What is feels like to be in an old-age home? In simple word, it’s tragic. Well, let us summon some transparency here; I went to see a relative there. As a visitor, I was at the place hardly for an hour or maybe, a little less. Then, how horrible is it for those unfortunate souls, who’ve to end up there till their last breath? I’m not going to indulge my mind into estimating that. It’ll just throw me into the inner dungeons of sorrow.
The choice and the compulsion
Let me put something on records at the very onset. People, who run these places, are definitely providing an excellent service to the society. Taking care of others at their old age is a great deed indeed, provided one is honest and committed. These places provide a grand opportunity to people, who are single all their life or people, who have turned single – for whatsoever reason – to spend the last days in the warmth and company of other human beings.
But, what about them, who leave behind a perfect family at home and have to relocate themselves in such places? Unfortunately, this second category of people is the majority at the old-age homes of our country. Do they leave happily ever after in the care and company of some strangers, called ‘other inmates’ and attendants?
‘Adjusting’ is the keyword
After moving into such a home, these unfortunate folks are bestowed with a life, which is grossly monotonous. They’ve no choice but to follow the very same routine, being served with the very same menus with the very identical taste at meals day in and day out till they last. Hardly once or twice a year, they get to taste something different, provided they’re still mentally sound enough to register that difference. Being a foodie myself, I guess this particular issue automatically came up first.
You can’t expect spontaneous communication from the attendants at any commercial place and the homes for the old people are no exception to this. I believe, natural, spontaneous verbal communication on mundane matters help maintaining psychological stability, specially after a certain age. People, ending up at these places are forbidden to place calls to their family and friends at their free will. Initially, they wait anxiously for someone back home to drop by. Gradually, they come to terms with the reality and drop that expectation. When someone hardly pays a visit, they unashamedly display their happiness on meeting the visitor.
Time wears out and so does a life
As the days keep changing and there’s almost no humane interaction with a soul, the process of disintegration starts at a rapid pace. The individual becomes increasingly fragile – both mentally and physically. Thus, they start making loose talks and this looseness only keeps increasing with the flow of time. Because of this inconsistency in communication, others start avoiding such cases.
Gradually, they lose count of days, fail to recall names and incidents, keep jumbling up things together. After all, what more can be expected when they’ve already been dumped aside from the track? There’s even another horrible thing that has remained hidden so far.
Most of the old folks, if not all, are brought over to the homes saying they’ll be under some treatment at the hospital and will be duly taken back, once the treatment gets over. So, they nurture the dream about the moment, when their young ones will fetch them home – the real one. In such circumstances, the hearts of many a lion sink from letting them know, that their young ones are not so young any more. The other way around, maybe, this sheer tyranny on part of others, help these old and helpless souls pin hope on something positive in spite of being in such utter destitute.
Life beats me every time
When you go to these places meeting someone, at some point of time or the other, you’re bound to have an idea how uncertain life is. Someone, who was blessed with a privileged life and had access to the finest clothes and jewellery years back, is now occupying the bed, placed in front of you at this strange home. Relevancy of the Shreemad Bhagwat Gita can’t be denied even to this day and time, when technology reigns over every sphere of human life.
The irony is everyone seems to forget that one day or the other, age will catch up. What if, we’re then placed into the same dungeons by our little ones? Considering a circumstance and a character, there’s no way to deny, death is mercy in disguise.