Today there is more and more conversation amongst seniors on their living arrangement post retirement. Various organizations have now thrown up independent assisted residential options for seniors and also services to help seniors age in place. Should one choose to age in place or to move to a senior living community?
“Rekha, a 68 years old widow stays in the nearby senior residential home. She spends her day, doing the chores mentioned in her routine. Her evenings are spent with women of her same age living there chanting mantras and singing prayers and devotional songs. Though she has company of good friends around, she feels lonely at times, and wishes for her family to be around…”
Such thoughts run in the minds of many of the elders living in the old age homes or other forms of assisted living facilities. Taking care of one’s elderly parents is not something that any child would consider a burden, but tapping on the ever changing social dynamics and emerging sandwich generation, the option of assisted living is at a rise.
The edge of choosing of an assisted living facility lies with the fact that there is more focused care and attention provided to them. The staff is trained to provide help in case of emergencies. There is always someone around them, keeping them company. They also have All this may sound extremely fancy and easy choice especially when you have the responsibility towards both your own parents and children.
However, for an elderly this is the time which they would like to spend with their children and grandchildren. There are many like Rekha who crave for their family to be around them in this phase of life, when they have reduced to a stage of absolute dependency: both physically and psychologically. The lack of connectivity from family is something they miss out most. Thoughts of being deserted by their loved ones often trigger a trail of negative thoughts about self, others and the world. No sooner it becomes a vicious cycle, making the person vulnerable to depression.
“71 year old Poonam is staying with her son’s family in Delhi. Since all of them have busy work schedules, she spends most of her day with the house maids, engaging in the activities she can do. She misses spending quality time with her family, but is happy in being in her familiar, comfort zone, where she has the freedom to be herself…”
Changes in social role greatly influence the elderly. Be it retirement or lesser participation or contribution to familial matters, these transitions does have an impact on them. Their family is the only one they look out for. When elderly parents stay with their family, the upper hand is the love, support and satisfaction of having their family members around them. There have been studies that have shown how the very presence of family has a positive influence on the general well-being of the seniors. Intergenerational family relations seem to be of special relevance. It gives them the strength and courage to overcome the hurdles of old age . Their familiar surroundings comfort them, providing them with contentment and happiness on a deeper level.
The above two stories bring to fore the 2 contrasting lives, each reflecting what our elderly parents undergo. Both the situations have their own advantages and disadvantages, each impacting their lives at a different level. The ideal situation is to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, surrounded by loved ones. However the most important thing is: every elderly should age gracefully. Whether they are in an assisted facility or in home, our elderly parents should have independence, and outlets for social and meaningful engagement, which helps them find a purpose in life.
We at Samvedna Senior Care aim to help seniors live happy, active and independent lives, in the comfort of their home and community through interactive caregiving.
Samvedna Senior Care was established in October 2013 with two complementary goals – firstly to provide quality home care services to seniors with limited mobility and social interaction due to various constraints, and secondly to facilitate stimulating community interaction and participation. We also have services for Dementia care.