Madhu Jain, 57 years, murdered by a man in the guise of a priest at Lake Town, Kolkata!
Two retired college teachers in Kolkata, 78 years and 75 years, respectively, beaten to death in Paikpara!
78-year-old Kamala Das killed by a 15-year-old former help!
Ranjit Chatterjee was killed by a sweeper of 15 years!
These and many more such horror stories bring to the forefront the vulnerability of the aged and elderly living alone.
The most recent case of a 75-years-old lady found dead in her Jodhpur Park flat has hit home the fear and the lonely battle that many aged are fighting in their fight to live a life!
Staying alone encompasses a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness.
Why so lonely?
The growing sense of identity of independence among the elderly and their consequent rigidity is can be the primary reason. With medical science improving, the geriatric issues and lengthening of life spans are towards a positive road. Modern-age living and the fact of space crunch advocate nuclear families.
Women empowerment has also lead to greater career options and more women are moving out of home for long periods (women mainly considered care givers in the earlier times).
Thus, staying alone by the aged singly or as a couple can either be their preferred choice or a compulsion.
There is no doubt that for both scenarios, there are security issues as well as excruciating lonesomeness, which hits the elderly from time to time.
It also means a reorientation of ideas on the part of the elderly (primarily) and that of the family members.
Staying alone: a preferred choice
- Living by yourself is a statement of independence and freedom. One has the freedom to choose how to live, what to wear, where and when to go, and so on. Of course, this presupposes a certain degree of financial security that allows one to live freely from worry on money issues.
- One has a sense of responsibility and a right to taking one’s own decisions right or wrong, allowing a sense of dignity and overall a feel good factor.
- Living alone keeps one occupied, handling day to day problems hence one remains in tune with everyday living helping them to nurture one’s self esteem.
Staying alone: a compulsion
- The first and foremost problem of staying alone can be depression.
- Fear stalks and stokes the mind, everything can get magnified.
- Anxiety and suspicion haunts the mind.
- One can be subject to careless and rude behaviour, or even threats and blackmail.
- Misery and fear of safety and security can completely wreck havoc on the mind and heart. Living becomes a time pass. A tragedy beyond words.
Many today are opting for old age retirement homes, allying themselves with elderly care organizations.
But if you are staying at home alone, then take these necessary steps:
- Install resorting modern safety and security measures like CCTV or hiring security guards from high-end agencies.
- Ensure that domestic help/nurse/ayah employed have gone through police verification.
- A neighbour, friend or relative must be available on the SOS list.
- Avoid walking alone or along deserted pathways.
- Keep the house relatively free of much extra cash or valuables.
- Ensure helpline numbers are readily available.
- A duplicate set of keys are available with a trusted and reliable person.
- Socialise to ensure access with friends and neighbours.
- Living in a community or else being connected to one will somewhat ensure that one will be missed!!! Or that a cry for help will be answered.
Living alone is a matter of choice for many of the young and for many elderly. It is also a matter of necessity for others but finally, we have to do what is to be done!!