Today’s 65-year-olds are healthier, less dependent, mentally agile and more prepared for ageing than ever before. However seniors today in India are facing a new set of challenges.
A study shows almost 15 million Indians aged above 60 live alone or with spouse only. In states like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu alone, a quarter of the elderly population live in such all-elderly households. India is going nuclear and the concept of a joint family system is giving way at a fast rate in India, as grown-up children of seniors move to another city or country for work or study. With no grown up children and grandchildren around today’s young old are facing 3 new set of challenges.
The challenges are primarily boredom, safety and home accessibility.
As retirement kicks in at 60, with lots of spare time and good health many of the seniors are finding it difficult to spend time at home doing nothing.
This Emptynest phase could be particularly harsh on women homemakers who have made children their central focus in their lives.
There are plenty of things they could do to engage themselves into something meaningful and find a new network of friends but as always it is difficult to start for many.
Whether by choice or not, one thing is clear – it takes a lot of patience and careful planning to build a second career. One may have to change their lifestyle, plan finances and acquire new skills and knowledge.
There is a clear rise in crimes on seniors living alone in cities in India. Most common crimes committed against seniors have been theft, burglary, cheating, physical assaults etc. Security experts say a majority of such offences are committed by known persons, such as the house help, milkman, watchman etc. who have not been registered with police.
Studies show that even as a majority of seniors do not experience crime directly they live in the fear of crime because of their vulnerable situation. Their fears, apparently, comes from excessive media attention on crimes on seniors.
Although the risks and impact of victimization of older people should not be over-dramatized (as has been the tendency of the media), neither should they be minimized.
Investing in a home security system can help your parents overcome the fear of crime significantly.
For do’s and dont’s in buying a home security system in India click here.
Home accessibility and maintenance
Many live in homes that are 20 years old and big enough for a family of four. Maintaining such homes without help from young can quite some challenge.
For many seniors, living in their home is not only important to their emotional well-being, it’s often more cost-effective than other housing options. The fact is 90% of seniors prefer “ageing in place”.
Further a house that was perfectly suitable for a senior at age 55, for example, may find the bathroom and kitchen quite uncomfortable to use by the time they are 70. Home improvements, modifications, and repairs can help older adults maintain their independence and prevent accidents primarily falls.
For tips to make your parents home age friendly click here.
You could even help your parents in maintaining their homes by engaging with one of the many online home maintenance services that have come up in most major cities in India, they are providing services like deep cleaning, painting, pest control, plumbing etc. all under one roof.
While boredom has to fixed by individuals depending on their interests and energy levels, safety and home accessibility issues can be easily fixed by using products, technology and services.
These products and modifications are particularly necessary if an aging parent lives alone as other family members may not be aware of the struggles their loved ones are having on a day today basis. Seniors living independently might often need assistance from family members to put these safety measures into place.