Even a few years back, signing up with an old-age home to spend the twilight years of one’s life was considered a disgraceful idea. But not so any more. With the breakup of joint families and more and more of the young brigade choosing to live and work away from their parents, old-age homes have become the obvious choice of the country’s geriatric population.
A recent survey by the Elders Helpline (1090), a joint project of the Bangalore City Police and the Nightingales Medical Trust, showed that of the total number of calls that the helpline has received in two years, 1500 have been queries about accommodation and shelter in homes for the aged.
Cashing in on this trend, major metros in the country, including Bangalore, have witnessed a sudden proliferation of old-age homes in recent years. Homes for the elderly today are a far cry from the dark and dismal dwellings of the past. Rechristened as “retirement homes”, these swanky homes are fully furnished with all the amenities that include exclusive clubhouse, library, dining facilities and sporting activity centres.
One such place, the Eventide Home in Whitefield, offers an independent self-contained accommodation, and residents are expected to make arrangements for food and other services, in a way ensuring that they have a sense of dignity and self-reliance.
The fee structure varies from home to home. The Bangalore Friend-In-Need Society charges a fixed deposit and a monthly fee, and the Canara Bank Relief and Welfare Society has an admission fee and deposit. In some cases the home takes care of food and other requirements while others like the Canara Bank Relief and Welfare Society offers its residents free medical checkups as well. It also has a geriatric care centre where nursing facilities are provided round-the-clock.
Indeed, Bangalore is a geriatric-friendly city in the midst of an ever-changing social landscape.