Pune: Getting old is no child’s play anywhere, but in India, it seems the elderly are struggling. A recent pan-India study that looked into senior living facilities — both government and privately-run — found shortcomings like lack of hygiene, little emphasis on safety, dignity and privacy of the elderly and skewed staff-resident ratio.
With the government discussing the issues faced by senior citizens regarding safety, security and housing sector, the study of these homes in various cities, including Pune, has recommended the requirement of minimum standards being made mandatory.
The study was carried out by the Delhi-based Samarth group, an organisation working on engagement, care and research on elderly. It was led by principal investigator Asheesh Gupta along with the Tata Trust and United Nations Population Fund.
The United Nations has classified India as an “ageing country” with 8.6% of the population being over 60 years of age. The number is expected to grow, touching the 20% mark by 2050. Against this backdrop, the study looked at old age homes and senior living development in India. A sample set of more than 480 old age homes and 60 senior living developments in 84 cities, towns and districts, cutting across geographies, size, cost, facilities offered, ownership and management was under the scanner.
“There is a huge difference in the way shelters for the destitute, privately-owned senior living facilities and premium senior living developments run and implement elder care practices. Even within each category, there are variations. Other than infrastructure and care, aspects such as the attitude of the staff, opportunity to exercise choice — such as what time to have a meal and ability to interact with people from outside — contribute towards satisfaction and happiness,” said the study.
Gupta said, “Senior citizens’ housing facilities are not adequate to cater to the increasing population. In the next 10 years, India is expected to require nearly 6.5 lakh beds in old age homes.”