM NOT MARRIED’ PROMPT CAME THE ANSWER.
Next was another gentleman who suggested senior citizens homes should be built within the range of ‘sabhas’ so that music lovers can have an easy access during the music season.
The third said it was wrong to call them as senior citizens homes, a retirement home would be a better idea which also sounded more dignified.
The fourth, an elderly lady suggested a separate wing should be reserved for ladies so that they can run a ladies club with no interference from men. One of the panelists asked if she was a social worker, and she said she had plans to become one.
The last suggestion came from a middle aged lady and the moment she stood up all eyes turned to her as she appeared the odd one out. She congratulated the organizers for holding the programme for elder citizens which was the need of the hour. Then came her suggestion:’ I am of the strong opinion that whatever the homes for elders are called , they should have some intellectual activities to keep their minds young and they should be made mandatory .‘
‘We feel that’s a TALL ORDER’ said the panelists in one voice.