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Many times we hear from retired people who are either staying with their children or all by themselves, “Our children are not looking after us or our needs.” The figures show that there can be more than eleven crores of Senior Citizens in India, out of which 90%   don’t get any kind of pension. So they are dependent on their children due to lack of regular income. Some pull on with whatever their savings are but in India, people are so sentimental ,that out of their love towards their children ,property, jewellery & a major part of their savings are just given away to them. Now there is total dependence on sons or daughters. If kids are good, parents are well taken care of, but in most cases we see that when parents are without any money, most of the time they are neglected, insulted, given stale   food & made to do a lot of house work or running around by the daughter-in-law. 

After a certain age, seniors hardly get any job, the interest rate in banks is diminishing day by day, that causes the income on their savings or fixed deposits in banks to drop further. Medical bills increase & the only solution being -depending on children. 

Again the figures speak that 40% of senior citizens have either no children or they don’t want to keep their parents with them. Out of them 50% are widows  who are continuously neglected by  society. Those days ladies never went out to work, she was never a bread winner in the family & as a result she hardly has any savings. She was always dependent on her father in her younger age & later on  her husband. Insecurities in the lives of parents don’t allow them to leave their children even though they are insulted day & night. 

So what to do to secure oneself in  later age, the golden period of life?

Here are some suggestions:

First of all, do your financial planning. In today’s time, people have become health conscious, the average age of a person has increased from 60 to around 80 years. So financial planning is a must. Do proper investments; fixed deposits in the bank, mutual funds, bullion & property- in whatever way you have your income, you invest in  the above things. Have a mediclaim policy or a health insurance which gives you cash back in case of major health issues & if you have to be hospitalized .So you don’t have to depend on your children for your medical treatments, medicines etc. As you age, health problems will keep coming, so a health policy is a must. 

Secondly, like financial planning one needs to do health planning too. Try to be fit, physically & mentally. Go for walks, do light exercises, eat nutritious food, drink enough water, cultivate the hobby of gardening & keep yourself busy by growing different plants in your flat, read papers, have a friends circle with like minded & same age  people, if you know how to operate  a computer & internet, teach  other seniors. This way you & your friends will be busy. Also do puzzles, sudoku in newspapers. In short, keep your mind active & body healthy. 

One MOST important point. Till you are alive, never give away your property, bank deposits, jewellery to your children. Make a will & mention that all your savings etc will be given to your children only after the death of both parents. 

If you have a joint account with your children make a special note that it can be operated only when both signatories have signed. 

Senior Citizens institute Helpage India’s director Mr Prakash Borgaonvkar who is attached to it since last 29 years says, “With changing times, senior citizens too have to change, learn to adjust, try to understand today’s generation. Seniors feel neglected, stagnant & lonely but keep yourself busy, control your emotions, don’t depend on your children, instead try to be financially independent which will help you in your old age. 

To sum up, if you are financially independent you can live your life bindaas, & can give independence to your children too. Learn to live your life with dignity till the end. 

                                                                                     Harsha Mehta. 

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