Today, on the occasion of International Day of Older Persons, HH Param Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji welcomed some retired devotees to the Ashram with angavastras, garlands and tilaks. Their presence at Parmarth is always a great gift, as their experience represents the invaluable heritage of India, and their knowledge is a beautiful boon to all of our residents and guests! Parmarth offers many programs for our senior citizens, including eye examination, treatment and surgery; inclusive yoga programmes; satsang and darshan experiences; food and accommodation; and, possibly most-importantly, an environment of service, grace and spirituality.
Swamiji said that old people become completely dependent on their family. He shared, “Many times, despite the best facilities and good care, there is loneliness in their lives, causing stress and tension at a time when our seniors need more care, more love and more companionship. But, due to society’s current trends – migration, changing social systems and lifestyles, work and school requirements and other reasons – the generation gap between our youth and the elderly is growing ever-wider.
“Our elders are important, not only for the family but also for the community and society as a whole, and everyone must try together to provide them a safe environment in which to be comfortable. In 2011, 9 percent of India’s population was elderly; it is estimated that, by 2036, that number will double.
“And, according to a recent survey, 30 to 50 percent of the elderly had symptoms that indicate depression, and a large number of older people forced to live alone are women, especially widows. So, depression, poverty, health problems and loneliness are major problems facing the elderly. We must all work together to ensure that they get the care and the comfort that they so richly deserve.