In the sunset years

world elders' day

In the sunset years

As we celebrate yet another World Elders’ Day, the senior citizens continue to face huge challenges. They feel that the City is not meant for them.

The bad roads, unfriendly pavements, garbage dumps near residential areas are making life extremely difficult for them. Their complaints to the officials are falling on deaf ears.    Nightingale’s Trust has been running a helpline (1090) for the elders in association with the Bangalore Police.

 Says Dr Radha S Murthy, Managing Director of the trust, “From the eight per cent of senior citizens living in Bangalore, we receive 35 to 40 calls on an everyday basis. Queries varying from financial insecurity to dependence, children living abroad, emotional, physical and mental abuse are raised by the elders. The City’s unfriendly atmosphere towards elders is adding to their misery. 

Dwaraki and Sudha, aged 76 and 62 respectively, face inconvenience while walking on the roads of the City . Dwaraki says, “I find it very difficult to walk on the roads. They are full of potholes and open manholes which are very unhygienic. There are no footpaths or pavements. The pavements are used for all other reasons except walking. Sometimes, there are stalls on these pavements. Also, many of them are uneven. Evening walks have also become difficult forcing me to stay at home.” 

Sudha adds, “The garbage near my house is a big nuisance with cows  grazing on it. There is a provisional store in front of the house and the garbage is right next to it. Street dogs and other animals in the vicinity are making our life difficult. It’s scary to go out.”   Despite her ailing health, Vijaya, a 67-year-old woman living in Malleswaram, says, “I suffer from chronic leg pain and for me, walking on the bad roads is a huge task. I’m a bit terrified to walk on the lonely lanes because of safety issues.

So I end up taking the busy road. The way vehicles speed past you is scary. I don't know where and when I will get hit.  Despite bad roads, I have to go to the market to buy vegetables and sometimes, the vendors behave rudely. But I urge them to talk to people sweetly even if they do not reduce the prices of the vegetables. Just a small gesture makes us feel good.”

For the 81-year-old Krishnaswamy, who lives on Bannerghatta Road, find the two-wheelers the rashest of them all. “They ride on the wrong side of the road and sometimes on the pavements. They have no concern for the pedestrians.” 

Apart from this, he also wants more parks in his vicinity, “I see a lot of parks in my daughter’s area that is HSR Layout but not many in my area. I need more parks as going there is the only recreational activity since the Bangalore roads are not meant for walking. If there are good parks, it will help us keep ourselves fit.”

It’s not just the civic issues that plague the elder. They are terrified by the strangers who come knocking at the door. “Getting phone calls from unknown numbers is scary.
 Salespersons who come in to the house are terrifying. Since my husband and I live in an independent house, any unknown person coming to our house is a matter of concern of us. 

The biggest disadvantage of living in an independent house is the security which gets compromised. And  after a certain age, life is fearful says,” says Susheela, a 72-year-old lady who lives in Basveshwarnagar. 

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