I have come across a number of elderly couples who live alone while their married children live separately either in same city or elsewhere. This can be either by choice or otherwise. This more often than realised leads to neglect of elder parents who are in need of support due to old age ailments. After coming across one family, I am prompted to repeat what I had written more than 5 years ago as adjustments are needed from both – elders and young couple.
An elderly lady who is past 70s lives alone in a big house with a lot of open cultivated space around in a city about 200 kms away from her son who lives with his wife and children in Delhi. Though they want her to stay with them but she declines. About 6 months ago she fell down in her house and suffered minor fracture of hip bone necessitating full time bed rest advised by doctors. She needed to be helped to visit even toilet. She was brought to Delhi by her son and given due care. She was very well looked after though her daughter in law is also working. Apart from a full day time maid, another full day time help was employed to be with her when couple used to away at work during the day. Grandchildren, though young, lent their bit after return from school. She is almost fully recovered though is advised not to exert. She has praise for all of them. Now situation has come when her son and his wife are looking forward to her going back to the place. Reason – she continues gripping about her pains & aches when they return from work, though grandchildren say that she is perfectly normal when they are alone with her. This is where I feel adjustments are needed. Young couple has gone all the way to make her comfortable but what is her contribution? Not that she is expected to take on household work but can she not make herself dependable by doing small things – like stop making drama of her ailment from what she has almost fully recovered, take care of grandchildren on their return from school by monitoring their studies as she herself is well educated instead of young couple being burdened with this task on their return from work?
In my previous post on this topic I had said that adjustments are needed from elders also as every young couple needs space. One has to get over BOSSY attitude and be more of support than a pain.