Misery at old homes

UNB . Dhaka | Update:

BAAIGMHe is a successful professional when it comes to his own career. He is also a successful father if one takes into account his children's social standing. But, at the end of his life he is lonely, very lonely. The 'loneliness is killing' Abu Taiyab Ali.

Taiyab Ali, in his late 60s, is a former Public Works Department engineer whose wife left him two years ago at this age. He has a son who is an engineer by profession and four well-educated daughters who were married off to established men.

At the end of his life, Taiyab Ali also lost all his savings to a multilevel marketing company.

A man of dignity, Taiyab Ali does not want to be a burden on his children for some obvious reasons. So, he moved to Bangladesh Association for the Aged and Institute of Geriatric Medicine (BAAIGM), a home where other elderly people, including 24 women, live in.

However, in a universal show of parental love, all of them wished the best for their children on the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr although they were left to toil at the old home at this age.

"I'm very lonely. Loneliness is killing me. Once I had everything. But now..." said Taiyab, who resides in room-510, with tears in his eyes as he could not complete the sentence.

After a little pause, he said, "Baba [this correspondent], please pray for my children. They communicate with me. They want to take me with them. But, I don't want to be a burden on them although I want to be with them."

Asked what he will do during this Eid, the former bureaucrat said he will pass it reading the Holy Quran and newspapers. "The day will go by anyway. With all, I'm preparing myself for the afterworld," he said seeking blessings.

Taiyab, who has been living at the BAAIGM for the last three and half years, said he pays Tk 1,500 as room rent and has to arrange meals on his own.

Asked who provide him the money, he said his children give it.

In his next room resides professor SM Abdul Awal, a former teacher of Jahangirnagar University. He has two sons - the elder son who was a senior Bangladesh Air Force official now works for a foreign airliner while the youngest son is settled in Australia.

He said everything was going on well after he retired in 2005. "But I'm living here for the last two and a half years," he said declining to elaborate.

Talking about the Eid plan, the former university teacher said if his son comes, he will go with him to their residence. "And if not, the day will go by like other days."

He also sought blessings for his sons, saying, "I wish them all the best. They love me very much."

According to the Parents Maintenance Act 2013, if any child does not provide his/her parents maintenance without any logical reason or compels them to live in any parents care or any other place, he/she shall be entitled to the highest punishment of Tk 1 lakh and in default of money he/she will be liable to the highest imprisonment of three months.

Besides, if the wife or husband of any child or any other relatives, hamper or non-cooperate in providing maintenance, they shall also be liable to the same punishment.

Wishing anonymity, an executive member of Gulshan Health Club said the country's social system is becoming fragile gradually. "As a result, the number of elderly persons in old homes is on the rise," he said underscoring the need for the state and the social scientists to think over the matter.

Addressing a programme in 2014, president Abdul Hamid said the total number of the country's elderly people is over 13,000,000 and this number will stand at 4 million by 2050.

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