Andhra Pradesh Business Culture Educational Legal Legislature Nation Welfare State

Spandana programme in Andhra Pradesh comes to rescue of elderly parents

Amaravati : Eighty-year-old Mehboob Khan, a native of Guntur, was abandoned and forced to fend for himself after he was allegedly harassed by his three sons. A gold merchant by profession, his sons allegedly grabbed all his property, physically abused and tortured him for more money.

Unable to bear the harassment, Mehboob Khan attended the Spandana programme recently. He urged to the police to allow him to end his life. Remember, an attempt to suicide is a punishable offence.

There have been umpteenth number of cases where senior citizens are neglected and abused by their children for want of money.

Burdened by the pain of ignorance, the elderly are forced take shelter at old age homes in their twilight years. This, in turn, has led to an astonishing rise in the number of old age homes across the country.

According to a report by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in 2021, Andhra Pradesh stood in the second position in the country with 2,000 elderly people living in 75 old age homes.

While Odisha topped with over 2,500 elderly people in 91 old age homes, Tamil Nadu ranked third with 1,795 senior citizens taking shelter in 66 old age homes.

The number of homes have risen substantially last year as well. According to the Technical Group on Population Projections for India and States, there are 728 old age homes across the country currently. Unfulfilment of the needs of the elderly by the child is a human rights violation.

Various measures have been taken by the governments and courts from time to time to curb this, but the dissolution of joint families and the increasing trend of nuclear families have made the situation even worse. According to experts, there has been a growing trend of elderly people, who own property and wealth, opting for old age homes.

‘Though the police have been counselling old age parents to file a case so that proper action can be taken, the elderly are reluctant to take action against their children,” said Guntur West DSP Srinivasa Rao.

“For such parents, the Spandana grievance programme has become a good platform, as we are orally receiving their complaints and forwarding them to the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA),” he added. “The police department in coordination with DLSA is addressing these issues and conducting counselling with giving legal suggestions to both parents and children to resolve the issues.”

“The feeling of isolation becomes unbearable in old age for elderly people as their children become busy building up their own careers and families. As a result, they prefer company of other senior citizens,” opined Dr Uma Jyothi, a psychologist at Guntur GGH.

“Parents fail to inculcate the importance of family and relations among children. As a result, earning money becomes the prime focus of the children while growing up. This, generally, results in children harassing their parents for wealth and eventually abandoning them. In order to bring positive change, it is very important that parents concentrate on providing a stable and value-based upbringing to their children,” she added.