19 November, 2018
It takes time to change things in India, as our values are deeply rooted and so are our mindsets about certain situations and traditions. Our society expects that children should keep their parents with them and take care of them. Yes, there is no doubt about it; this is the ideal situation. However, the parents too want what is best for their children, and when their children get better job opportunities, outside of the state or country, they do not want to hold them back. It is also possible that there may be couples who do not have children or other family members to take care of them.
It is never an easy decision, either for the parents or the children to make. However, this is the truth that many families are living with. So, there is no point in burying one’s head in the sand like an ostrich and ignoring the issue. Seniors left back alone like this do need help, and this is where organizations like Samarth are trying to make a positive difference. Senior living options are another aspect of this societal change that is slowly making rapid, positive strides in India.
They are called by many names, depending on the kind of services being provided – Retirement homes, Senior community living, Assisted Living and so on. Predominantly, they all offer a common set of services, with a little extra here and there. The most important thing associated with this being that seniors will have many others of the similar age group around, making them feel comfortable. There are round the clock medical facilities, security, safety and many other such vital facilities available. The seniors are not alone at any time, even within the homes, there is CCTV, caretakers, etc. also, if needed.
These are not the typical nursing homes, where you may even find parents abandoned by their children. There is a stigma attached to it if you happen to mention that you are staying in one. The expected response may be that you probably did not bring up your kids right, so they take care of you. These homes are, actually, a home away from home, well equipped to provide comfort and a sense of belonging and purpose to the seniors, who may otherwise find themselves all alone at home, and dependent on others for everything.
A few of the facilities available in such homes are parks and other recreational facilities, medical assistance round the clock with even at times a small hospital equipped to handle emergencies, food delivery, emergency buttons in homes, intercoms, CCTV, movie theatres, sports centres, trained staff to interact with the seniors to understand and respond to their needs, freedom from chores, or utility maintenance etc. And more than all this, they get company and can spend time with people of the same age and do not feel alone, or fall into depression. The children too feel a sense of satisfaction that even though they are far away, their parents are living comfortably with all facilities and are well taken care of.
Is it For Me?
In an ideal Indian world, if we can be in a joint family with our kids and grandkids, there is nothing like it. If we are fully fit and healthy and able to live in our own homes, away from our family, that is also good. However, if there are issues in these, and there is a need to opt for an assisted living facility, to stay safe and comfortable, then it should be considered.
There are many such facilities in cities across India, and most of them come with really excellent and safe facilities meant to keep people in comfort and dignity. The Indian scenario is slowly changing, and many seniors prefer to live in such facilities for the sake of the company, safety, as well as a host of other reasons. So, the choice of moving into one should be taken after discussing matters with your family, if found viable only.
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