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Selecting the Ideal Old Age Home: What are the Key Facilities & Services Required For Elders

Leaving one’s aged parents behind when we move to a different city, state, or country can be traumatising. There is that nagging guilt within, eating at us. 

It is more so if we encounter any old couple around us, especially if you see them struggling to get something done. We are immediately reminded of our parents back home and wonder if they struggle similarly.

Sadly, there is not much we can do to convince our parents to move with us as most of them prefer to stay back in their familiar surroundings as they age. Being social is very important at their age, and when they move to another country, they feel they will miss all the festivals and family functions. Hence, as much as we would want them to be with us and ensure their safety and comfort, we must explore options. 

Thankfully, today, in India, old age homes are not as much of a taboo as they were earlier. And that is predominantly thanks to a crop of new-age senior citizen communities functioning differently, catering to Indian sensitivities. 

To put it rather bluntly, these are no longer those places where children abandon their parents. It is the opposite! It is where children move their parents to with love and consent when they want them to be as happy and comfortable as they would be with their children.

However, those seeking to move their parents to such facilities must necessarily evaluate their choice from a 360-degree angle. The decision to move must be the right one and not one that will add to the problem. The facility should be such that your parents will feel at home and not struggle with everyday activities. 

Whether going to a hospital for a check-up, taking a short holiday, or purchasing health insurance, they should find what they want and be able to make informed decisions in collaboration with you. The move should be entirely voluntary and continue to be so. In movies, we look for happily-ever-after endings. The move to an old age home should be so for your parents. There are no two thoughts about it.

What are Old Age Homes?

If you go by a typical definition, old age homes are places where aged people live independently or in an assisted mode. They will have various facilities, activities, community, health care, and more bundled into their services or packages. Aged people who find it tedious to live alone, or those who prefer to live with peers than living independently, opt for such a living arrangement. 

In the Indian context, the children mostly stay with their parents or vice versa. Until a while ago, old age homes were unheard of or even considered a big taboo. Society, as always, is quick to judge us harshly for our choices. 

How thankless are the children who send their parents to old age homes? But slowly and steadily, the concept of old age homes and the environment has changed to the extent that today, if not all, many people understand that it is for the better.

They are becoming an essential pillar of a stable society wherein parents get the love, care and dignity they deserve when their children move for their careers. These homes offer a sense of community and security, allowing elderly residents to lead fulfilling lives. It’s a win-win situation for parents who find a home away from home and children who find responsible caretakers on whom they can rely. Without such facilities, many parents may struggle to get through their daily activities, become socially isolated, go into depression, etc. What does an old age home look like then?

Essential Facilities in Old Age Homes 

Depending on the kind of facility you choose, it may differ slightly. For example, some are assisted living communities with individual homes where your parents can live independently, knowing they have support when they need it and peer companionship. Others may be facilities wherein rooms are allotted to people, either separately or on a sharing basis, depending on the need and choice.

Living arrangements must necessarily be comfortable. There should be proper ventilation with adequate lighting. Key factors to consider for rooms are fittings that suit senior citizens, like grab bars, attached bathrooms with anti-skid bathroom mats, 24*7 running water, hot water facility, night lamps, alarm bells, etc. 

Other services to consider are food choices, recreational activities, health services, etc. Even cleaning services and attention to hygiene are a must, as, during old age, minor issues can indispose people as their immunity may be down. More importantly, if your parents need to visit someplace like a bank, cast their vote, etc., it should happen without any hassle.

Safety takes equal priority, and the facility must have:

  • CCTVs installed
  • Emergency exits
  • Fire alarms and safety equipment
  • Emergency response systems in place
  • Qualified personnel with proper background checks 
  • Staff who have undergone training in senior care 

Activities and Community Engagement for Seniors in Old Age Homes

One of the most critical reasons for us to move our parents to old age homes is to ensure their social inclusion and happiness. Therefore, the facility must have properly chalked out daily activities with options suiting everyone. For example, some may prefer to watch TV, while others may like gardening or want to play games. Some others may want to travel occasionally. 

Group activities like Yoga, laughter therapy, morning or evening walks, or some recreational programs like hobby classes on the premises are a big plus to ensure that your parents are engaged happily in healthy activities. There must also be community festival celebrations so that your parents do not miss their family much during such times. Such activities ensure their well-being.

Health Care Services for the Elderly in Old Age Homes

Remember, age often brings health issues. Your parents may need intermittent, if not constant, medical care depending on their health conditions. The facility you pick must provide all required specialised care for your parents. Some of the common chronic issues needing constant monitoring are diabetes, blood pressure, heart issues, arthritis, vertigo, etc. 

 

It is highly recommended to pick a facility with some in-house specialists or a tie-up with a hospital to ensure immediate care as and when needed. It must necessarily have a few doctors and nurses to attend to the daily needs. Some people may need specialised care. 

For example, they may have kidney issues, have a pacemaker fitted, may need insulin injections, or may use puffs for lung issues, etc. Trained regular staff must be available to manage such needs efficiently.

Choosing the Right Old Age Home 

Therefore, many factors come into play when picking an old age home for your parents. Let’s go step-by-step and revisit a few points.

  1. Location and accessibility of the facility are essential so that anyone from your family can easily visit them periodically or vice versa if required.
  2. Ensure that the environment is friendly. An impromptu tour of the facility can help observe the comfort level of the seniors with the staff, happy faces, smiles, etc., to help you gauge the environment.
  3. Make a list of everything your parents would reasonably want to have for a happy living and check if the facility can provide those. It could be recreation, safety, health or medical needs.
  4. If they have medical conditions, the facility must have in-house medical staff on call to cater to any emergency.
  5. You must be able to communicate with your parents freely at any time and be also able to discuss any issues with the staff if required.
  6. Please check if the facility is registered under applicable laws, conducts required audits, etc. Check if they own or lease the property legally as necessary. It should not be that they either vacate or shift after you sign up.
  7. Check for reviews and testimonials. 
  8. Discuss the terms and conditions clearly and check every detail in the fine print before signing up. Let there be no unpleasant surprises. 

In summary, selecting the ideal old age home involves thoughtful consideration. Prioritise health care, safety, and community engagement, as these are crucial for your parents’ happiness and overall well-being. By making an informed decision, you can ensure your loved ones live in a nurturing environment during their golden years, even in your absence. 

How Samarth Can Help?

In the golden years of their lives, your parents deserve the same love, care, and dignity they have always bestowed upon you. At Samarth Elder Care, we deeply understand the emotional journey of ensuring your parents’ comfort and well-being from afar.

We are committed to helping you honor their legacy with our comprehensive elder care services. Discover more about our tailored care plans or contact us to explore how we can enhance the quality of life for your cherished elders in India. This is your opportunity to reciprocate the care and affection they have given you, creating a peaceful, comfortable, and joyful environment for them today and in the future.

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