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 8: Gender Issues in Care Giving
Gender Issues in Care Giving
The phenomenal growth of older populations around the world in the second-half of the past century is indicative of major human achievements in that period. At the same time, this rapidly increasing number of older persons represents a social phenomenon without a historical precedent. Population aging is a phenomenon that is here to stay, one that will be more acutely felt with the passage of time. Its repercussions are wide-ranging and manifold. From among the several consequences, the trend of providing care to a large number of older persons causes serious concern.
Family: The Provider of Care
Historically, when an older person was in need of care, most often it was provided by the family. Past levels of ...