Sunday March 29, 2020

Rich NRI Keralites Seek State-of-the-Art Old Age Homes to Ensure Stress-Free Life for their Aged Parents

Kerala ranks first in terms of longevity, with men expected to live up to 72 and women up to 78 years

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Old age home
An increasing number of Keralite NRIs wish to provide their aged parents with near-luxury living. For the same, several privately owned old-age homes are now coming up in the state. Wikimedia
  • With elderly people making 12.6% of the population, old age homes are now coming up in Kerala
  • Kerala is witnessing an increasing demand of privately owned old age homes with state-of-the-art facilities
  • Modern old-age-homes claim to charge minimal fees and provide all necessary services to residents

Kerala, August 29, 2017: Old age homes for the cash-rich have been around in some Indian cities for quite a while, but the concept has only now arrived in Kerala, a state where those over 60 make up 12.6 per cent of the population. The national average is 8.6 per cent.

Even though the state has around 50 old age homes with bare minimum facilities run by various charitable organisations, the demand for state-of-the-art retirement homes appears to be driven by non-resident Keralites who want to ensure that their aged parents lead a stress-free life, as they wait in the departure lounge for their final journey.

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One such old age home is operating at its full occupancy of 60 in central Kerala’s Karuchal town; two others are fast nearing completion, and one in the state capital that is all set to open has already attracted 19 confirmed bookings.

“We have got all the required licences and our home is now ready. Nineteen bookings have been made; in our first phase, we have space for 40 people. During the upcoming Onam season, we will have about nine people, all past 70, who wish to see what we offer and are booked for a week,” said M. Ayyappan, who recently retired as Chairman and Managing Director of mini ratna HLL Lifecare Ltd and who has set up Asha Care Homes — which he terms a “home away from home”.

“Also, as an introductory offer, we are giving a two-day free stay for prospective clients,” he added.

One reason why this appears to be a successful business model in Kerala is that the Department of Social Justice has estimated that by 2021, senior citizens will constitute around 20 per cent of the total population.

Kerala ranks first in terms of longevity, with men expected to live up to 72 and women up to 78 years. A survey by the United Nations Population Fund and Helpage India has shown that a fifth of the elderly population, especially women in Kerala, live all by themselves.

Hong Kong-based veteran banker and Asha Homes co-founder George Joseph said the cultural stigma attached to sending parents to old age homes still exists, but as more and more people overcome this, the idea will truly take off.

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“We collect a refundable deposit (Rs 5.5 lakhs) from our inmates and it is returned the moment they decide to vacate our home. Besides that, we levy a very affordable monthly charge (Rs 30,000) for our services. We have round-the-clock, professionally-trained caregivers and our facilities include physiotherapy, ayurveda, a geriatric expert and also a full-fledged medical clinic.

“Before anyone is taken in, he or she has to undergo a medical check-up supervised by our medical board. The bookings we have so far received are just by word-of-mouth publicity,” Joseph told IANS.

Two similar retirement homes are coming up at Kochi and Kottayam – cities where a huge number of Keralite NRIs can afford near-luxury living for their parents. (IANS)

 

Next Story

VR Can Now Allow Patients to Follow Physiotherapy at Home

Virtual avatars can help perform physiotherapy at home

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Physiotherapy
Virtual Reality (VR) combined with 3D Motion technology could allow physiotherapy to be translated onto a virtual avatar whom the patient can follow at home with ease. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Virtual Reality (VR) combined with 3D Motion technology could allow physiotherapy to be translated onto a virtual avatar whom the patient can follow at home with ease, say researchers.

Outside of the clinic, patients rarely receive any guidance other than a leaflet of sketches or static photographs to instruct them how to complete their exercises.

This leads to poor adherence, with patients becoming anxious about not getting the exercise right, or simply getting bored by the repetitiveness of the movements.

“There is huge potential for consumer VR technologies to be used for both providing guidance to physiotherapy exercises, but also to make the exercises more interesting,” said Dr Mark Elliott, Principal investigator on the project from University of Warwick.

Physiotherapy
The digitally-enabled technological solution can underpin transformative health innovations to impact the field of physiotherapy, and have a direct benefit to patients’ rehabilitation. (Representational Image). Pixabay

To reach this conclusion, the researchers asked participants to step in time with an avatar viewed through a VR headset.

Unknown to the participants, the researchers subtly slowed down or speeded up one of the avatar’s steps, such that the participants would have to correct their own stepping movement to stay in time.

The effect this correction had on their step timing and synchronisation with the avatar was measured.

“We found that participants struggled to keep in time if only visual information was present,” said lead author Omar Khan from WMG, University of Warwick.

However, “when we added realistic footstep sounds in addition to the visual information, the more realistic multisensory information allowed participants to accurately follow the avatar,” Khan added in a paper published in the Journal PLOS ONE.

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The digitally-enabled technological solution can underpin transformative health innovations to impact the field of physiotherapy, and have a direct benefit to patients’ rehabilitation.

“We now plan to investigate other types of movements working closely in partnership with physiotherapists, to establish the areas of physiotherapy that will benefit most from this technology,” said Professor Theo Arvanitis, co-author and Director of the Institute of Digital Healthcare. (IANS)