Old Age Homes?

The Bride, as usual, has written a very interesting post on living alone. Go take a look.

On reading that,and a discussion I had with my Amma, I was thinking of living alone in old age. (With RD if he was interested ;))

well, by living alone, what I mean is living without my child/children.

So my amma was telling us the other day about a cousin of hers and his wife who have sold off everything and put in money into an old age home and are living there happily.

My Amma being MY Amma says ‘I think its a good idea. At least I dont have to think what to cook today and why the maid didnt land up!’ *rolls eyes*

This lady sure has her set of priorities clear eh?

anyways, that apart, I was very impressed with this cousin mama mami of mine. Of course they dont have any kids. So may be it made that decision a bit easier. But in India, I have realised, we have a stigma against old age homes like how we have issues with women drinking or a couple divorcing.

I mean, whats wrong with old age homes? There are two ways of looking at them

1. You are there because your children have thrown you out.

2. You are there because you want to be there.

I wonder why people look at old people in India as if they only want to be grandparents and can have no fun.

I remember CR doing this lovely post about these an old couple going down a slide having so much fun and an old lady with absolutely matched nail paint etc.. CR, of course, lives in phoren land.

When was the last time you saw an old aunty painting her nails..infact even when my mom goes to the parlour to dye her hair, there are people commenting on it. Which is weird na…I mean just because you are a grand mother, doesnt mean you dont groom yourself the way you want to eh?

Anyways, I digress.

So old age homes.

Imagine them like a place where you get to meet people of your age group, you can play games, generally stare into eternity, read what you want, no one to tell you no, you get food on time, in case you are sick, you have doctors on call, you have company of friends.

Doesnt it sound exactly like a cool picnic from college or something…

I mean seriously, writing all this makes me wish I should retire right away!

so why not? Tomorrow, I dont want to be dependent on anyone during my old age. I would rather just stay put in an old age home and enjoy my life 🙂

I could perhaps go and visit R when she needs me or something.

I think Indian parents need to get independent. As a parent, I have realised that I have kids because I want them, that doesnt mean they are obliged to take care of me. I want kids..the kids never asked to be born, so dont burden them as budhape ka sahara.

I dont think its right on the children.

Of course, tomorrow if my parents need me, I will be there for them for sure, but when things lead to expectations, it really gets on to me. I EXPECT you to take care me during my old age, I have suffered so much for you, I have sacrificed so much for you. thats totally weird.

Also weird is the thought that once you are old you dont need your privacy…I mean boss, seriously, whats that logic? Yes, some people may want to stay with their grandchildren, but there may be some people who want to alone spending some time with their spouse or friends na?

Well, all in all, I think an old age home makes a lot of sense to me personally.

RD and I can start saving money now, put it in an old age home, and enjoy our retirement. eh?


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79 Responses to Old Age Homes?

  1. I agree. Loved this post. This is how I see old age homes too – a place with less of trivial daily chores and more time to do things I love to do 🙂

  2. pixie says:

    a topic close to my heart! I love what you have written and I agree!
    My granny lives alone (she is 76 and totally rocking Bangalore!!)
    My aunts (both of them were widowed young unfortunately) live alone after their kids grew up and moved out… they are hip, fashionable and wear the latest trends and wear nail polish!
    they both agree that a hightech old-age home is the place to be once they stop functioning by themselves…
    My MIL lives alone – she prefers it and loves her flexible lifestyle! She says she wouldn’t have it any other way!!

    I will move into one of those cool old-age homes too once I realise we cant live by ourselves!
    Its common sense – they have trained nurses, doctors and there is always someone to help us.
    People our age will be around us – children can live their lives happily without worrying about their parents! And most imp – relationships will be maintained and our children, grandchildren will continue to love and respect us! 🙂

  3. Lifesong says:

    I like the idea too 🙂 A nice relaxed retired life without worrying about anything 🙂
    But I don’t think there are too many old age home in India. The concept has not caught up with Indians yet, I think. But I may be wrong.

