National

Lending a gentle touch to elder care

Pratim Ranjan Bose Kolkata | Updated on June 27, 2014




Till about a year ago, life was difficult for 84-year old Joyeeta Banerjee (name changed) and her elder sister Mita (91).

Their problem was not about money. Joyeeta’s son is a successful doctor in the US and takes adequate care of her financial needs.

The two elderly women, sharing a spacious apartment in an upmarket area in North Kolkata, were missing the human touch – someone to share the titbits in life.

The gap was filled by Tribeca Care Pvt Ltd, a Kolkata-based elder care startup. The Banerjees are provided with a care manager.

Always accessible, the smart and educated Sangeeta Pramanik takes the call on recruiting the Ayah (also offered by Tribeca) and training her on special needs of the client, giving a patient hearing to the sisters during her usual rounds to the family, consulting the doctor on their behalf, settling issues at the bank and so on and so forth.

Personal experience

“India has over 10 crore people aged over 60 years. Approximately 3.5 lakh of them live in Kolkata. As the younger generation is increasingly forced to move out from the city or the country for professional reasons, many of such elders are vulnerable to loneliness,” says Prateep Sen.

Sen (45) and co-Managing Director Tamojit Dutta had a personal brush with the problem. Both decided to quit their high-paying jobs as senior bankers in the UK last year to look after their ailing parents in Kolkata.

The choice of entering geriatric care business came naturally. Their anguish was shared by three other NRI friends – Shibaji Saha, Ritendra Roy and Elina Dutta.

While Saha, a consultant Intensivist at Queen’s University Hospital and Roy, an investment banker with JP Morgan, New York, partnered the initiative without quitting their existing responsibilities. Elina, a former advertisement professional, handles communications from Dubai.

Planning big

“We are planning to expand operations in at least two or three more metro cities by next year,” Sen said.

Having started with homecare and medical assistance, Tribeca forayed into recreational non-medical assistance for elders (like escorting them to a mall or temple).

“Right now our services are mostly suited for elders above the age of 75. In the future we will expand our non-medical services for the 60-75 years age-group, who are in relatively good health, financially well-off, and are keen to enjoy life before the turn too old.”

On the cards are offering services for overseas travels. “We will offer complete solution and assistance right from completing visa formalities to providing travel insurance,” Sen said.

Also in the pipeline are plans to open a number of old-age homes and dementia centres. “Patents suffering from dementia need special care. We are currently working out a model for such homes,” he said. The finance may be raised through private equity investments.

Published on June 26, 2014

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