The plant world is marked by many features that Botanists take fascination to enlighten us in their characteristic way of naming the plants using Latin terms with their unchallenged exclusive scientific reasoning. However, the feature of one batch of foliage, well after its selfless life witnessing appearance of beautiful flowers and juicy fruits on the body of plants, falling off to the ground, yielding place to a fresh batch, has its unmistakable analogy to life of human beings in particular and the rest of life forms in general, including animals, birds, aquatic fauna, not to forget insects, the factor of age causing disappearance, read death, of one batch yielding place to the next in an unending sequence, barring the cases of extinct species. For the purpose of this column, the issue of one generation of human beings departing even as the next generation takes over raises many points, the one poignant point that cannot be missed is the all-too-familiar contemporary society that doesn’t seem to take kindly to the veterans, especially those on the wrong side of eighty, more so if they are infirm both physically and economically. One may cite the Kannada saying ‘Attegondukaala, Sosegondukaala,’ in this context.
The seniors among the senior citizens have cause to feel suffocated in urban space for reasons not far to seek. Their rustic counterparts seem to be in no better state of comfort for different reasons, even as both kinds are to be often heard cursing themselves for fate taking them away and provide the much-desired redemption from misery and humiliation. Fortunate are those who have taken care of their needs in advanced age, but they represent a minuscule fraction in their population.
On virtually every occasion that death of aged persons of standing in society is reported in dailies, the doctors seem to take a simplistic view saying the end came due to age-related ailments, which are identified by tongue-twisting terms, the bastion of physicians. Medical science, as it is progressing in its track of uncovering the causes of plethora of afflictions, along with advances in technology marked by devices used in diagnosis and treatment, can facilitate the veterans in vulnerable state in minimising the risks to their life as they move around even within the four walls of their dwellings. A study report based on which has been published recently says that more and more elderly Americans are dying after a fall during their late night tumbles on their way to the bathroom.
While the doctors exercise their discretion in prescribing medicines to alleviate the suffering of the elderly, the factor of side-effects of the medicines continues to be a challenge for pharmacologists. The not-so-old members of the family are the best bet for the safety of the elderly in the last-leg of their life’s journey. But, in the current dispensation, that appears to be asking for the moon as it were.