Young Generation For Elderly Health Promotion
Author: K.D. Bhatia (Chapter Ambassador WhenAt60 Solutions)
Let me tell you a story from my life today: Once my grandson came to me and said: “Grandpa, you have to guess a word. I will give you clues. Can you do that? “Said my grandson Akshit. He is only 7+ years and has been promoted to IIIrd Standard recently. I am 75+ years. I said “Shoot, I will try.” So here goes my grandson -“It is a seven letter word, -The first two letters indicate, it is a boy, -The first three letters indicate it is a girl, -The first four letters indicate it is a boy, -The complete word of seven letters indicate it is a girl… Can you guess, Grandpa?” I was stunned by the clarity and chain of thoughts he was showing at this age!
Akshit was asking me this question because we had been playing word building games, crossword puzzles, fillers and guess words for the last 2-3 years ever since he started getting such presents on his birthdays. To him at least, I was a wizard with the words. I could not guess the word, so I said “I give up”. He laughed with a twinkle of pride in his eyes. The word, is HEROINE.”
If the elders (grandparents) play such games with the young generation (grandchildren), can they ever have any mental problem, memory loss or even the much dreaded DEMENTIA? They will always be on their toes and wits end and will be exercising their mental faculties. It is not only about English. One can interact with the young on the subject of their proficiency, be it maths, science, geography, history, social studies, biology etc. The clue is in the interaction with the young on mental level which will create a unique bonding between the different polar generations when their link middle generation are busy building their careers and lives.
Wait!! I have another story for you: Last year, my grandson got a pair of boxing gloves and a Punching bag for his birthday. After school and on his holidays, he would practice with his small hands and would knock here, there and everywhere and kept teasing me. “Come on, come on, hit me grandpa, hit me. Nahin Laga, nahin laga. Come on, come on, hit”. When I would actually hit him, he would sulk and I would have to peep him up shouting “Come on Akshit, be a man: face it, don’t cry.” And at times when Akshit would hit me on the chest, I too would writhe in pain and sulk (due to my open heart surgery). Then Akshit would shout, “come on grandpa, be a man; face it”. He would give it back to me straight. I would see my mirror image in him asking me to live it up and forget the pains and problems of life. The young child becomes bigger than the grandfather, the father of the grandfather and the grandfather is blessed with long, happy and contented life.
All the policy statements and papers of the government have been stressing the need of teaching skills etc. to the elderly people to boost their self- confidence and enable them to become useful assets to the society. Sadly, nothing much or nothing at all has been done in this direction.
My granddaughter, Shukta who is 12 years old, has been instrumental in my mental empowerment in as much as she has been helping me with computer skills. I belong to pre independence era when the picture of the country was entirely different, socially, educationally, economically, financially etc. Computers made their entry in 1990s and became in vogue in the current century when I had crossed the threshold of the age of 60. She has been helping me with the computer and now I can safely say that I am computer literate. Now, I search the world whenever I feel like, I write articles, I google, I check spell and the whole world is now a click away.
The government policy on multigenerational bonding or promoting bonding of generations says that it would promote multigenerational support by incorporating relevant educational material in school curriculum and promoting value education. School Value Educational modules and text books promoting family values of caring for parents would be promoted by NCERT and State Educational Bodies. These pittance of measures have yet to see the light of the day.
In conclusion, we can say that, though, the young generation has no or very little role to play in prevention, treatment, reformative or rehabilitative problems of the elder generation, they can definitely play a role in softening, attitudinal, mental, confidence boost by their closeness, love and affectionate bonding, which can easily soften the impact of elderly age related problems. As they say “ZOR KA JHATKA……DHEERE SE…”