    • R's Mom says:

      you are right Lifesong..I dont think there are great old age homes in India..my cousin mama mami are in a place in coimbatore and honestly is very expensive..though Amma was mentioning its amazing there!

  4. Shweta says:

    When I read the topic of your blog.. seriously I was like.. I don’t support old age homes and was hoping u would have written something on the same line.. like.. why children leave their parents in old age home etc etc.. but once I read through it.. I agree to what you are saying..
    Doing it willingly gives it a whole new perspective.. along with keeping the love intact among the parents and children as both get their privacy.. and no fights over petty issues..

    Though the idea is appealing, what I would like to add here is – The OAH should be reliable and run by efficient and honest people.. and the people living in there are not tricked into doing something and loosing all what they have, the way we see in Bollywood movies like Lage Raho Munna Bhai or Shararat.. 🙂

    • R's Mom says:

      of course I am talking about doing it willingly..like I said, often grandparents like being with their grandchildren..then thats a different issue!

      I agree on the old age home being reliable 🙂

  5. This is a topic that has been on my mind offlate as well RM. Sometimes when K and I go to these old age homes, we see that some are having a lot of fun. Ofcourse, I am yet to meet someone who is there by choice butthey do have fun gossiping, having coffee together, talking about the latest elections and the plight of the country etc. They play board games, smoke a cigar, have a drink, read newspapers 4 times a day (some really do!) and share their joys and sorrows so beautifully. My mother has friends who have similar plans 🙂

  6. Once again you spoke my mind, RM. Can’t agree more with your views about old-age homes, reducing dependency on our children, and leading an independent life. If you select the right kind of old-age home, it could actually be a more peaceful and beautiful way of life for an aged couple or an aged person, instead of staying with the family. Of course, not everyone is cut out for that. I would say it is a totally personal choice – whether to stay with family or be independent in your later days.

    Yes, I agree with your view that people don’t take kindly to old people grooming themselves and keeping themselves fit and trim. My aunt, though, is different. She is an expert on different kinds of beauty products available in the market, and visits the beauty parlour regularly, in spite of these jibes at her. She is a grandma, but a well-dressed and well-groomed-at-all-times grandma. I love her for that.

    I agree with the view that children shouldn’t be looked upon as your budhape ka sahaara. It is kind of selfish to expect that. If they like to take care of you in your old age, well and good, but you cannot force them to do so just because you bore them for 9 months and sacrificed a lot for them!! It is wrong to give birth to a child just because you want someone to take care of you in your old age – just as wrong as it is to get married just because you need someone to take care of you through the ups and downs of life.

    • R's Mom says:

      totally agree on it being a personal choice…100% agree

      Your aunty is a rockstar..more power to her 🙂

      Exactly, I get really bugged when parents start ‘expecting’ its not right…your kids will do because they love you, not because they are obliged to do it!

  7. My Era says:

    I totally agree with you on this RM 🙂
    After having worked all our life and having raised our children to have lives of their own, atleast old age should be the time to live life on our terms. Enjoying the we like without worrying about trivial chores and endless responsibilities day in and day out 🙂
    It reminded me of the Satyamev Jayate episode on senior citizens 🙂

  8. The Bride says:

    My concern with old age homes, and the thought of my loved ones being in one, is that when the person gets older they are more physically vulnerable. It’s a bit like leaving very young children in the care of others – can we be sure the carers won’t abuse their power ? Caring for the elderly is a very specialised and tiring job and would require especially committed people but if people working in the industry are there out of necessity and there’s a poor regulatory environment, I wonder what goes on. It’s one thing if younger family members are there to check and monitor; not sure how much this is possible with old age homes. The other thing is, of course, there don’t seem to be that many of these ‘cool’ old age homes with a good track record in India. Most still seem very institutionalised.

