Why is it important for students to take the pledge?
The respect and importance given to elders have diminished over decades. Their status has come down and the money spent on them is considered a waste. If we make students take the pledge at a young age, their attitude and behavior will change.
How serious is the issue of elderly abuse?
There is a HelpAge survey that says 56 per cent of the elders are being abused by their sons, while about 23 per cent of them are ill-treated by their daughters-in-law. In my four-decade service, I haven’t been able to understand the exact reason. We must find out the reasons behind the abuse – is it the financial issues, alcoholism among the children or lack of space?
How is the day being observed this year?
We have an event on June 13 at the SBOA School and Junior College. V Amuthavalli, director, Department of Social welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu will preside over the function. Apart from the pledge, a bilingual booklet ‘Let us Respect elders’ will be released and a short film on elder abuse will be screened. I will also be addressing them on the topic. Last year, around one lakh students took the pledge. We want to do it on a bigger scale this year.
What else can be done?
We should conduct more events frequently to drive home the message among youngsters. I also suggest including the topic of respecting elders from Classes 5 to 10 to ensure they imbibe the need to care as a value. Moreover, elders should also ensure that they get an annual checkup after 50 years, write a will on time, be involved with the family and become financially independent.