I came across this appalling phenomenon for the first time yesterday. I was discussing the care of the elderly with a friend who told me that ‘granny dumping’ is becoming increasingly common in India. My friend is Indian. On returning home I searched for this on the internet and am even more shocked to find that this is a world-wide phenomenon that has been happening for years. Elderly people are abandoned by their relatives who then make themselves uncontactable; they are left outside a hospital, bus station, or in any public place unknown to them. In India they are taken to festivals at a distance from their villages and left there.
It is because of situations like this, because my own mother has dementia, because I am ageing myself (aren’t we all!) and because the number of people over 65 in the population is increasing dramatically (see Older America for US figures), that I have signed up for Sarah Kagan and Anne Shoemaker’s Growing Old Around the Globe MOOC.
Image from the course Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/oldglobecoursera
In their introduction to the MOOC Sarah and Anne write
The world is ageing – people are older and societies are facing hard realities. What are we to make our lives in this time of global ageing?
Growing old is discussed today in ominous terms – concerns about disease, dysfunction, and destitution are daily discussed by media and policy makers. What are individuals, families, communities and societies to make of an ageing world? We analyze contemporary topics in psychological and social ageing from a global perspective. Each week, we pose a question to be explored and discussed online. Participants are encouraged to contribute their experiences and perspectives as we create a global community to discuss age, ageing, and the science of gerontology in action.
Thank you to Sarah and Anne for inviting me to be a Teaching Assistant on this course. I am very much looking forward to it.
The Twitter stream for this course is @OldGlobeMOOC where Sarah is already posting some resources and I have posted the link to the Facebook site above.