Thursday 27 June 2019 ,
Thursday 27 June 2019 ,
Latest News
  • DU tests find detergent, antibiotics in cow’s milk
  • Convince Myanmar to take Rohingyas back, PM tells China
  • World Cup: Australia crush England to reach WC semi-finals
  • Bangladesh needs to treat over 1.5m new TB cases in next 5yrs
  • BSMMU performs first-ever liver transplant surgery
17 May, 2019 05:52:43 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 17 May, 2019 05:55:03 PM
Print

The old age allowance is not really helping the elderly

Old age is viewed as an unavoidable, undesirable, problem-ridden phase of life that we all are compelled to live, biding time until our life exits from life itself
SYED MEHDI MOMIN
The old age allowance is not really helping the elderly

The ‘Old Age Allowance Scheme” (Boyoshko Bhata Karmasuchi) in the FY1997-98 to ensure the socio-economic development and social security for the elderly people of Bangladesh. At the initial stage, the monthly allowance was just Tk. 100 and over the years it has been increased to the “princely” sum of Tka 500. The amount is pitiably low. Isn’t Tk 165 for a person per month a pittance? In these days of high prices of essential commodities what this little amount can purchase for a person? Isn’t it a mockery? A person needs food, clothing, shelter and medical care. Can the allowance meet even a small fraction of the needs? Then why it is for?” Well nobody seems to have any answer to these questions.


People here often proudly say that the elderly here are treated in a much better manner compared to Western countries? Really? The allowance of Taka 500 is but one example of the hollowness of the claim. While there is some level of respect, rise in materialistic values has taken away the real reverence that our society once had for the elderly.

Unfortunately, for all our talk about ‘respecting age’, we regard wrinkles and grey hair with a measure of horror. When we talk of our demographic advantage, it is always about youth. When we talk of our demographic challenge, it is inevitably about ageing. Who will bear the cost of longevity? Do we have the institutional structures in place? What is the burden of caring for the elderly?

The youth in general are losing the age-old custom of respect and are also becoming less concerned about the older persons. Prevalence of nuclear culture, lack of cross-generation interaction, less social interaction with older persons, age discrimination, lack of social security system in Bangladesh, can be cited as the most important reasons for the miserable condition of many older persons.

The age-discrimination is a core concern in all societies. Discrimination against people on grounds of age in Bangladesh is growing at steady pace.

Persons aged 60 years and above are considered as senior citizens, although the retiring age from any profession as decided by many countries ranges from 59 to 65.

The elder population is a fast-growing segment of Bangladesh society nowadays. Every year, approximately 80,000 new older persons enter the group of the older persons who, in general, constitute a socially and economically vulnerable group with the basic needs remaining unmet in many cases. By 2050, it is estimated that the number of people over 60 will be approximately equal to the number of children under 14. The number of people over 75 is increasing faster than any other group.

The average life span of Bangladeshis  has increased a lot in the last few decades due to improvement in medical and social services, which has also witnessed decrease in child mortality. About 6 per cent people of the country were above 60 or of higher age in 2006, and it is presumed that the number will go up to 17 per cent in 2050.

Due to physical limitations, millions of the older people across the world pass through chronic poverty, untreated illness, homelessness or inadequate shelter, violence and abuse, lack of education, little or no access to law, fear and isolation. The older people may face difficulties in the following key areas: physical and mental health; community care; social care; housing; transport; employment; income; education and leisure; utilities and consumer protection; access to information; and decision-making.

The older age can result in decreased mobility, impairment of sight, hearing and weaker muscle strength, as well as greater vulnerability to heat and cold. Minor conditions can quickly deteriorate into major handicaps that overwhelm older persons' ability to cope with. They have difficulty accessing services, and are less able or less willing to flee quickly or to protect themselves from harm in hostile situations. For instance, older persons have more difficulty accessing distribution points and carrying heavy supplies, while the loss of eyeglasses or walking canes can render them dependent on others.

Thee constitution clearly declares in article 15(D) that the Government should introduce social security programme for the insolvent elderly population. However the only visible support to the older persons is the earlier mention 'old age allowance' (Boyosko Bhata) of Taka 165.

In Bangladesh the elderly have to visit different government offices for various purposes. The norm here is to have senior citizens visit these offices in person regardless of their health or physical condition. No senior citizen counters exist at these offices, or if they do they are non-operational. his is far from the values taught in schools: to respect, to help and to facilitate senior citizens. Officials should be trained to be patient while dealing with senior citizens. Their attitude shows that either standard operating procedures don’t state how to deal with senior citizens or, if they do, they are not taught, followed and monitored in practical life.

Family members who have to shoulder the responsibility of care-giving should educate themselves about an elderly person’s specific needs including psycho-sociological, dietary, physical, mental and emotional requirements. Awareness about a condition and its related issues can help them understand the patient’s behaviour, such as aggression, and seeking professional counselling on how to deal with these issues can make care-giving easier.

It is a shocking fact that many elderly parents being abused and abandoned by their children and it is not just an urban phenomenon. In rural Bangladesh too extended family system is eroding, with the younger generation increasingly heading off to cities with their spouses and their children to start a new life – without their parents or grandparents. And there are the financial issues. Those who have worked in government service or for reputable private companies receive pensions, but a large majority of the population still work as farmers or day labourers. Once they are too old to work, they are forced to rely on their children or extended family for support which is often not forthcoming.

It is a fact of life that everyone wants to live long but no one wants to grow old.

 Old age is viewed as an unavoidable, undesirable, problem-ridden phase of life that we all are compelled to live, biding time until our life exits from life itself. Perceiving old age with fear is actually a rather recent phenomenon.

In earlier days, when life was simple and values counted for more, those who reached a ripe old age held an enviable place in society, where they could really relax and enjoy their twilight years, secure in the knowledge that they still commanded attention, respect and affection, and that though they were well past their prime, all that they had given their best for are still important and so were they.

 It is when one loses this sense of importance whether in one's own eyes or others that life becomes a problem.  And it is a diminishing sense of importance– whatever the reason–that plays havoc with the lives of elderly.  The writer is Senior Assistant Editor of The Independent and can be

contacted at: syed.mehdi@theindependentbd.com

 

SR

 

Comments

Poll
Today's Question »
State minister for power Nasrul Hamid yesterday said everyone to have access to electricity by June. Do you think the feat achievable by the timeframe?
 Yes
 No
 No Comment
Yes 49.4%
No 46.6%
No Comment 4.1%
Video
More Opinion Stories
Luxury item expenditures are keys to societal corruption Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recently said the public perception that many Anti-Corruption Commission staff are involved in corruption is not fully false. "All (ACC staff) are not innocent. No one can guarantee that all are 100…

Copyright © All right reserved.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Disclaimer & Privacy Policy
....................................................
About Us
....................................................
Contact Us
....................................................
Advertisement
....................................................
Subscription

Powered by : Frog Hosting