Today, the life expectancies of people are increasing due to research and newer medical technologies, with the result that our parents are living longer and almost everyone has elderly parents to take care of.
In most Indian families, elderly people live long enough to watch their great- grandchildren grow. While taking care of our elderly parents, we face many challenges in India and these may vary from family to family.
In my family, we are nine people living together including myself, my wife, two sons, two daughters-in-law, one grandson, one granddaughter and my ninety three year-old mother.
We have a small house with many family members, which tends to create problems for everyone. Usually we face many problems in taking care of my old mother.
As she is 93 years old, she has lost much of her hearing capacity with age. We provided her with hearing aids, but that didn’t help much.
It makes it difficult for us to communicate with her. As an elderly person, she feels alone most of the time and wants us to always be around her.
Due to loss of hearing capacity, she find it difficult to understand what is going on inside the home and what others are saying. This often makes her angry and unhappy.
She still has good vision and we ask her to watch TV for entertainment. But as she cannot her properly we need to keep the volume at the maximum possible level. That, in turn, affects my grandson’s and granddaughter’s ability to study.
For most of the day it has become difficult for her to pass the time. As she can read, we advised her to read newspapers and books.
Until recently, she could still walk without much assistance and carry on her daily routine. This was good for us as she did not have to depend on us most of the time.
But a few months ago, she fell down and fractured her leg. As she is old and has high blood pressure, it was a difficult case to handle, even for a doctor. With God’s grace her surgery went off well.
The doctor advised her to rest for a few days. Those days were very difficult for my family as we had to look after her all the time, and my wife and I also have high blood pressure and diabetes.
Now she is better and we are happy that she can walk without assistance. Often, it’s difficult for her to understand how the world has changed around her.
For example she cannot understand how smart phones work without having a dial pad. Or how someone can make video calls using the phone. It makes us laugh sometimes and feel bad at other times.
We cannot go out even for family functions when she is home alone. As she doesn’t want strangers around her, we cannot even hire a private nurse for her.
With age she has started forgetting a few things and we find it difficult to explain them again and again. She wants all of us around her till her last day and every one of us is trying our best to do everything we can for her.
After all she had taken care of me when I needed her, and now it’s my turn to take care of her in her time of need.2