Is living in an assisted living community a taboo for senior citizens and their children? Is moving your parents into one a morally contested decision for you? Vedaanta Senior Living answers these pertinent questions and breaks the myth around senior care.
Moving into a senior living community at a point in old age is still considered by many Indians as a last resort for those who have no other choice. The stigma due to social conditioning couldn't be more misplaced, as the benefits of living in a community specifically designed to meet the needs and desires of senior citizens are not understood even by the stakeholders.
Shreya Anandapadmanabhan, director of Vedaanta Senior Living, says, "It is a misconception that there cannot be a better living arrangement than one where you stay close by or with your children. It is not because your children do not love you or do not take good care but because they are usually ill-equipped to support the needs of a senior citizen."
Modern lifestyle is demanding on time. Couples with aged parents are mostly in their forties or fifties, in the throes of their careers, straddling office, home, and needs of their children, along with taking care of the elders. There's a lot on each one's plate. Senior citizens are usually on their own, doing odd chores or watching TV till the younger ones are home. The real issue is not how seniors cram their needs into the more hectic schedules of youngsters. The problem lies in the unpreparedness of caregivers in the face of medical emergencies or the chaotic city conditions that cause delays in receiving critical medical aid that could be fatal.
Shreya recounts an incident of a close acquaintance who waited just a bit before rushing her father, who complained of discomfort, to the hospital. That precious lost time, unfortunately, sealed the fate, and he collapsed on the way to the hospital. Sadly, such instances aren't rare and could happen to anyone because we cannot detect medical anomalies in a person. Moreover, living in metros poses secondary challenges, such as traffic jams and road bottlenecks that prevent timely support from reaching the patient. It doesn't serve much to debate the hows and whys. However, one can plan for a better arrangement to lead a peaceful and secure retired life.
Assisted Living Communities come with trained and competent nurses and para-medical staff who arrive within seconds at the sound of the emergency buzzer fitted in each home. The on-call doctor at Vedaanta communities is like your family doctor who knows your medical history and understands your specific needs. Shreya states that they have saved countless lives because of the alertness and competence of their medical staff.
In one instance, a septuagenarian couple from one of the Vedaanta communities was returning from a visit to their daughter's residence. The gentleman called to inform the on-duty nurse about their arrival time. In the few seconds of talking to the gentleman, the nurse detected a slur in his speech and immediately asked the wife to take him to the nearest hospital. He was having a stroke. The doctors could save him because the nurse identified the red flag and sounded the alert in time.
With age, the risk of injury through falls is a cause for worry. The accidents usually happen at night when the body's reflexes are weaker and cannot match the urgency to use the washroom, a common age-related problem due to incontinence. Assisted living homes are equipped with slip-proof gears and other safety gadgets that prevent falls and have an alarm system that ensures quick medical aid.
As we see it, what do seniors need the most? - a home in the expanse of nature, away from the bustle and city chaos, but within reach of essential services like hospitals and shopping centers, having peers to chat and share stories of the day, housekeeping services, a routine that's not regimented but also covers activities that are required to keep mind and body healthy, avenues to pursue hobbies and areas of spiritual interests, caretakers that know you and your medical history, 24 hr. support for all kinds of emergencies. Do assisted living communities offer them all of this? Absolutely!
With large joint family systems dissolving with time and the average lifespan increasing, one needs to plan the retired life thoughtfully. One needs to accept that while it's nice to have family nearby, one's needs and comfort requirements alter with age, and there is no shame or embarrassment in seeking the life one wants.
A society that cares for its senior citizens is a civilized and enlightened society. The aging happens on its own without any prompting from our side! It is an issue of mind over matter…if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!
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