Why do aged people seek asylum in Homes ?
It was Adolf Hitler who had little sympathy for the aged and physically handicapped people. He was a heartless person and so he despised them and even persecuted them.
The proliferation of the homes for the aged, as many as 125 in Chennai City in Tamil Nadu alone is a pointer that indicates how far our society has degraded much and lost its human values.
Homes for the aged people are run by private and voluntary organizations.They look after the aged people by providing them with food, shelter and medical facilities besides fulfilling their personal requirements if any. They also collect a reasonable charge from the aged people for the amenities provided by them. It varies according to the amenities provided by them, reputation of the home and its location etc.
Aged people seek the asylum in such homes for the aged people for the following reasons:-
1) There is a general trend in favor of the dismemberment of the composite or joint family system and the evolution of a single family system being the order of the day, there is no scope for the aged people They necessarily have to seek asylum and naturally homes for the aged that are available in plenty is a panacea for them.
2)When the aged people are orphans and no takers; When they have no family or legal heirs to take care of them, the aged people are forced to join such homes and avail their services.
3)Generation gap is the another factor. When the aged people with a different mental make up, educational background or being illiterate cannot adjust with their own wards and other family members or adapt to a given situation; there arise serious differences between the aged people and the younger generation. In the result, the aged people are finding that they are incongruous at the given situation and so are forced to seek asylum in such homes for the aged people.
4)Ill-health of the aged people is a major factor.When the aged people have ailments like diabetes, cholesterol and Asthma, other family members are finding them as a liability on the family. Besides, the aged people need frequent medical attention for their illness which cannot be provided by the other family members or they are not willing to provide such medical attention to the aged people. Hence, in order to escape from such problems, they admit the aged people at homes. In other words, in order to avoid incurring heavy medical expenses towards any surgery for heart or other ailments, aged people are admitted into the homes for the aged. After admitting the aged people at such homes, other family members actually feel that they are relieved from their future economic burden.
5)Lack of love and affection towards the aged people also force their wards to admit them in such homes for the aged. When the aged people lost their sons or daughters but they have to rely upon their grand son or grand daughter, they may not receive the same kind of love and affection or response that they received from their son or daughter.In the result, such aged people may be treated almost as strangers.Under the circumstances mentioned above, the aged people have no other go but to seek the asylum of the homes for the aged.
6)Even though a son is under the moral obligation to take care of his aged father and he may even be willing to shoulder such obligation; once he gets married he comes under the predominant influence of his wife and under her total control.Eventhough, the family is economically sound, just because of the uncompromising attitude of the daughter-in-law, her utter disregard shown towards her father-in-law or mother-in-law,the son is forced to admit his aged father or mother in a home.
7)Sometimes, the general economic condition of the family being in a very bad shape, the aged people not willing to inflict undue economic burden upon his ward causing him mental agony, willingly desert the house and join any home.
Thus social and economic factors play a predominant role in forcing the aged people to seek asylum in courts.
Legal Rights and Remedies for the old people:-
Despite of the above mentioned social and economic factors that play a predominant role in forcing and driving the aged people towards ‘Homes’, they irrespective of their age, have got their own inalienable rights to live in this world.They may be fragile in health; they may be suffering from generation gap; their wards may have utter disregard for their well being; law considers them and treats them as rightful citizens entitled to enjoy equal rights at par with others.
It is heartening to note that the Indian Government has come forward to enact an act called ‘The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007’, which was a timely step in the right direction so as to prevent the sufferings of the aged people.
The Indian Government has categorically expressed its objects and reasons for the enactment of the above act as follows:-
“Traditional norms and values of the Indian society laid stress on providing care for the elderly. However, due to withering of the joint family system, a large number of elderly are not being looked after by their family.Conequently, many older persons, particularly widowed women are now forced to spend their twilight years all alone and are exposed to emotional neglect and to lack of physical and financial support.This clearly reveals that that ageing has become a major social challenge and there is a need to give more attentionto the care and protection for the older persons.
The Bill proposes to cast an obligation on the persons who inherit the property of children or their aged relatives to maintain such aged relatives and also proposes to make provisions for setting up oldage homes for providing maintenance to the indigent older persons.
The Bill proposes to provide for appropriate mechanism to be set up to provide need-based maintenance to the parents and senior citizens; providing better medical facilities to senior citizens; for institutionalization of a suitable mechanism for protection of life and property of older persons; setting up of oldage homes in every district.”
Therefore, law besides duly recognizing the legal rights of the oldage people irrespective of their economic status, also tries its level best to redress their grievances caused by the above mentioned social and economic factors.