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As the country slowly steps towards some form of normalcy amidst the pandemic, this Diwali, non-governmental organization HelpAge India working for disadvantaged elders, celebrates the festival of lights with a message of hope and togetherness through its campaign and film, 'Andhero Se Roshini Tak.
In a marathon celebration, HelpAge marks the festival across 100 old age homes across the country, bringing happiness, hope and joy to senior citizens, many of who were suffering from isolation, loneliness and a sense of abandonment during the pandemic. The campaign aims to bring them back into the fold and give them a ray of hope and support them.
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The campaign highlights the impact of the pandemic on India's elders vis a vis their health, livelihood and the pervading sense of loneliness and feeling of being forgotten by their own, as social distancing, led to social isolation for many of our elders who were left to fend for themselves.
According to a survey done by HelpAge earlier this year, 36 percent elders at home in India 'were just waiting for the phone to ring'. During the first lockdown, 65 percent of elders lost their only source of livelihood, leaving them with no resources for medicines and no one to reach out to.
The core campaign message urges the younger generation and society at large, to bring hope, light and 'Roshini' back into the lives of elders. It encourages bringing elders back into the family fold and pushes for elder inclusion. A time to give back and spread the love, and reach out to those elders who have no one to call their own and support them.
campaign #AndheroSeRoshiniTak Unsplash
Also read: This charity helps homeless
"Diwali is a time synonymous with hope, positivity and togetherness. The pandemic took a heavy toll on the lives of our elderly, particularly on the disadvantaged. Identified as the most vulnerable, many faced challenges at multiple levels, from loss of livelihood to having no money, no support and were left with a deep sense of isolation and constant anxiety. For those living alone, it was even worse. We hope through this campaign #AndheroSeRoshiniTak we can sensitize people to urgently come forward and celebrate this festival in its truest sense, by sharing the light and love with those who need it most. It is our responsibility to bring light into their lives, it's time to give back." said Rohit Prasad, Chief Executive Officer, HelpAge India. (IANS/PR)
Keywords: Oldage home, homeless people, HelpAge India, Covid-19, lockdown, pandemic, Diwali
Rich NRI Keralites Seek State-of-the-Art Old Age Homes to Ensure Stress-Free Life for their Aged Parents
- 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.
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.
“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)