A caring home for senior citizens

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There are many old-age homes, but the services offered and its quality has to be assessed beforehand, writes S. SANDEEP KUMAR

Many dream to lead life in a serene atmosphere devoid of sound, water and air pollution. Beginning the day with the chirping of birds, an early morning walk amid lush greenery and spending the evening time in good company can be a boon for a healthy life and can be even more significant for senior citizens and retired persons.

But given the changing lifestyles and nuclear family culture, many senior citizens find it difficult to cope with these changes and adjust accordingly. This is where the concept of senior citizen homes is picking up in Hyderabad.

It is estimated that there are over 200 such facilities have come up in and around the city but the catch lies in as to how many of them are operated professionally.

Apart from emotional reasons, the other basic factors that make people opt for these institutions are security, right company, lack of domestic help and most importantly medical health. These days, many children move to other cities and countries for jobs and forced to stay away from parents. For such employees, admitting their parents in old ages homes can be an advantage, explains Anil Gowra, a trustee member of Smiles, a non-profit organisation, which operates an old age home at Medchal.

Established last year, it offers food, accommodation, medical care, 24 hours nursing assistance and on call doctor service. This apart, events and programmes are conducted on auspicious days apart from regular yoga, meditation, music and bhajan concerts, counselling sessions etc.

Smiles has vast space with a fish pond, amphitheatre, green lounge and round-the-clock security. The other prime factor that can make a big difference is food. Senior citizens need to have a proper a diet and hence nutritious food is served to them in small portions with 2-3 hours time break. While this takes care of the physical health, yoga, meditation, spiritual programmes make them feel mentally happy, claims Mr. Gowra.

In addition to this, they are made to participate in different activities like feeding the fish, maintain the library, watering plants etc. All these services are offered at a monthly payment of Rs.9,000 and a refundable caution deposit of Rs.1.50 lakh collected to meet any medical emergencies, he adds.

There are many old age homes, but the services offered and the quality of it has to be assessed beforehand. Some of them operate in a two-bed room flats or small independent houses and though they offer medical care, availability of professional doctors can be a major issue.

Apart from good service, a good facility also ensures infrastructure suited for the members. Grab rods in balconies, walkways, corridors, anti-skid floors have to be laid in bathrooms, dining area and halls. Cots need to be equipped with nurse alarm systems and other such facilities.

Given the facilities offered in professionally run old age homes, many senior citizens are willing to join in, says K.R. Gangadharan, founder and director of Heritage Elder Care Services, which launched Kshetra old age home at Moinabad this week.

Kshetra promises a caring environment for seniors at a monthly payment, ranging from Rs.24,000 per single person to Rs.32,000 for two persons with a mandatory caution deposit of Rs.1.5 lakh. Mr. Gangadharan says the demand for professional old age homes would increase further in the future as the trend of nuclear families is fast catching up among many.



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