Ageing is inevitable. All the species on earth do, but for human beings, it may feel different because we think, we plan and we foresee. If there is a way biological ageing could be avoided until we die at the age of 80 or 100, most of us would opt for it. Life is easy to deal with when we have the energy and physical strength.
With the increasing struggle for leading a busy life that we are blessed with, most of us lack the time to spend with elders. There are people who are settled abroad, who live in different cities than their parents or elders. I see my own parents ageing and I am very much aware of the fear I have for their future.
Sometimes, elders deny to live along with us in the havoc that we live in. For them, our world is a constantly changing, modern society – something they won’t fit into.
As everyday passes by, we are only growing more older. There are no more joint families, so even when elders come to live with us, they feel lonely. God forbid, there is no guarantee that we won’t find ourselves all alone one day.
After spending sometime with elders living in old age homes, one thing is very clear to me – A change is required in the thought process, not only of younger generation but the old too.
Initially the concept of old-age homes started with the thought of supporting poor and for people who don’t have their own family. This is one of the biggest reasons why elders find it difficult to move to an old-age home. They are looked down upon and no one feels good to say that they live in an OLD-AGE home. This thought needs a shift in the paradigm.
I met an uncle at an old age home. His son lives in Dubai along with his wife. He said, ” I am enjoying my life here. Both my son and daughter-in-law are very caring and they denied my proposal of me opting for an old-age home. It took me a long time to convince them, but now they also agree that I am more happier here than I would have been at home. I have friends to share my thoughts with, I play, I go for walks. My son regularly calls me, I see them on video chat, and that’s more than enough for me. I go home when they visit India and spend happy moments with them.”
Imagine, if elders need special attention, like medication on time, having a bathroom equipped with special needs or may be a condition like dementia or arthritis where they need personal care, how much time and attention can we give them? Can we leave our jobs to be at home caring for them all round the clock? Is this even practical ?
I am not supporting old-age homes, but they can definitely aid provided they have proper infrastructure. I agree that nobody can replace family, but sometimes we may be helpless.
How about an old-age home that has:
- A home feel, where there are care-takers round the clock.
- A doctor on board all the time for critical care and first-aid
- An ambulance, for emergencies
- Wheel chair accessible premises
- Food, tailor made for their health condition.
- Green spaces with trees where there are pathways for nature walks.
- An entertainment room – a TV, few news papers, magazines, books.
- A games room with board games.
- Activities planned for engaging them to put their talents to best use – like a story class for kids.
I shared this idea with my friends, my fellow travelers, bloggers. I have got a very positive response from many of them. Chiradeep is one of them, we exchanged our thoughts about starting a home for elders. Many of us see the need of such homes where elders can experience the bliss of their sunset years.
It is not impossible… When we have a probable solution to keep our elders happy, why not try it? It would need a lot of money, planning, support from like-minded people, care-givers who can offer their services.
I am IN to take the first step, are you ??