Wednesday October 17, 2018

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
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  • 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.

ALSO READ: Do Parents have different Standards and Expectations from Sons and Daughters?

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.

ALSO READ: Delhi High Court rules that Adult Children abusing their Parents can be evicted from the House

“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)

 

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Gobal Care Crisis Rises Along With Growing Population

The report finds the majority of care globally is done by unpaid caregivers

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An elderly Chinese woman accompanied by her caregiver walks down a tree lined lane in Changchun in northeastern China's Jilin province, Aug. 27, 2010.
An elderly Chinese woman accompanied by her caregiver walks down a tree lined lane in Changchun in northeastern China's Jilin province, Aug. 27, 2010. VOA

The International Labor Organization (ILO) says urgent action is needed to avert a global crisis as the number of people, including children and elderly, needing care rises, The warning is part of a new ILO report on care work and care jobs unveiled Thursday in Geneva.

The ILO cautions that the global care crisis will become a reality in coming years without a doubling of investment. Authors of the report say $5.5 trillion was spent in 2015 on education, health and social work. They say that amount must be increased to $18.4 trillion by 2030 to prevent the care system from falling apart.

The report finds the majority of care globally is done by unpaid caregivers, mostly women and girls, and that it is a major barrier preventing women from getting paid jobs. It says this reality not only hampers their economic opportunities, but stifles development prospects.

Lead author Laura Addati tells VOA 606 million women, compared to 41 million men, are unable to get paid employment because they have to care for a family member.

“This pool of participants who are lost to the labor force could be activated, … [put in] jobs that could benefit society. A part of these jobs could be career [caregiver] jobs, so as we well pointed out, there could be basically an activation process to sort of replace some of those jobs, so making those who were unpaid, paid care workers,” she said.

A deaf-blind woman (R) is led by a caregiver at Santa Angela de la Cruz Center in Salteras, near Seville, Spain, June 6, 2011.
A deaf-blind woman (R) is led by a caregiver at Santa Angela de la Cruz Center in Salteras, near Seville, Spain, June 6, 2011. VOA

Addati says more people nowadays are part of nuclear families, eroding the concept of extended households, which used to play an important role in caring for family members. She says that is increasing the demand for more caregivers in smaller households.

The report finds that more than 380 million people globally are care workers. It says two-thirds are women. In Europe, the Americas and Central Asia, three-quarters of all care workers are women. The report notes long-term care services are practically non-existent in most African, Latin American and Asian countries.

Also read: International Migrants Day & global migrant crisis

The ILO says about 269 million jobs could be created if investment in education, health and social work were doubled by 2030, easing the global care crisis. (VOA)