    • R's Mom says:

      I agree, its pretty much like leaving your kids in a daycare…but honestly Bride, I have been leaving R in a daycare (A good reputed albeit an expensive one!) and I have no complains except the occasional working mother not being there for sick child..which every working mother has…

      I totally agree on the fact that the old age homes have to be good, have to be reliable…totallly agree on that

  9. deepM says:

    Absolutely loved your post RM!

    but again i would say its a matter of choice. When i lost my mother and we wanted my father to come and stay with us, he never agreed. He used to tell us what i will do if i would stay with you ppl. You will go to office/collage whole day then what should i do? He was right but that time i did not like his reason because i don’t wanted him to stay alone(that time me and my brother used to stay together in another city for studies and then job).

    today, he is happy at his own home. Fit and fine. he is got lots of retired friends. Now a days in small town at my fathers age, only husband-wife’s are left as their kids gone out to chase their dreams. 🙂

    So after reading your post i think my father has taken right decision about 4 years back. 🙂

  10. kashlife says:

    Nice post RM :). Even I want to live in an old age home after retirement.

  11. Hmmmm… tricky topic this is.
    Technically I agree with everything you say. I myself would love the life in an old age home.
    I like my personal space, would love to have time to do things that I enjoy and hate being dependent on others.In other words I would love to live for myself atleast in my old age. Like you, I see myself living in an old age home as I dont want to be dependent on my son.
    Unfortunately not everybody would love a life like that.
    There are people who would rather have family around all the time( even if it means no personal space), would love to let go of things/time so that others can still get what they want….. you know the kind who lives for others…. I am sure my MIL will throw a tantrum if I even mentioned an old age home to her
    And then there is the personal touch that is still missing in Indian old age homes, Like an old neighbour aunt who is staying in a old age home as all her kids are abroad was complaining that the food was lousy and that they were served burnt dosas.
    I guess it takes a little time to get used to this new phenomenon.
    Earlier it was not cool to leave your kid in a daycare.But now with the need for double incomes and daycare becoming more available, we dont think that we are abandoning our kids when we drop them off at the daycare everyday.(My son stays at home with in-laws after he gets back from school. But everytime you describe R’s funtime at her daycare,I wish my son also went to a daycare as i feel that he is missing out on the fun :))

    • R's Mom says:

      I did mention that na…that its only if its a personal choice, old age homes are not like a bad thing..if someone wants to be with family, its their choice..

      I so agree on that personal touch missing in Indian old age homes..but I guess, like the concept of Daycare is catching up in India, hopefully so will the concept of old age homes

      LOL on wishing son went to daycare 🙂 you are cute 🙂

  12. I totally agree with you RM. I wish my in-laws read this post of yours. They both live in India. We have bought them a house, 2 kaam wali’s and send money each and every month, try to fulfill each & every wish of them but they are still not happy.
    They have literally told us 100s of time that they have suffered and sacrificed a lot for their son and now its son’s turn to fulfill their wishes and take care of them and tell them each and every minute detail of their lifestyle to them.
    This is really now a pressure, pain or you can say a burden for us. We cannot live freely. We are ready to be with them when they want us but as you said EXPECTATIONS & ASSUMPTIONS makes the whole situation wierd 😦

  13. techie2mom says:

    Hmmm..nice idea…anyways now a days kids working and staying in a different city, lots of older couple leave on their own. and staying in an old age home solves the issue of safety also that lots of old people staying alone face…
    now only if the old age home was as cool as the one from that Munnabhai movie 🙂

  14. Jas says:

    I am also in favor of the idea. But in India even the old age homes are not matching to the standard of what they are abroad. The concept is alien here and no one is doing enough to make a state of the art place where people can actually enjoy and not mull over why their children left them. But I also have the same idea of not living with the children in my old age.

  15. Ramya says:

    Really really true RM… Even I would prefer going to old age home or atleast staying alone.. not with my son for sure… In fact I keep telling this on n off to my hubby.. Hope God blesses 🙂

  16. Smitha says:

    I totally agree with you RM! Once, when my dad said that he would want to go to an old age home, I remember being offended. But everything he said made such sense. He spoke of that feeling of independence, and getting to live your life the way you want to. And as you say the difference is whether you are thrown out of your house by your children, or you take the decision to live in an old age home. There are so many advantages to being in a community like that, with doctors at the call, food delivered.. Why not? Husband and I plan to do the same too.

