What causes Depression in Elderly people in India?

Sitting aloof in the balcony looking at the hustle and bustle outside may seem to be a positive sign for an elderly person to imagine that he/she is getting indulged in an activity. However, it may be a different scenario altogether! “Hell of lot of activity outside, yet no body to take care”. This can be disappointing to the core if we see the lack of caring for the elderly in India. It is the general tendency of a human being to mingle with same age groups. Even, a baby will look at other babies around if mothers are in a group. Similarly elder people also need companions especially; their aged peers who can share some common topics.

When I took my dog outside for an evening walk, I saw an old man sitting in the corner of a park bench observing the people and the kids around him. No youngster around have made an attempt to talk to them or pay attention to them as they are busy with their friends and family. I thought of making an interaction and went and sat adjacent to him who must be in his early seventies and said ‘hello’ feeling skeptical to do that. To my surprise, he reciprocated me with a pleasing smile yet hesitant!! When I started a conversation, he was slowly into it speaking about his joint pains and digestion problems. It was little boring to me but I thought of making him little more happy. I gave him the relevant suggestions I knew! He was little afraid with the dog I took and I assured that it will not harm him. He was happy to talk to me. Although the small meeting did not fetch anything to me, I felt extremely happy to have spoken to him making him happy and thought I would continue this habit. It may not be the same experience every time, but I would still do it. I googled about elders and their issues and understood that isolation can depress them a lot. Loss of a spouse can be the foremost one for a social isolation.

Losing a person who has been a companion for some 30 to 40 years can be extremely grieving and I never thought from this angle before. My parents were in front of me and the very idea that they may get separated in future has devastated me. Even I will be separated from my spouse at one time or the other. There are tremors below my feet. My concern for elderly spurt to new heights all of a sudden. A social withdrawal followed by depressions and physical ailments, what a state? Every one of us is vulnerable to such a trauma in life. But what makes us ignore it for our elders?

This is the time when they need their loving family. But are we able to take care of them in such turmoil? Do they have that eco system? The busy lives we spend to earn bread in the rat race may not be helping us to take care of them. Taking them to an old age home is a social stigma in India, but I though it is a practical solution. I found an old age community SAMARTH doing an excellent job towards caring for ageing parents in India. All they need is little care, love and affection, same aged peers and the assurance. I thought of going there to spend some time and help them voluntarily to get an inner solace. So, let’s work on providing a better life for all of our parents.

Originally published at samarthcare.blogspot.com on February 21, 2017.