Pashupatinath is not just a-the most famous place of pilgrimage for Hindus around the world, but also a home to several unfortunate elderly people who are either kicked out of their houses by their offspring or feel neglected at home.
The Pashupati Briddhashram, the only old age home run by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare Council, since B.S. 1938, shelters 230 elderly people at its homes in the Pashupatinath area.
Most of the elderly people living here say they are happy enough for the basic fact that they have “no problems, no tensions and an easy life”.
However, the real story of these elderly people is different. They are frail and sick, deprived of care and love. It is marred by acute shortage of everything from basic water supply to care givers. When you reach there, you feel as if you were inside a hell.
With the change in time and attitude of new generation, sociologists argue, more and more elderly people are finding it difficult to stay at their homes and thus land at shelter homes and even in the streets.
It is due to these facts that Himalayan Care Hands supports the facility, with regular food and blanket programs.
The situation here resembles some western countries where parents have to go and live in the old age homes like the Pashupati Briddhashram when they become old and helpless, he adds. General people have a notion that the old age homes are “pathetic places” for neglected parents.
Many still feel sorry for those parents who live in these old age homes as they are the ones who are not cared, and not looked after and have landed there as if they are burden to the society. But those who are there in the Pashupati based old age homes have left their past and bitter memories behind and are enjoying a different life.
Pashupati Briddhashram is the only one old age home run by the government. It is more like a service-oriented organization than a government office
It is located inside the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has cultural and religious significance, but the concerned authority seems unaware of this fact.
Aging is a natural process that influences the individual, family and society in different ways. In old age, people seem to be depressed because of a variety of causes. The elderly often find themselves deprived of the company of family members. This feeling leads to poor mental health. As a result, the person’s memory declines and he or she lacks the ability to cope within society. Thus, the government should impart effective programmes for the elderly. On the other hand, senior citizens must get involved in works according to their interests and education. Furthermore, they need to be appropriately looked after by family members. Principally, the elderly have a wealth of experience that must be shared by the policy makers.
It puts special emphasis on the worth of senior citizen is time honoured. The Hindu culture also has such an ideal view towards the elder people. However, this is not always the case, if we look at the present situation of several of our senior citizens. Several of our elder people are facing many problems such as loneliness, helplessness, and frustration, and burden of carrying out household business on daily routines, apart from the problems invited by the old age.
Unfortunately, these persons who devoted whole of their life for the welfare of the family, community and nation are bound to live the life of hatred and isolation. Current trends of migration in Nepal show that the extensive migration of young people from rural areas to foreign and internal urban centres has coincided with a rise in the problems of elder couples in the country.
Abandoned from their home and family, these septuagenarians and octogenarians live a poor life. Death is at their doorstep and they are simply waiting for it. What is required is a meticulous planning for the future and rebuilding the family values. You can’t simply impose laws in one’s household. So, moral education, as one sociologist claims, is the need of the hour. Our elder citizens are in the dire need of care and dignity (Source: with courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/PashupatiBriddhashram).
Himalayan Care Hands will propose a new project aiming at building an elderly home and raise more awareness for ‘the forgotten people’.