On Helping Our Elderly Cope with Winter(s)

On Helping Our Elderly Cope with Winter(s)
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Winters in Kashmir are harsh like other places in the world where temperatures dip below zero and where snow falls. But, perhaps , the key difference is that in these parts of the world, there is an extant infrastructure in place that helps cope up with the harsh wintry cold. Be it public transport, shops and commercial establishments, shopping centres, hospitals and other social and public spaces(except, of course , streets), all are heated. There is also abundant warm winter clothing and other amenities required for winter available. But, alas, in Kashmir, no such broad and public facilities exist. While the youth cohort can cope up and deal with the harsh winter cold in Kashmir, those who suffer most(and, at times, miserably), are the elderly. It amounts to stating the obvious that cold can and is debilitating for the elderly whose natural resistance has dimmed over time with the onset of age. Moreover, generally speaking, and often times, age is correlated with illness(es) and the elderly are usually unwell. If for example, there is an underlying illness or a health condition in an elderly person, it gets aggravated during winter. Against the backdrop of lack of facilities, as prosaic as heating arrangements, all this can be fatal. The problem is more poignant and acute for the vulnerable and underprivileged segments of society who cannot afford amenities and other facilities that can be bought from the market. The question then is: can anything or something be done to ameliorate and improve the condition of our elderly? The answer is a qualified yes. But, for this to happen, that is, help our elderly we, as a society, need to pool our resources. The first resource in this regard is the will and the desire to do something significant to help our elderly cope up with the harsh Kashmiri winters. The second measure that will flow from this is combining financial resources and then developing one stop shop facility where all the amenities of life, especially ones that are essential for winter , can be disbursed at throwaway prices. For instance, a gas heater, or a blower, winter clothes and medicines can be sold an one third of their prices(or even less), or , in the case of exigent need, for free(for those who cannot afford to pay). The bare minimum payment for these amenities for those who can afford would help with the running and operating expenses of the potential establishment. No amount of reasoning can actually underscore the need for helping our elderly cope up and deal with winter here. It is an imperative. Let us then rise to the occasion and do our bit!