Lives of elderly people living in an old age home of New Delhi
Mentor Ben Edwards Sharbendu De
Photographs Zoya Rasul
ndiaâ€™s elderly population is projected to increase dramatically over the coming decades. According to the United Nations Population Division (UN 2011) Indiaâ€™s population aged 60 and above is expected to climb from 8 percent in 2010 to 19 percent in 2050. By mid-century, it is to encompass 323 million people, a number greater than the total U.S. population in 2012.
The rise in the share of elderly Indians poses a variety of social and economic challenges. Changing family relationships and limited old-age income support adds to it. Children abandoning their parents on roads and forcing them to take refuge in old age homes, is the most unfortunate fallout of this scenario.
Left on the roadside, they are picked up by city authorities and handed over to various government funded old age homes. â€œMy son will come to take me back,â€? they say. Soon they accept the new place as the one where they would breathe their last.
Most of the residents suffer from Alzheimer or Dementia. With a failed memory, they are unable to recall their home address. All they remember is their religious identity and the names of their children.
“If you want to get something for me, bring me death.”
He doesn’t hold any grudge against his only son. “He can choose if he wants me around or not. It is his life. My wife passed away long back, probably for good. Now, I am simply awaiting my death. Sooner it comes, better for me.” He teaches a boy of class X, free of cost to get rid of his boredom.
“Life is unpredictable. We never dreamt that life would bring both of us here, to spend the last days of our lives. My mother has grown really weak. My husband and father are no more. My daughter is married and I don’t want to bother her.I wonder what my life would be without my mother.”
â€œNow, lonliness is my best friend. It feels good when people like you come to visit us. People here are now my only friends to whom I can talk about my life and grand-children.â€?
As people whom they gave birth to, have shut the doors on them, this continues to be their home.
MA CONVERGENT JOURNALISM AJK MCRC, JAMIA MILLIA ISLAMIA