Research Analyst, with a mandate to cover real estate, but often strays into imaginary castles in the air. Women and finance is another of my interests, being a woman and all. I believe in rebirth and evolution into a higher life form (ala journalist).

Meera Siva

Age old issue

| Updated on July 16, 2013 Published on July 15, 2013

Should we not find the root cause of why seniors are in retirement homes?

Growing old is inevitable, but treating the aged with compassion and dignity has been considered optional. While we revere our elders in public and keep them in lofty posts, millions of old people quietly seek the refuge of old age homes.

Senior’s nest

The choices that go by the name of retirement communities and assisted living are on an uptrend in the last few years. The typical profile of the target group is a 65 to 75 year old senior couple, well-to-do, with children abroad or in a different city. The couple want to live in a quiet surrounding where they can go for walks and mingle with other seniors. Medical facility and security concerns allayed, they can be at peace.

While this is a sizeable market and there is a real need for such community, one still needs to pause to wonder if this set-up is as idyllic as one wants to believe.

Sunset years in the west

The oft quoted model is that of the US, where senior living solutions are main stream. While living there, I noticed that people who were aged and needing support were generally absent in the society. They were safely tucked away in ‘homes’ and the family visit them on important occasions. Otherwise, the seniors live in an exile and are in the company of others their age. It is true that they adjust and look forward to the bingo game.

So then, why not follow the same here? For one, there are strict regulations on the US and inspections are done regularly to ensure the quality of facility and staff. And the legal system is so strong that service providers would not dare to be lax. The staff is well trained, understands customer service and care-givers are truly professional.

No country for old persons

We can evaluate where our system stands on these metrics and make a judgement. Opening the gates to unregulated players will not just be misplaced trust but gross neglect on our part.

For another, we may want to ask ourselves if this is the path we want to take? Do we want to be denying our children their grandparents, the old of normal everyday family life with all the ups and downs? Should we not look at the root cause of why seniors are opting to check-out from the society before cashing-in on this ‘trend’?

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Published on July 15, 2013
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