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No ‘home sweet home’: Rising number of elderly in Pune now requisites more retirement homes

Though the city has 7 lakh senior citizens, hardly 30 retirement homes are in place for their care.

pune Updated: Dec 02, 2017 14:59 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Elderly,Senior Citizen
A caregiver engaging the elderly in a book reading activity at Athashree Astha care unit, an assisted-living retirement home situated in Pashan, Pune.(Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)

Owing to the rising demand amongst senior citizens, the number of retirement homes in Pune has increased almost threefold catering to the needs of the elderly. From less than 10 retirement homes in 2001 to almost 35 old age homes in 2017, Pune has seen a drastic increase in the demand for retirement homes.

Dr Vinod Shah, chairman of Janaseva Foundation, a charitable trust working towards providing better facilities to the senior citizens, said, “There is a steady rise in the number of senior citizens because of an increase in life span and developments in medical facilities. Most of them, after 60 years of age, begin looking for retirement homes due to age-related medical problems.”

Shah added, “There is always a rift between generations which brings about a change in lifestyle. The younger generation adapts to this naturally while senior citizens face a major social transformation which requires compromises and adjustments.”

According to experts, there are very less retirement homes in the city. “There are different types of retirement homes that cater to senior citizens according to their payment capacity. Some offer very good facilities, while some lack even basic necessities. Not every senior citizen is provided for or taken care of,” said a senior citizen on the condition of anonymity.

Pune has around 5,000 senior citizens living in retirement homes across the city and its outskirts. “We are seeing a steady growth in the number of senior citizens opting for retirement homes or independent, yet aided homes,” said Meenal Paranjape, from Athashri Astha, a concept assisted-living home. The retirement home was made specifically for those senior citizens who require help in their daily activities, but with minimum medical monitoring and for those who do not require hospitalisation.”

This assisted living home is an extended version of Athashri, an retirement home which first began as a project in Pashan in 2000. “The concept behind Athashri is to offer an assisted, yet dignified living for the senior citizens. With youngsters moving to other cities/abroad and the adaptation of the ‘nuclear family’ concept, the need for special attention to the senior citizens’ needs was deeply felt and thus, Athashri Astha,” said Shrikant Paranjape of Paranjape Schemes Ltd.

The city first saw an retirement home way back in 1863 with Niwara opening its doors to provide refuge to the elderly with basic amenities and shelter for the destitute and ailing aged. Niwara was earlier known as Pune Infirm Asylum and then also as David Sasoon Infirm, Asylum after his generous donation. Niwara is a self-sustained trust which has 150 residents who have no close family and no financial source for living.

According to Niwara’s website, it was opened by eminent Indian thinkers and reformers including Sardar Kibe, Sardar Raste, Saradar Natu, Justic MG Ranade and Namdar GK Gohkale from Pune after they recognised the needs of the elderly as a social challenge at the end of 19th century.

First Published: Dec 02, 2017 14:49 IST