    • R's Mom says:

      oh I can understand getting offended with your dad..because even I would have, but as I grow older *ahem* I think everyone values their privacy!

      you sound like my Amma now…food being delivered LOL…thats her reason for going to an old age home hehehe 🙂

  17. uma says:

    Exactly my thoughts, RM! When I heard of these homes, I was also willing to sign up immediately!!!
    In the age where the children need to settle in far away locations due to career compulsions, it is difficult to stay even near by the parents. If such facilities are looked upon favourably, children will also be free from the guilt of seeing their parents live a lonely life. Plus, for the parents, it is a second innings of sorts where they can socialize with their age group and live a carefree life without having to bother about the mundane routine, something which they wouldn’t have done in their prime.

    • R's Mom says:

      such facilities are looked upon favourably, children will also be free from the guilt of seeing their parents live a lonely life. Plus, for the parents, it is a second innings of sorts where they can socialize with their age group and live a carefree life without having to bother about the mundane routine, something which they wouldn’t have done in their prime.

      – VERY VERY TRUE! What I couldnt say in 900 words, you said in 2 sentences..this is what I wanted to say 🙂

  18. chaitalichari says:

    I agree with u abt having children because u want them.. n not just because as budhape ka sahara. I feel i should be there for parents as n when they need me, thats because i love, care n respect them.. so 2moro if my children feel like doing something for their parents it shld be out of love n respect n not as any obligation..
    In india once u get married ur expected to have a kid within a year or so.. i feel if its an arrange marriage then u hardly get a time for a healthy courtship.. so i feel the old age is like to relive ur lost youth.. and celebrate it..
    An old age home ppl usually c it as a home for thrown out parents.. we need to change our perspective..

    • R's Mom says:

      True, though I am not too sure about the not having time for a healthy courtship in arranged marriage – RD and I did enjoy about 8 months of courtship albeit long distance 🙂

  19. Ashwathy says:

    I completely agree 🙂 See? This is why I tolerate you in spite of all the stupidities you say and do! 😛 :mrgreen:

    My mother’s parents were self-sufficient even after retirement…they had pension plus a decent amount of savings interest to get them through every month. They WANTED to go to a retirement home. Like you said, no worries about running a house, maid, finding a doctor, safety in general etc. Plus company of like-minded people and relaxed life. So I totally understood where that comes from. It’s a different matter that shortly afterwards my parents separated and my grandparents stayed on in the house to take care of me.

    But my point is that it should be a voluntary choice. Being dumped in the old age because you are not wanted by your children is painful. And I have seen it happen to the nicest of people I know 😦 Having said that, let’s not get into the interfering-in-laws/grandparents argument with this…that’s a Pandora’s box and I don’t wish to open it 🙂

    • R's Mom says:

      Wow! your mom’s parents are super people eh?

      I agree, on it being a voluntary choice…my irritation is from the fact that why look at old age homes negatively…they are not that…they can be a place where you can happy and live the end of your life in peace

  20. I really want to stand and applaud for this post of yours, RM. Really! I’ve been meaning to write about this for a long time now. But, I haven’t been sure to put it as diplomatically as yours. Probably, because I have a pretty skewed opinion on this topic! 🙂

    See.. there are two things I have a problem with, with the parents staying with their sons/daughters. One, the parents refusing to deviate from the traditional norms of staying with the children’s set-up. And, two, the children wanting to ‘use’ their parents for their good. Believe me, both create a lot of friction ‘cos of the generation gap. Which means, it is a lose-lose situation in both cases. So, why not just live apart and mind our own business, both of us. I mean, the elder people get their space. And the younger ones know to manage their lives better. Seriously, depending on some one else COMPLETELY for raising our children doesn’t server the purpose of having children in the first place. I am so sorry I went on a tangent. This is one topic so so close to my heart. So, from me, a big big thumbs up to this concept of old-age homes.

