Old is Gold Store covered in Outlook

A chair for my Paati

elder_store_20140602.jpgIn an ageist world where toddlers, teens and adults dominate the consumer graph, a trio in Chennai are thinking about growing needs of the rapidly greying—and largely ign­ored—section of the population. Faced with parents suffering geriatric ailme­nts and few products to assist in their care, a trio of Chennaiites—Sanjay Dat­tatri and founder couple Jayashree and Prith­virajan—set up the Old is Gold store in Adyar, a Chennai suburb over a year ago. Since then, the store has been profitable, and plans are afoot to open another bra­nch in Chennai and stores across south India. “It’s a shame that we are the only store exclusively catering to the needs of senior citizens,” says Sanjay Dattatri.

The shop has been a boon to Eswari Sundaresan, 76, who found her back hurting from long hours of sitting, wat­ching TV or reading. A visit to Old is Gold got her a customised backrest cushion that she now props between the headboard and her back for support. Products like these pillows, designed for senior citizens, are a rarity in India, unlike in Europe and the US. “Disease and disability are two main concerns in old age. While healthcare is advanced in India, we are still lacking in products to help the elderly, and such stores are therefore vital,” says geriatrician V.S. Natarajan.

You can read more of it here.

 

The Non Resident Care Giver

caregiver-picture-300x221Every family has one and if you’re not so lucky, several.  Who is a non resident care giver? Usually a blood relative, a sibling, a cousin, an aunt, an uncle living elsewhere could be Mylapore, Mumbai or Minnesota. Absence maketh the heart fonder and so after several promises they finally make good the threat of actually landing up to do their bit.

You are relieved since you have been the care giver working meticulously and now established a method to all the madness that very often comes with the territory of care giving.  It varies, but could include keeping your loved one clean, changing diapers, feeding, balancing the diet, managing a battery of drugs to be given, lifting, visits to the clinic, and the millions of details that you now do with ease. You actually look forward to the visit and then he /she comes, usually she and then after the hugs and shakes comes the emotional outburst which may include how weary you appear to be or better still on how the patient used to be and look at him / her today, holding hands and the warm words does flow  with the reassurance “I am here”, you feel relieved, in fact a little energised , and get carried away asking what he or she would prefer for lunch. An exotic dish that only you can cook up. “Don’t bother”, you have enough on your hands without cooking what I want or like, but then if you insist that “potato porial” that you make is absolutely “divine” always remember it and it makes my mouth water, just describing it”. Enough ammo to get you going to the kitchen and then you remember that you have run out of an ingredient required. You quickly order or ask someone to fetch or why not go across and pick it up.

It’s time to feed your loved one, so you go about the routine with the ease of someone who has been doing it for a while now, but then the visiting care giver has to do her/ his bit and depending on where he or she is from enquires politely if you are supplementing with Glucosamine, Chawanprash or Kashayam depending on where the relative is from Minnesota, Mumbai or Mylapore in that order.

After a lecture on range of miracle food supplements that vary in efficacy from preventing cancer to hair fall, you are left wondering why does anyone get cancer these days, perhaps just a lack of knowledge.

If the non resident care giver is from Mylapore you only need to think of tea time and the snacks needed and if it happens to be Mumbai or Minnesota then you very well need to plan dinner, accommodation, clean sheets,  soap in the bathroom, toilet paper, if need be.

At the end of the day the virtue of Skype starts dawning on you. As a care giver you could do with less advice, a smaller dose of expertise and you seem relieved when you hear the all too familiar “Take care, let me know any time and I will be there” and you are left with the comfort of fending for yourself with the limited expertise that you have gathered. God bless the non resident care giver.

First published in the Care3 caregiver newsletter.

Report on workshop held on 8th May 2014

A Workshop on Retirement Communities sponsored by Harmony Eldercare Pvt. Ltd.  & Satvik Properties LLC was conducted by Old is Gold Store- a store for Senior Citizens on 8th of May 2014,  specifically for senior citizens to create more awareness about retirement communities, their pros and cons, and other associated topics.

While retirement communities are not new to developed nations, they are a relatively new concept to India. As a result neither the promoters nor the potential purchasers are aware of actually what support and services a retirement home should provide. This workshop was designed to dispel some of the myths and provide clear information on how to evaluate a retirement community.

The workshop held at Raga Sudha Hall, Mylapore was well attended with over 130 senior citizens turning up for the 3 hour workshop on a cloudy, pleasant afternoon. The workshop was kicked off by a welcome address by Jayashree KP, Director of Old is Gold Store.

This was followed by an introductory talk on retirement communities by Sanjay Dattatri, Director – Old is Gold Store. The participants were also given a copy of a detailed retirement community evaluation form for the use of senior citizens interested in moving into a retirement community. More copies of the evaluation form are available at Old is Gold Store.

The third session was a lively presentation on the benefits of reverse mortgage. Many senior citizens who has unsuccessfully tried applying for reverse mortgage demanded answers from Mr. B Prabhu, Deputy Manager of National Housing Bank who patiently answered all the questions and cleared many doubts. Of the many important points that Mr. Prabhu touched upon, one of the most important was about which banks to approach. Mr. Prabhu highlighted the fact that only Zonal offices have managers dedicated to reverse mortgage and for best results people should approach the zonal branches of nationalized banks (or branches with a Chief Manager or above).

Ms. Sabita Radhakrishna then addressed the audience and explained about Udhavi, the volunteer group that aims to provide companionship and support to senior citizens.

Finally, after a sumptuous snack break, the audience participated very vocally in the panel discussion and open house that was moderated by actor and TV presenter Ms. Shylaja Chetlur. The panelist, Raj Sitaraman, Director Marketing of Harmony eldercare, Mr. Hari S of Satvik Property Services, Mr. Prabhu of NHB and Sanjay Dattatri and KP Jayashree from Old is Gold Store, answered various questions posed by the audience.

The meeting ended with a vote of thanks.