There is a perception in society that the elderly are a burden because some of the elderly might not have planned and prepared for their post-retirement years and old age. Interpretation Some of the elderly may also be unhealthy, incapacitated and have a poor quality of life which means that society will now have to bear the burden of supporting them. StakeholdersHowever, such a stereotype that the elderly will always be a burden to society can be easily debunked. If the individuals concerned remain healthy, are active members of society and have prepared for retirement, the elderly will not always be a burden to society because there are ways that the elderly can contribute or share their expertise with the younger generation. Thesis statement -Line of argument: (Stand + Rationale) Hence, I disagree with the statement that the elderly will always be a burden to society because such a simplistic notion of the elderly is unfair to the elderly individuals who are assets to society. The elderly will not always be a burden to society if they are healthy, have planned well and are well-prepared for their post-retirement years and old age.
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The elderly might be perceived as a financial burden to society because most of them have hit retirement age and are gainfully unemployed. ExplanationAs a result, the majority of the elderly are financially dependent on their family members. ExampleIn Singapore, there is the Maintenance of Parents Act where elderly parents who are Singapore citizens or Permanent Residents and above the age of 60 can claim maintenance from their children. In 2012 alone, there were 303 elderly parents who filed a claim against their children. Link Hence, the elderly will be perceived as a financial burden to society because of their inability to support themselves financially as majority of the elderly are no longer gainfully employed.
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tThe elderly are perceived to be an emotional burden to society because to some caregivers, it is psychologically draining to take care of the elderly. ExplanationThe majority of the elderly have a higher tendency to be sad or in low spirits. ExampleIn a survey conducted by professors at the NUS School of Medicine, one in five elderly persons in Singapore aged 75 and above exhibits signs of depression. LinkAs a result, caregivers of the elderly might feel that their wages do not justify the emotional investment required of them to care for the elderly. There might be resentment on the part of the caregivers and cause them to conclude that the elderly are an emotional burden to society.
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The elderly are perceived to be a physical and financial burden to society because the infrastructure of a country might have to be modified to cater for an increasing group of the elderly who are wheelchair-bound. ExampleThe Singapore government has set aside S$40 million to co-fund voluntary upgrading on barrier-free accessibility. Explanation Such upgrading of facilities are costly but elderly-friendly. LinkOperators might perceive the elderly to be a financial burden because such upgrading of facilities in shopping malls may deter able-bodied shoppers who prefer to avoid the congested smaller malls under construction in the short run.
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However, it is too simplistic a notion to say that the elderly will always be a burden to society because the elderly can contribute financially to society. ExampleIn the United Kingdom, the total net contribution of older people in 2010 is estimated to be worth nearly 40 billion pound. ExplanationThe elderly take on cleaning jobs which contribute to the economy. Link Hence, it is unfair to say that the elderly will always be a burden to society because the elderly can contribute financially to society.
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It is also unfair to say that the elderly will always be a physical and emotional burden to society. ExampleMany studies on older peoples abilities, frailties and needs have been done. These studies show that there is only a slight drop in ability between the ages of 60-69. ExplanationAnecdotally, many people remain in good physical and mental health. LinkIn addition, the elderly will not always be a burden to society because there are social contributions that they make to society. Many elderly citizens take care of their grandchildren and impart sound values in the process.
In conclusion, I can understand why family members, the government and caregivers perceive the elderly as a burden to society. However, it is unfair to conclude that the elderly will always be a burden to society because they can contribute financially and socially to society. Hence, I disagree with the statement that the elderly will always be a burden to society because they can be an asset to society.