    Well.. I am not sure if you are aware of this, but these old-age homes concept is kind of like booming, these days. Like you’ve mentioned in one of the comments, Coimbatore seems to be taking the lead. Also, I’ve heard of a couple of them in Pondy and Madras. The point is, these are no ‘traditional’ old-age homes per se. These are more akin to the 55+ homes in the West. You own a house (mind you, the houses are in your name), your environment consists of people of your age group, facilities like a fully furnished house is available, along with the food and periodical doc visits. You can opt for single or double bedroom apts where you can accomodate your children when they visit!

    May be, I should do one post too (of course, after researching more) on this.

  21. I would love to be in an old age home if it meets certain conditions of mine

    1. The husband should be with me till my last moment (I would die of boredom if I can’t bug him or see his face every few minutes 😥 oh the thought itself is killing me right now)

    2. The old age home should be on top of a mountain preferably where it snows 🙄

    3. They shouldn’t put us on diets. I want to eat and die peacefully.

    4. err…it would be nice for the old eyes if they employed young handsome men to take care of us 😉 😳

    5. My brats and all their future productions should not feel guilty about us staying there and instead should have a smile on their faces every time they meet us and go back to enjoy their life 🙂

  22. ashreyamom says:

    i agree with u RM.. i would love to stay in old age home.. i remember how much old ppl enjoy in the movie lage raho munna bhai.. except that they are staying there with force..
    but somehow i cant make my parents agree to it.. they would feel that they are a burden that why all this.. things might change with time, ppl might willing go and stay in old age homes.. 🙂

    • R's Mom says:

      yes, it does require a change in mentality..just as earlier people found children’s daycares not so great, but have now accepted it, I guess, thats how its going to be in the future

  23. Mathangi Vijay says:

    Tell me about it RM. I am fed up of hearing people complaining that the Children do not take care of them. I have sacrificed my life for them. I have made them study, I have made food for them Blah Blah. Well if you have done it, I think you have done it because you WANT to do it for your child. Not out of duty. So Please dont tag that Since I did that for you, you have to do this to me. I Agree that children do want to take care of their parents but please understand that they have their set of limitations too!
    In Many cases, I have seen these parents who tag along the children to foreign lands, find it very difficult to adjust there, find the life there boring and want to come back to India and once here complain once again that the children do not take care of them.
    I frequent a site called IndusLadies and a writer called Shridhar had written a beautiful serial story called “Abode Of Love” which primarily focused on Old Age Homes and how happy life could be while being there.
    I am clear on one thing. I would want to live independently once I am old. I want to engage in activities which I couldnt do at a younger age because of time constraint. I want to develop new hobbies. I would want to live alone with my husband maybe in a separate home/old age home, I think the place is immaterial. But as you mentioned, will definitely be available for my children when they need us. This way both the parents and children will have their space!
    Oopsie.. Sorry for the really long comment!!

    • R's Mom says:

      going to check that indusladies site..thanks..

      I loved the way you wrote your second para..and dont be sorry, its great to have such opinions..

      I understand that old people going abroad and finding it hard to adjust 😦

  24. chandni says:

    I guess things are changing on this front too. Two of colleagues when they retired invested in these homes which are built like a complex. Acc to your budget and no of people, you can get a one room set or tow or larger…some couples have gone, some single people and they are all living it up! I personally think it makes a lot of sense. When I am old, I really don’t want to bother with cooking and cleaning. I’d rather read a book 🙂

    • R's Mom says:

      oh yaa…I did read about it when I was doing some additional search to reply to SnS’s comment..

      LOL on your last line..thats exactly what my Amma said 🙂

  25. summerscript says:

    Awesome post RM!
    When I was in college, we had visited couple of old age homes. But the scene I saw there is still deep in my mind. I saw people coming to us talking- mostly crying and telling us about how they landed there, how they missed their children and how we should take care of parents, general advice etc. Most of the people I met were either crying or were just angry. It had a deep impact and I could never think of an old age home as a happy place. But after reading this, I could visualize a different old age home. I am happy that things are changing.

