Elderly groups have historically played a significant role in society, acting as stewards, role models, and carers. They are, however, also incredibly weak, and many find themselves in precarious situations, experience impairments, or face prejudice. The number of old folks is growing with the improvement in medical technology. Both their needs and their services to the world are growing too. Young people have preconceptions about seniors, notably in the form of stereotyped behaviors and ageism, which can eventually lead to the mistreatment and demoralization of the elderly.
The challenges that the elderly face nowadays are more serious. The UN held a World Assembly on Aging in 1985. The goal was to raise awareness of the issue among member countries. Since these concerns have assumed considerable proportions, it is likely that intellectuals in western nations are now aware of the challenges that the elderly confront. These thinkers have made other countries more aware of this issue. Considering that many people are concerned about getting older in the fast-changing Nepali society, this problem is particularly pressing.
The spread of western cultures and lifestyles in Nepal has compelled the society to change and adapt to its multiethnic, multicultural, and composite civilization. Old-fashioned sociocultural practices are no longer a problem in the communities. All facets of social life, such as social values, ways of living, traditions, and usages, are changing. The cornerstone of our civilization, spirituality, has been undermined by modern comforts and materialistic development.
Due to their poor standing in the community and society, the elderly may endure material as well as psychological desolation on a personal level. The sadness might be made worse by other influencing factors, including the loss of one’s spouse, close friend, or other lifelong companions. This would result in the person’s bodily decline as well as the loss of the social connections to which they had become used, and the isolation would probably cause morbidity and dissatisfaction. Unable to escape the gloom, they feel empty and lost. One such possibility is the fear of dying soon. These factors might all combine to cause excruciating agony that makes their life miserable. It follows that individuals with such regimented thought patterns have a mental illness, and efforts should be made to solve this societal issue.
The Behavioral Attitudes Towards Aging Scale (BATAS) and the Fraboni Scale of Ageism have long been employed to measure attitudes toward senior citizens. Depending on how frequently they interacted with elders and where they lived, medical students’ opinions on ageism and older people were varied. The measures’ psychometric properties are also investigated in relation to their use in a developing country like Nepal. The study suggests the need for measures that are appropriate in the Nepali context and sensitive to cultural variations.
There are, however, a few suggestions that may be taken into account to enhance the lives of seniors. The pension schemes must take the poor into account. The social workers ought to perform fieldwork and can participate in running the program. Considering that only five or six percent of the population is over 60, many of them are distributed over the wide countryside, where families and the local community continue to sustain the long-standing tradition of looking after the elderly. This has aided in the concealment of reality. Last but not least, NGOs should get all the support they can get if they wish to help Nepal overcome the challenges brought on by its aging population.
To sum up, in a low-income economy like ours, the majority of people in rural areas have limited chance to save or invest in old-age support, unlike in industrialized countries and even in our country’s cities. To achieve this, it is now even more important to work on minimizing parents’ reliance on their sons for retirement security.
The author is a student and aspiring entrepreneur