Recently a newspaper reported that a senior citizen sold his flat and deposited Rs27 lakh in a bank account held jointly by him and his son. Within a week, the son had withdrawn the entire amount without the father’s knowledge. When the father came to know about the withdrawal he was completely broken.
In this regard, I would like to describe an interactive session with the students of gerontology, which I attended at the invitation of Nasreen Rustomfram, dean of student affairs and professor of the Centre for Lifelong Learning.
Gerontology is a study of late adulthood and older people as a special group. The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Tiss) in Deonar has a one-year diploma course in gerontology starting in June 2010. I attended the class discussion at Tiss to know how civil society can help and protect senior citizens from being duped by their children.
Kalpana Sanghvi who has finished the diploma in gerontology said that she had enrolled for the gerontology course so that she could take care of her bedridden mother-in-law. In her opinion, the society needed a course like this.
Presently the need of the society was to give our senior citizens, a life of dignity in their twilight years. Tiss, the premier institute in social work, has always responded to the change in social reality through development and application of knowledge.
Urbanisation, migration, industrialisation, women entering the labour force and many such social changes have steadily chipped away the joint family system. Community and family networks had all along sustained senior citizens. The result is that senior citizens are now forced to face a life of despair and loneliness.
All gerontology course students strongly felt that there were very few mechanisms to look into the problems of senior citizens. “Professionally qualified experts can deal with the problem in a better manner. This is why I joined the diploma course in gerontology at TISS. I have already worked with old people in Tanzania. I plan to open an old age home in Tanzania,” said Ragini Makwana, who has come all the way from Tanzania.
This gerontology course started by TISS prepares people to create opportunities that facilitate the experience of aging as an enriching one. More people should join the course to deal with the rising number of senior citizens.
By Indira Satyanarayan(The writer is an instructor at SK Somaiya College)
Candidates may make inquiries through:
Telephone: +91-22-2556 3289 (8 lines), Extn. 252 / 237.
Centre for Lifelong Learning,
Tata Institute of Social Sciences,
Deonar, Mumbai - 400 088
Tel: 91-22-2552 5680
Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.