  26. Smita says:

    This post makes so much sense. Honestly I never think much about my future because what will happen will happen. But I so agree with your theory of not being dependent.

  27. I agree with you , But wat I dont like is kids putting their parents in old age homes and then FORGETTING Them .. THAT I hate.

    I am weird I have already thought , once I retire I am going to one of these and enjoying my life dont want tensions of what my kids are doing 🙂 I will have enough of mine by then .. and basically I would want ot live what I have not lived now in constant race to provide for everyone ..

  28. metherebel says:

    I wasn’t sure which way this topic would go on reading the title. But it was a different perspective to look at it things and I must say, I completely agree with you on this!

  29. Swaram says:

    I am not exactly sure I have decided on an old-age home, but both of us totally agree about the independence, the privacy 😉 😉 and mostly on how we should not be ‘expecting’ it from our kiddos just bcoz we brought them in this world. Gud post RM 🙂

  30. Maddie says:

    I agree…but are there any old age homes with good standards in India? I dont think there are any that match the facilities and standards of those in abroad.

    • R's Mom says:

      oh do check the links I digged out on my response to SnS’s comment…I am sure there are good ones, though not great ones..but then it was the same case with daycares as well na…now a days, there are great ones in India..so hoping that the same applies to old age homes also

  31. Deepa says:

    Guess what R? My husband and I are already putting some money into the retirement kitty and our goal is also to retire in a nice old age home :). Every time I bring this up, my family gives me a very cold look, my sister also says that “I hope you are not planning on putting our parents in an old age home”. There is nothing wrong about it and no need to have a stigma attached to it.

  32. I agree with you RM! For some reason, old age homes are viewed as a negative thing. True, the manner in which some are managed in India are not the best but I’m sure if the mentality changes, that will change too. It is a place where you can be independent. When I see some of the elderly here doing their own shopping, going to the bank on their own and not depending on others, I find it remarkable.

  33. Scribby says:

    me and Husby talk about this a lot of times…and every time we conclude on only one thing: we need not live with your children-old or not. For that of course we need to be independent and plan for that right away…of course when our children will need us we’ll extend our support but yet we’ll not ‘live with them’ 🙂 this will keep the matters clear and clean for both parties for the rest of our lives…

  34. Great post RM, thoroughly enjoyed reading the post and comments 🙂 I am so glad to know there are so many like minded people here.

  35. BBD-Lite says:

    I agree completely! The problem is perception of old age homes. People think that they are badly run (some might be, but surely not all) so to be there you have to have been “abandoned” there by your kids. I mean I’m sure this happens, but some old people are there by choice. In the west at least people know their children are not going to be their primary caregivers, their primary caregiver is themself! So they take good care of themselves, exercise, maintain a social circle, have fun etc. well into “old age”. Their mindset is that I am going to live for myself, I am responsible for myself, and I will do the things that make me happy. Their children live apart from them but there is none of this “abandonment” business because the parents are presumed to be adults capable of planning for their retirement needs. If help is needed of course the children pitch in, but they do it out of love not a sense of duty, which is how it should be.

    Indians seem to age a lot quicker in comparison. Older Indians, read:post-marriage, doing fun things for themselves is positively frowned upon! And the elderly are presumed to be as vulnerable to exploitation as babies. Also, living with your children doesn’t necessarily ensure a good life – sometimes both husband and wife are out working all day, sometimes the elder has health issues needing specialized care, sometimes there is no one your age to talk to etc…I think more people would opt for old age homes if there wasn’t such a stigma attached. Hopefully with time good quality retirement villages will become the norm in India!

    I’m not planning on having kids so (in the far far future) retirement home here I come!

  36. liamlee says:

    Older people live in care chichester based centers get all sorts of amenities and comforts which are required by old age people. The compassionate staff members of these care centers put their high end efforts to make them feel homely. These professionals offer secured and a comfortable atmosphere to older people.

  37. Thank you for this usefull information
    Really helpful
    dont forget to visit us Old age homes in India

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