Left to die in an old age home

Published: February 1, 2012
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In her article for The Express Tribune, reporter Rabia Ali wrote:

How an elderly Mehmooda Begum was left at an old home is heart breaking. Tired of eating porridge which was served to her every day, she decided to cook food for herself one day. The daal she made got her a black eye and a forceful admission to the old people’s center by her son.

As Mehmooda recalls her story, miles away from her family at the largest old home of the city, her lips quiver and her kohl-lined eyes fill up with tears. Her youngest son, and his wife, called her senile and would beat her up frequently on trivial matters.

“I made wallets and sold them to raise my seven children after my husband’s death. But once they were married, they all turned their backs on me,” said the 70-year-old woman, sitting on a marble slab in the ward for elderly women.

Parents and children have the purest relationship. It is the duty of children to look after their parents  when they are old and cannot care for themselves. Unfortunately, recent trends show that people would rather leave their parents in old age homes, an act which has devastating effects on the emotions of the abandoned parents.

This documentary reflects the feelings of people living in old age homes, most of whom are tricked into going there. Some children feel that their elderly parents are a financial burden; some abandon them when they are ill; but most are just too busy to care for them.

Is it fair to abandon aging parents because we are too caught up in our lives to spare some time for them? How can we forget that they cared for us when we were dependent infants?

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The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Ahmed

    The youngest son and his wife would beat their elderly mother? .. omgRecommend

  • Sana

    its heartbreaking to see what have we turned ourselves into … worst than animals i guess …

    the only message to the people who abandon their ageing parents is “pay back is a b****” … u never know when the tables turn ….Recommend

  • Shaesta

    Sad n bad story.Recommend

  • Modazul

    If they don’t treat their parents properly, their kids are not going to treat them properly. Parents, specially mothers, take care of their children for decades and make them capable of facing the world. If the sons and daughters are going to make their parents suffer, Allah will make them suffer. A man who isn’t thankful to his parents, I wonder how will he be thankful to his wifeRecommend

  • gv

    children usually turn out the way their parents bring them up. Recommend

  • rokhanghalib

    you have raised a great question. this is an emerging problem these days. the mother who gave us birth and parents who brought us up and they have always tried their level best to keep us happy and sometimes they remained hungry in order to feed us. how can we do this to our parents. it fills your eyes with tears when you see such things happening. even if our parents are cruel and not good with us, we shouldn’t take revenge. you can only change someone by love not by hatred. we should always love our parents…Recommend

  • Parvez

    In the write up you say ‘ it is the duty of children to look after their parents when they are old and cannot care for themselves ‘ … this seems like a very dogmatic statement especially the use of the word duty. One could argue that is actually the duty of the state to look after its citizens both young and old.Recommend

  • Desi German

    @Parvez:
    I think the duty of the state should be mainly financial help, and children should care for their parents. Only in case were there are no close relative the should state be responsible.

    You know as a former nurse, who worked among others in nursing homes for elderly, I can tell you it is the saddest thing ever. The old people are doing nothing in those homes except waitng to die. There is nobody to love them, spend time with them, no grandchildren to hug them. They feel so useless and say they just want to die, how many time have i seen them crying or asking me ‘sister why dont I die’. It is very sad and I think morally wrong, but what do you except in godless societies where only materilism and power to consume counts.

    However, a valid reason for bringing elderly in nursing home is when they are physically fit but suffer from dementia etc, in such cases it is very difficult to monitor them 24/7 and keep them safe. Not even a devoted daughter can do that, I think in such cases it is ok, or else they pose a danger to themselves and others, like turning on the gas but forgetting to switch off.Recommend

  • http://symbios.pk samreen chawla (Unlabeled)

    (Jb tak maa hayaat hey,baho ko keys denay ka sawal hi nahi banta ..bohat greedy nature ka banda hey is ka beta..)Actually we have forgotten our Islamic teachings, Our parents are also responsible to a great extent for the upbringing of their children.Many of you wont agree with me but this is the fact that if we will not remove TV cables and music and vulgarity from our homes the situation will become worse and worse.

    I have seen parents becoming happy when their children dances ,copies a sentence of a drama and when do other bad stuff.Believe me these things count to their growth and education.

    We unconsciously follow the media and it is rooted in us now.The mind sets are changing,the parents don’t know what is the third or fifth Kalima but are worried to get their child admitted in the best O levels school …i am not saying that i am against this but education doesn’t mean an expensive school but the education starts initially from the home environment and from the mothers arms..Because the parents are the role model in front of child the child will do the same as he will see around his surroundings and his learnings to bad things would be smarter if he would not be forbidden strictly the first time.Recommend