Caring For Elders Is Important, But Why Is It Only A Woman’s Job?
The ‘golden years’ as we like to call them, are testing times at best for most senior citizens. Even though the government likes to believe that the elders are pretty well looked after in our country, the true picture is far from rosy.
Most of them - whether men or women - are entirely dependent on their children as they have little to no pension money. Governmental measures in this regard are wholly inadequate, especially for the lower income groups.
Within the family, the most obvious choice to look after the elderly is the stay at home mom. Moreover, the responsibility for elder care falls on the lady of the house even if she is a working woman; after all caregiving is one of the many ‘duties’ of a woman, married or not! Right from cooking and cleaning for the elders to ensuring their medical needs are met, it is the woman who takes complete responsibility here.
This obligation may be voluntary or it may be thrust on women by the family, even though there’s no rule or law that says only women are capable of caretaking and nurturing. The men of the house are excused, simply because they hold full time jobs or due to their work requirements. Often, citing work fatigue, or excessive workload at office, men wriggle out of duties that are handled better by them anyway, since they are more mobile and often have access to better transport.
Men can contribute in the following ways:
Taking care of doctors’ appointments and follow-up visits.
Assisting in daily walks and helping elders stay active.
Spending a fixed time with them to share activities or just talk.
Eating meals together; bonding over food.
Encouraging them to pursue pleasurable hobbies to keep them occupied.
Children can learn a lot from their grandparents and caring for their grandkids gives a sense of purpose to senior citizens. So often, we hear in the news about the abuse and neglect faced by them at the hands of family members, who either treat them as nannies or house minders. Clearly seen as a burden in many houses they leave or are pushed out into the streets.
A sense of shared responsibility will make life easy for the entire family. If the whole family and not just the woman is involved then it won’t be a burden to care for our senior citizens.
Written by Inderpreet Kaur Uppal