This Delhi psychologist's startup offers assisted living for senior citizens with dementia 

Sinha co-founded the startup Epoch Elder Care in 2012, which initially began as an assisted living home for senior citizens ailing from dementia and other mental-health conditions.

Published: 08th July 2019 10:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th July 2019 07:15 PM   |  A+A-

Epoch Elder Care at Gurugram

Epoch Elder Care at Gurugram

By Express News Service

“They might not even remember this later, but at least they enjoyed the moment,” Neha Sinha admits with a tinge of gloom, over the phone.

The clinical psychologist and dementia specialist was describing the delicious ‘Maharashtrian lunch’ that she, together with her staff, organised for the residents of Epoch Elder Care at Gurugram, end of June.

Epoch’s staff made it a point to design the two-hour noon party as a “high-impact” endeavour; two hours being their ambitious estimation of the attention span of their elderly residents only if the planned activities were exceptionally enticing.

So the female attendants decked up in saris and matching ornaments, had their hair tied in a bun accessorized by a string of mogras while the men sported tilaks.

They put up some energy-heavy lavani melodies and hung up colourful posters on the walls of the party scene.

To ring in the Konkani vibe, they took a couple of days to perfect the show stealer – the food; the in-house F&B manager created the menu and cooked the meal with the help of the Epoch staff in Pune.

The result: tables laden with typical, sumptuous Maharashtrian snacks – Kokum Sharbat, Koshimbir, Boondi Raita, Vada Pao, Bharli Vangi (Veg curry), Dosa Bhaji, Chicken Kolhapuri, Amti daal, Masala Bhaat (rice), Bhakri and Beet Root Poori (breads). And traditional sweets of Mango Mastani, Besan Ladoo, Puran Poli and Pineapple Sheera.

Sinha co-founded the startup Epoch Elder Care in 2012, which initially began as an assisted living home for senior citizens ailing from dementia and other mental-health conditions.

Now she runs it by herself, with a staff of about 70, spread between two homes in Gurugram and one in Pune, catering to 33 residents.

The premium assisted living quarters are spacious flats within gated communities, have a maximum of 15 residents each “so it feels like a home and not a nursing home”, says Sinha – with a 24/7 medical and cleaning staff.

The residents’ families pay almost Rs 1 lakh per month for a "flawless" service which includes tending to nutrition, medicines, food, and constant care as dementia patients cannot be left alone for even a few minutes.

“Our residents are not young but elderly who can actively engage. These are people with dementia, all over 80 years old and wheelchair bound.

"They can’t participate in games or antakshari. We have to passively engage them so they are stimulated through the environment, visuals and music… events like our food festivals.

"Last time, we celebrated the Punjabi cuisine and all of us dressed up in typical Punjabi suits,” says Sinha, who was recognized by Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia in 2016.

She did a three-year stint as a counsellor at Sanjivini Society for Mental Health, Janpura, New Delhi, and trained in palliative care philosophy from Sophiahemmet University, Sweden. So the startup seemed like a natural progression from her study route.

With tizzying activities as these, Sinha makes sure the residents feel rejuvenated, even if it’s for two hours. “They start to feel tired, stop responding, and for many of them 3pm is their nap-time… so we have to wind up by then. But at least they enjoyed the moment,” she says again.


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