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Houseful at old age homes

 

Image Source:: Indian Express City’s old age homes show increase in demand

 

More than 20% of Bangalore’s Senior Citizens are on the ‘waiting list’ for admission to Old age homes, as they are flooded everyday.

Anjala Farahath

Bangalore, Oct 20, 2016:: Among the ten old age homes as recognised by the Karnataka online portal, most receive 10-20 calls for enrolment into the homes on a daily basis

Jyothi, the secretary of Nightingales Elders Enrichment Centre said, “On a daily average, the centre receives 20-25 calls every day. The calls are regarding dementia care, elderly abuse and accommodation for the senior citizens. We have a limited number of rooms which restrict us from providing more people with shelter and care.

The rooms come in three distinctions—usually, for destitute, old age homes for the elders, and free shelters for the aged. At the home for aged, which offers free accommodation—Little Sisters of Poor, there are more than hundred on the waiting list. The vacancy depends on death or departure of the inmates.

Ms Rekha Murthy, the State head for HelpAge India said they received approximately 6-7 calls everyday on the helpline number. A surprising observation is that sometimes the children of the aged pretend to seek information for others’ parents, when in actuality it’s for their own parents. Most people who enroll their parents come from extremely well to do families, and wish for a dignified lifestyle. The rooms are usually Rs 13,000 to Rs 30,000

 

Geriatric care accounts for 80% of the growing demand for home health services. India’s aged population, above the age of 60, stands at 95 million people, Help age India statistics reveal. The country has the second largest aged population in the world. The improving life expectancy is changing the structure of the families in India, as nuclear families are on the rise; the elders are left to fall through the net of the family care. A Help Age India survey revealed that 37.14% of Senior citizens have been victims of elderly abuse in Karnataka, which is higher than the national average of 31.3%.

Geriatric care
The total number of old-age homes remains abysmally low in relative to the demand for it. Also, the health of these elderly people who are left at the mercy of the management of old age homes is declining as most management say there is no specialised Geriatric care in the city. The demand for geriatric care is growing as nuclear families are dominating the city.

With busy lifestyles, families have little time left for elders and thus seek for alternate options. “A few years ago when I took my father for geriatric care, there were very few people who would reach out to doctors for special attention meant for the elderly. Now, I see a lot of people in their early old-age visiting doctors for special care and attention,” expressed Nalini, whose father is a patient of Dementia and resides in an old age home.

What is the ideal solution?

Retirement homes and old age homes are not the ideal solution for elderly care. Soumya Nair, Social Gerontologist Consultant, Advantege Senior feels that the senior citizens should be given adequate medical attention rather than just a shelter home.


“There is a huge need for care homes than old-age or retirement homes. The retirement homes don’t accept unhealthy elders, which brings us to the question of where they should go. Most elderly people are suffering from protracted illnesses and there is significant evidence of compression in morbidity amongst the elderly.” Soumya said.

She feels that Gerontology and geriatrics is the answer to the problem. “There are a lot of fancy, resort type old age homes but they offer little care in terms of medical assistance. There is a lack of care sitting and licensing in the old age homes because of which elderly people get inferior care,” she added.

On the flip side, Nayan, the Social Welfare Councillor in Bangalore said that they try and resolve the conflicts instead of sending the elders to old-age homes. If the problems persist, they recommend different trusts or centers to them.

 

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