It is not a happy retired life for senior citizens in Chennai as a survey has found that 100 percent of them have ‘unfulfilled dreams’. This is more than the national average of 98 percent.
According to the survey ‘Ensure Dreams Research’, sponsored by Abbottt, a health care provider, 89 percent of the senior citizens in Chennai have dreams related to their children like seeing them successful, married and settled. Also, 63 percent of senior citizens has their own dreams and aspirations.
Agreeing with this finding in a different way, Felista Jose, manager of Dignity Foundation, Chennai chapter, says, ‘Every person has unfulfilled dreams, it is just that at one point we become old and are senior citizens. No human being is satisfied, we all have various wants and desires till we die.’
Felista says, ‘The basic problem is loneliness, they do not have anybody to sit and listen to them. Even though they are financially well off, they need someone with them so that they can share, laugh and play together.’
She adds,’They have the need to be appreciated. They seek appreciation in what they do and even for what they have done over the years. If someone tells them that they have done a wonderful job, that makes their day. Hence, what most of the elderly lack is quality time spent with them.’
The Dreams survey found that senior citizens in Chennai desire to have grandchildren but 24 percent of them do not want to raise them. However, 15 percent of them say it is also a dream to raise their grandchildren.
Commenting on this finding, Felista says, ‘This is a very minimal number. I have seen many grandparents give first priority to their grandchildren and are happy to raise them.’
‘Even while attending our organisation meetings, most grandparents leave because they want to take care of the little ones. Otherwise, they ask if they could bring their grandchildren along,’ she says.
The survey also has interesting findings like parents living with their children in Chennai tend to spend lesser time with each other. Only 36 percent spend more than three hours a day with their children significantly lesser than the 54 percent national average.
Felista says that they find that even if there is a full-time caregiver for a senior citizen, they appreciate it when their children spend time talking to them.
Although, if the children are living separately, Chennai parents tend to speak a lot more frequently with them – 60 percent speak to each other daily compared to a national average of 50 percent.
Children were also sensitive towards the constraints that their parents face in achieving their dreams. Lack of strength emerges as the biggest barrier, according to the survey. In Chennai, 47 per cent children believe the lack of strength is the biggest deterrent to their parent’s dreams. This is in line with parent responses (44 percent children versus 32 per cent parents cite strength as an obstacle). Monetary issues become the second barrier.
The Dreams survey was conducted among young working professionals, men and women (aged 25 to 40 years old) and their parents (aged over 50) across Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad.
Speaking on Dreams survey, Amal Kelshikar, country head & general manager, Abbott’s nutrition business in India, said, ‘The Ensure Dreams Survey and its findings open up an amazing opportunity in India for children and their parents to come together to continue achieving their dreams together.’