Elderly women outnumber men in old age homes
There is a rising trend of elderly people moving into old-age homes. This is linked to young people moving out for education or jobs.
According to sociology professor Saheli Guheneogi, this trend can be linked to the changing cultural and social structures in India.
“The previously existing… joint families have been replaced by nuclear families. Most children move away from their families in pursuit of further education or jobs,” Guheneogi informed The Observer.
Busy work schedules, rise in living costs and lack of available places in cities contribute to the rise of elderly people being admitted to old-age homes. “Most of the elderly people admitted to old-age homes are widows as they usually outlive their male partners,” she added.
Bhubaneshwari Ramesh, who handles customer service in Athula Assisted Living, said in most cases, children live far from home, which is why their parents move into old-age homes. The home has 50-60 people inmates, most of them 60 years old or more.
“Some elderly people seek admission themselves; while some are admitted by their children as they are out of the country,” she shared.
S.G. Raghunanda, managing trustee of Sudhama old-age home, said: “Some admit themselves voluntarily as their children are busy working or are out of station. Some have health issues and cannot take care of themselves….”
Mostly they suffer from increased blood pressure, diabetes and mild dementia. If the health issues are serious, their families are informed and they are shifted to hospital. The relatives usually visit on alternate days or on a weekly/ monthly basis. Others call regularly and visit often. The average age group of elderly people admitted is 80 years with most being widows. Presently, Sudhama has 21 elderly inmates, most of them women.
Vishwanath Guruprakash, manager of Sri Krishnashraya Dhama old-age home, has been running the place for 16 years. At present, the home has 50 elderly residents. Most of them were admitted by their relatives. Their ages range between 50 to 96 years. Women outnumber men.
Nurses are available round the clock to check on the residents’ health.
“Relatives visit sometimes in a week, sometimes in 15 days, sometimes in six months, and sometimes once in a year,” Guruprakash shared.
Banguru Veeraswamy, a 71-year-old widow who has lived at the Dhama for five months, said she finds the place homely. Her children live abroad and visit her once a year. “Elderly people cannot be left alone in a house. Thefts, murders, all those things happen,” she added.
Venkatesh Kumar, a retired mechanical engineer, has been at the Dhama for 11 years with his wife. His daughter works in Gurugram and his son lives in Rishikesh. He is visited every year by his family.
They have cultural programmes, and bhajan singing and yoga classes, to keep them busy. He and his wife teach yoga. “All festivals are celebrated here. It is a big home, like a family. We don’t feel bored. Every Saturday, we meet up to share our experiences. Life here is smooth and enjoyable with no restrictions,” he said.