Although India is referred to as a ‘young’ country with a population strength of 1.2 billion, out of which 65% are below the age of 35, the older generation stares at the helplessness in terms of health-care facilities. Older people are often ignored, neglected, and misbehaved. Statistics show that 60% of the older family members are poorly treated. They are deprived of their natural rights. All this mental trauma leads to Old Age Depression. For years, this wasn’t even a topic of discussion but with time we have come to terms that older people go through a lot of hardships that can lead to a traumatized or depressed life.
In 2030, India is going to outnumber China in terms of population and this massive growth of population will only lead India into becoming an old and unprepared country in the coming hundred years. With a fair share of older generation, the government needs to cater to issues like mental health and their social well-being. In this lieu, the Government of Assam has ordered that the State Government Employees take better care of their aging parents as the strict action will be taken in-case of negligence. It is a welcoming decision by the government officials but somewhere it shows our shallow moral inclinations, where a third party has to intervene and guide our behavior towards our own parents. Having said all of that, there is still time we take note of the situation and give them the love and respect they deserve.
Depression is not a disease
Depression is nothing but a state of mind. It is a health related issue that may require medication. Consulting a psychiatrist at the initial stage should be considered. Depression can be followed by other medical conditions and is likely to affect old age people more as they have a restricted social life. However, depression is not a normal part of aging. Many think otherwise. It is a myth that old people ought to feel sad.
The generation gap
Let not the generation gap fool you. There are various ways of connecting to older age people. We can indulge them in our daily chores, especially the ones that don’t require much physical labor. We should take them to social gatherings, read them stories and also acquaint them with the technological changes occurring. It is fascinating to be able to bring the older generation on the same page as to ours. We should allow them to participate in discussions over politics and cinema. They have a view to be shared and a thought-provoking take on serious issues. Even if we don’t abide by what they say, we shouldn’t disregard it altogether.
The loss of spouse
Losing someone close to you like your life partner in your old age makes one not just sad but depressed. They lose the zeal to live and to be happy as they have no one to discuss their feelings with. Today’s generation is way too busy with their work. Half of the problem can be solved only by talking to elderly people. They want to be heard and listened to. In their age and time, folks used to gather in groupings and discuss a lot of stuff but today’s scenario is actually disheartening. People do not have time for other people. Everybody has become self-centered. In this competitive environment, the younger generation has failed to show the love and affection that guides the human entity. We have deprived ourselves of the care and concern we could be getting by having a healthy bond with our elderly parents. We cannot fill the spaces of our near and dear ones but the harm can always be lessened by:
- Taking them for regular walks in the evening
- Assisting them in their work
- Engaging them in other activities.
- Arrange social gatherings.
- Read them books.
One should never shy away from consulting a doctor. Older people are more reluctant to talk about it as they feel it is a normal phenomenon, but it is not. Depression can lead to suicidal instincts. It should be regarded as a mental health problem and a psychiatrist should be consulted in prior time. Depression in the early stage requires opening up and some general sessions on it. At critical stages, it may require medicine dozes and proper treatment. Older people tend to shy away from topics like ‘depression’, saying that they can handle it on their own. But it should neither be ignored to be thought as grave or life threatening disease.
It is really sad that a majority of people stay ignorant of health issues like depression, especially with older people. It is deemed natural which is very inhuman to consider. We should be aware of mental health issues like depression and be sensitive towards it. There are little signs that can help us identify depression in older people. They are:
- sleep disorder
- sad state of being
- diet disorder
- feel unworthy
- have negative feelings
- feel lonely
- weight issues
- feel inactive
- disengagement in social activities.
We need to be keen towards all these symptoms and especially when it is found in old age people as they don’t communicate or fail to express their feelings. A healthy country is characterized by healthy citizens. And in this robotic era, mental fitness is the key to healthy living.