The assistive devices that Ms. Thakrar and Ms. Srinivas provide go beyond the standard walkers and canes available in the market
“One worries about what happens if you slip or feel giddy [while at home],” says C.T. Kurien, a retired professor of economics. Mr. Kurien, who is over 80, and lives with his wife, says that he has installed handrails and anti-skid mats in his shower. “It gives a sense of confidence, particularly when you live alone,” he says.
The household products at Mr. Kurien’s house were bought from Devised Care India, an agency that deals in “assistive devices for the elderly and the disabled”. Started in 2011 by friends and former classmates Shobhana R. Thakrar and Nandini Srinivas, who both have a background in social work, the agency was set up with the intention of providing a service for the elderly that was different from the usual setting up of a home for the aged. “Senior citizens want to stay independent as far as possible,” says Ms. Thakrar, and the two aim to help the elderly do just that.
Beyond the usual
The assistive devices that Ms. Thakrar and Ms. Srinivas provide go beyond the standard walkers and canes available in the market to include handy items such as phone volume amplifiers and grips for pens; products that assist with grooming such as hair brushes with long handles and items to enable the fastening of buttons, and products that enable mobility, such as grab bars in bathrooms and chair lifts.
Devised Care India is now a year old, and Ms. Thakrar and Ms. Srinivas have plans to expand, beginning with a store. Their fast-moving items are magnifying page readers — lightweight A4-sized sheets that make reading small print easy, raised toilet seats, and foldable toilet seats at chair height for those unable to use Indian-style toilets.
The devices are meant to allow the elderly to go about their daily activities without having to depend on a carer.
“Not everyone can afford a nursing aide,” says Ms. Srinivas, who also acknowledges that for now, not everyone can afford their products.
At the moment, she stores the products in her house at Sadashivnagar — renting a space for a shop would mean paying overheads, which would drive up the price of their products.
Meanwhile, who says the elderly can’t have fun? The products Ms. Thakrar and Ms. Srinivas sell include a stand for playing cards — bound to be of use to bridge and rummy enthusiasts — and an appealing TV remote with only six buttons for basic functions.
Most of the products cost between Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 2,000. Ms. Thakrar and Ms. Srinivas can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Ph: 9886393874, 9972817654.