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Myth vs. Reality: Senior Living Homes v/s Old Age Homes (Part-1)

In today’s fast-paced and busy life, senior living homes are gaining popularity. However, the concept in itself is praiseworthy. In a country like India, there are numerous myths around Senior Living Homes. Before busting any myths, it is necessary that we understand what really are Senior Living Homes!

Senior Living Homes are community living spaces for Senior Citizens. These are usually gated apartments with an active lifestyle and a neighborhood of similarly aged people. Senior Living strikes the perfect balance between living independently and living in an old-age care home. Key features of a good Senior Living Project are-

  1. Similar age group people around

A neighborhood of similar aged and like-minded people ensures a friendly environment, such neighbors become friends and family in no time.

  1. Active Life

In your golden years of life, you are free from all responsibilities and have enough time to yourself, which with productive use, can lead to new beginnings.

  1. Hassle-Free living

Senior Living Homes are equipped with servicemen for all basic needs and a cafe that serves home-like nutritious and delicious food.

  1. Safe and secure

Most Senior Living projects are gated communities with secured entrance and CCTV surveillance to ensure security and safety at all times.

  1. Age-Friendly design

One of the basic perks of Senior Living Homes is age-friendly designs – be it anti-slip tiles, or chamfered edges of walls, everything is taken care of.

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Most of the young individuals are emotionally reluctant to send their parents to such a place, thinking that it’s nothing but abandoning them in their golden years – well, it’s not. Moreover, considering senior citizens living with their children in the city, and both the children and their spouse are working individuals – that is basically being trapped in four walls. Senior Living ensures a more active, healthier, calmer life than living in a typical city home.

Old-age homes are mostly run by NGOs or charitable trusts and do not feel own at all, however, in Senior Living Homes residents are the owners of their houses, which in itself is a sense of independence – unlike in old-age homes. Senior Living Homes are often considered a new beginning for people in their golden years , in contrast to old-age homes that are mostly considered temporary residences.

Old-age homes are usually dull and gloomy, understaffed, and lack proper facilities – most taboos around independent living of Senior Citizens arise from the poor conditions of Old-age homes and lack of awareness of the difference between old-age and senior-living homes. Old-age homes tend to offer bare minimum facilities which include – a place for sleeping(room/dorm), a dining hall, common bathrooms, and a visitors lounge. On the contrary, Senior Living Homes are basically dwelling apartments, and with added infrastructure and house help for the comfort of senior citizens. Here, every resident is the owner of their own property, and visitors aren’t just confined to the visitors’ lounge. Senior Living Homes provide much more than what will be a bare minimum.

There are vast lifestyle differences in old-age homes and senior-living homes. Senior-living homes have a calendar full of activities that make the residents healthy and happy along with strengthening the bonding among them, however, most old-age homes have a hostel-like lifestyle, with little or no such activities.

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Old-age homes have a mess for food, serving mostly monotonous and bland food with no customization or so. The food may or may not be rich in nutrients or the taste. In senior-living homes, one can continue to cook in their own kitchens or come to community dining cafes for a break, or not cook at all. All our meals are well-nutritional and delicious, our menus keep changing, and our cooks are experts at their jobs.

Old-age homes are infrastructurally very weak, mostly built in closed, congested spaces, without much freedom of movement, maybe a garden for a walk – that’s it. Senior-living homes are well-architectured, spacious apartments, with lush green gardens, walking tracks, gymnasiums, pools, sports courts, clubhouse, daily-need shops, and whatnots.

It’s obvious that as we age, our bodies require much more attention, and in terms of medical care, old-age homes are equipped with medical staff, but anything above basic medications, means being transferred to a nearby hospital, which in itself is not a good experience. However, Senior-Living homes have trained medical staff who can cater to first-aid and immediate medical attention in case of emergencies. Moreover, senior-living homes have tie-ups with major hospitals where the residents can go for regular checkups and special treatments as and when required apart from the residential checkup camps that are organized within the community living.

Senior citizens living in old-age homes feel a lot like a part of an institution rather than feeling independent. In old-age homes, there are fixed hours and fixed places for visitors. However, in senior-living homes, visitors can come as and when they please, and residents can host them for as long as they feel like – just like in a regular household.

In the name of entertainment and recreation, old-age homes are equipped with just a common hall with a few board games and television. On the other hand, senior-living homes have a wide range of activities available on the campus. Yoga, fitness centers, table tennis, meditation, Satsang classes, etc are a few of the many activities that senior-living homes provide. The added perk to these activities is that they help the residents in socializing with a like-minded community of friends and neighbors who become family in no time. These communities help the residents in enjoying a long, healthy, and happy life.

The stigma or the taboo around Senior Living is basically born out of the old-age homes. People willing to live in a Senior-living home should try living there and then make their decisions accordingly. There are a number of differences between old-age homes and senior-living homes, and both terms shouldn’t be used or treated interchangeably. Senior-living homes give a new life to the retired individuals, a life that is healthy, happy, and among neighbors and friends who are nothing less than a family.

Category: Senior Living,

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About The Author

Ashiana, Ashiana Housing build homes. Homes surrounded by vast green spaces and fresh breeze. Homes cocooned in secured gated complexes. Homes where futures are forged and there are opportunities to grow. And Homes in environments brimming with healthy activity, trust and respect. At heart, we build communities with care.

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