Today Nation is discussing about 86 years Narayan Lavate and his 76 years wife Iravati Lavate, Elderly Mumbai couple who seek Presidential nod for ‘active euthanasia’.
After seeing this report in Newspaper, we were shocked, surprise and felt sad about decision of the elder couple to die.
We at Silver Innings are working with Senior Citizens since 2008, but this was one of its kind case for us, never had this kind of expression of feeling.
Senior citizens in developing country like India face many challenges, due to migration new trend of nuclear family, collapsing joint family, poverty, no or nil government support, very few civil society or community program, lack of regular income and old age health issues, only add stress to elders.
We decided to help this elder couple and meet them to first understand their plight, needs and why they took this decision. We thought we could counsel them for few times and if required with other people help we could even look after them.
It took us week time to meet them, as they were ‘busy’ meeting print and electronic media telling their story to the nation. This was their good chance to express their willingness for dying.
It was good to tell the nation about your problem and extreme step you are going to take, but is it ok to get all media attention to legitimate your right to die ?
On 20th Jan 2018, our Social Worker Ms. Mona Mishra and Consulting Clinical Psychologist Ms. Raheen Jummani Jaiswal, finally were able to meet Lavate couple, after visit, we felt they have taken this decision after years of thought process and they reject any help from anyone, they were clear they don't want to be burden to anyone, it's their life and they have right to decide what they want and how to live.
We spend nearly one and half hour with this couple, discussing various aspects of their life and in what way we could help them.
But sorry, they were not ready to take help.
As an organization we feel they are pointing out lack of support system for Elders in India - social, psychological, financial, health, community living etc
Euthanasia is not solution for normal people or people who face social challenges, it’s debatable, but a passive can be allowed for Terminal ill people of any age, if law of land permits.
Iam scared they might end up with suicide, government need to act soon, and take step, An empathy government officials visit might make some inroads. Police also should see that they don't end their life.
We all need to work together to SAVE their precious life.
We also need to take urgent steps for 100 million plus Elders in India, there should not be any situation where people take this kind of drastic decision.
Raheen Jummani Jaiswal , Clinical Psychologist at Silver Innings and Founder at Open Your Arms Foundation says ‘We went with an intention to throw a different light on their decision of euthanasia.'
‘After understanding their reasons and case history, we tried several ways to help them and change their perspective. Nothing turned out to be fruitful as they are very strong and clear about their decision.'
She adds ‘Mr. Lavate stressed two important points - What is the purpose of our life now? and
After few years if we are bed ridden who will take care of us?
The interaction with this couple and the entire conversation made me understand few things:
• We lack health care facilities and support system for the elderly especially for those who are childless
• The elderly feel isolated after a certain age as the society moves with its own pace without giving a thought on the lifes of the elders
• Our system lacks inclusion of elderly in their civic plans’
When people who have served their entire life for the benefit of others start feeling worthless... where are we heading????
Think about it!!!