Active in old age

October 1 is observed as International Older Persons Day. This year, the focus is on digital equity and inclusion of the elderly, both in the physical and digital realms

Published: 01st October 2021 06:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st October 2021 06:58 AM   |  A+A-

Dr V B Kartha (Retd, Scientist, BARC), a resident of Bless Retirement Living

Express News Service

KOCHI:  At Season Two Living, a luxury retirement home in Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram, they ensure the guardians of their inmates have no reasons to worry. People aged above 55 are welcome at the facility, even if they are not bedridden or in need of assisted care. The facility still has a working population with access to laptops and high-speed internet.

Anjali Nair, chief operating officer of Season Two Living which is set to expand to two locations in Ernakulam soon, says they offer digital education to all inmates through Facebook live. “Apart from technology training, we provide them financial education, dance lessons and other entertainment options. This is a place to exercise your skill, continue learning, teaching and exchanging ideas in more ways than one,” she said.

The facility also offers recreational activities with motorised, wheelchair friendly walkways. There is also a jogging track, cycling pathways, yoga and meditation centre as well as a gym with personal trainers, and also tennis, badminton, squash and basketball courts. There is even an online gaming room. Anjali says the elderly who arrive at the homes are still willing to learn. There are employees to train them continuously and update them on new technology. 

Balancing life and work

At Bless Retirement Living in Aluva, managing director Gijo Antony makes sure that the inmates continue with their hobbies and passion. Nearly 90 aged people, between 55 to 93 years, live here currently and most of them are tech-savvy. The establishment has 90 apartments and 10 guest rooms as part of the project.

The idea was to establish a ‘right to live’ for the first time in India, where an inmate is encouraged to deposit a fixed amount that would be returned once he/she leaves, apart from the monthly rent.  The monthly rent ranges from Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 depending on the type of rooms they choose — studio, one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartments. Another unit of 150 apartment is coming up close to this project and that will also include land for farming.

According to Gijo, Bless Retirement Living’s list of inmates even include a scientist, who is still carrying out work from the facility. Another 93-year-old inmate is an active freelancer. The facility even has a technical team that troubleshoots the inmates’ laptops and smartphones. There are nearly 100 staff to take care of these 90 inmates at the luxury facility.

World of the elderly
As per the estimate of the United Nations, the number of older persons worldwide is projected to more than double over the next three decades, crossing 1.5 billion in 2050. Around 80% of them will be living in low- and middle-income countries. India’s senior population (60+) is currently at 138 million and is slated to touch 194 million in 2031. Today, we do not have senior living communities to cater to even 2% of this population.

Gone are the days when old-age homes used to be a taboo and elderly care was considered an unspeakable burden



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