Old age homes have come to stay in Thanjavur. For many of the inmates in them, they are like "heaven" as they lead a happy life without causing any worry to their family members.
K.Gowri Shankar, (77), a retired LIC branch manager is living in Swathi Elders Home at Ganapathy Nagar in Thanjavur. Asked about the concept of old age homes, he said they are necessary in this fast changing world. "Old people have one foot on the grave. Bu their children are young and want to live. We have to respect their feelings and give them freedom," said Gowri Shankar.
He is of the opinion that Government should run old age homes. "These private homes are good for middle aged people and pernsioners. What about poor people? Government has to step in and run old age homes" he said. His two children are at Mumbai and Chennai.
There are bachelors too in the Swathi Elders Home. A.Swaminathan (80), a former officer of the Handicrafts department of Union ministry is a bachelor who is living in the home. "I was in another home at Pillaiyarpatti near Thanjavur. Now I have shifted to this home" he said. D.J.Manuel is another bachelor. He is 82. He is a retired railway engineer. He finds the home good.
Old age homes are shelters to couples who don't have children. V.Ramamoorthy, retired Head Master is staying with his wife Shantha at Swathi Elders home. Ananthavalli (87) of Thanjavur says that she has come to the home for "peace of mind". "Excellent" she said when asked about how she is looked after at the home. "We are gifted to be here in this home" she said. S.Jayam (67) of Mannargudi said that she wanted both her children and herself to be happy and that was why she preferred the old age home. U.Thirupurasundari, (57) of Thanjavur has her son in United States of America. She spends six months in America and another six months in the home. "I am very happy to live with these people when I am in India" she said. All the inmates praised Sundari Subramanyam, secretary of the home, who they said "is taking care of us well". The secretary said "We give the dignity and respect they expect here. We treat them well. But then it is a complex task to deal with old people who were once well employed. But when we understand them, it is not a problem. I have experience in taking care of children in orphanages. This is the first time I am in charge of an elders home. I learn a lot and have satisfaction of serving them.”
Swathi Elders Home is the brain child of A.M.Swaminathan, former IAS Officer. He started the home by contributing Rs.10 lakhs and collecting donations from philanthropists. The home was built at a cost of Rs. 75 lakhs and has 27 inmates at present.