Aging and dying are inevitable. However, coming to terms with this truth can be difficult, especially in the modern context with an excessive dependence and faith in biomedicine. Advances in biomedicine and life-prolongation strategies along with changes in social-cultural structures pose a different kind of predicament – the percentage of aging population is on the rise and, at the same time, traditional strategies for taking care of the elderly and their problems are being replaced by more impersonal state-driven methods. India, with its large population, poor biomedical facilities for the average person, and widespread poverty, yet fast changing attitudes towards family and the aged, faces a great crisis today.
The collection of essays in this volume addresses different aspects of this issue. The first section is both philosophical and prescriptive. It explores our rich religious and philosophical tradition to probe the very concepts of life and death and then suggests strategies - age old and time-tested - for coping with the inevitability of aging and dying. Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic perspectives on aging, dying, euthanasia, and related concepts are explored and coping strategies suggested.
The second section deals with socio-ethical issues related to aging and dying in the Indian context, in light of the existing state of affairs and possible directions for the future. The third and final section looks at the most pressing problems that confront both Indian society and medicine – end-of-life care.
Chapter 7: Socio-Ethical Issues in the Existing Paradigm of Care for the Older Persons: Emerging Challenges and Possible Responses
Socio-Ethical Issues in the Existing Paradigm of Care for the Older Persons: Emerging Challenges and Possible Responses
‘Care’ is one of the fundamental United Nations’ principles that address older persons. The importance of care for the elderly is highlighted by this recognition by the world community. However, it is not easy to define and understand the dimensions of care. While care broadly encompasses concern, support and the art of nurturing, in the case of older persons, it is placed mainly in the context of family. Care is motivated by reciprocity and kinship obligations. Seen and understood in this context, it has significant implications for women in the family as ...