Senior Care

Dignity Literary Event

The Chennai Chapter of Dignity Foundation, a non-profit organisation working for senior citizens (above 50), is organising the ‘Dignity Literary Event’ on June 14 from 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. The event will provide an opportunity to showcase their talents – poetry rendition, skit, music or any other form of creative expression. Anitha Ratnam, Ashoka Mithran, Kamali Sripal and Rajan are expected to provide guidance to the participants.

Venue: Utsava Hall, 38/51, 2nd Main Road, Raja Annamalaipuram (next to Billroth Hospital). For details, call 24330363 or 42316566.

The Non Resident Care Giver

The Non Resident Care GiverEvery 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.

Old is Gold in the news!

Old is Gold Store was covered by the Economic Times today.

Excerpts from the article:

“We don’t just see ourselves as product sellers, but solution providers. In this world of Amazon Flipkart and Snapdeal, there is still place for highly focused niche sites,” said Prithviraj Somdev, cofounder of Chennai-based Somadev, a University of Madras graduate, also co-founded office software development company Translogic Systems.

Set up in February last year by the 53-year-old , his wife Jayashree Somadev, 46, and friend Sanjay Dattatri, 45, the idea came from t…

Read more at:

To read the online version, go here.



Old is Gold Store covered in Outlook

A chair for my Paati

Old is Gold Store covered in Outlook

In 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. ( )

Five Things That Healthcare Providers and Patients Should Question


Since 2012, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) has also been collaborating with the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation, joining its “Choosing Wisely” campaign on two separate lists of Five Things Healthcare Providers and Patients Should Question. The campaign is designed to engage healthcare organizations and professionals, individuals, and family caregivers in discussions about the safety and appropriateness of medical tests, medications, and procedures. Participating healthcare providers are asked to identify five things—tests, medications, or procedures—that appear to harm rather than help. Providers then share this information in a published article about these things on the ABIM campaign’s website ( The first AGS list was published in February 2013.

You can read the article in detail here.


Over 75? Your pension may get door-delivered soon!

Your pension Sunil Kumar Jha, a 77-year-old retired central government employee, would heave a sigh of relief amid this scorching summer. Come April and he won’t need to visit his bank and stand in the long queue to draw his monthly pension. The State Bank of India has planned a welcome respite for the pensioners — aged 75 years or more — by delivering monthly their earnings at their doorsteps.

The country’s biggest bank will start this pilot project from April 1 in Kolkata. If successful, other public sector banks would follow suit, which would benefit thousands of aged and ailing pensioners all over the country.

On getting this news from TOI, Jha, who stays near Don Bosco, Park Circus, and takes a 15-minute walk to visit his branch once a month for his pension, said, “It is a great initiative.” Nearly 32,000 pensioners like Jha, who are on the wrong side of 75 in Bengal and have a pension account with SBI, can now opt for this service from April.

The unique scheme, named ‘SBI 75+’, is the brain child of SBI chairman Arundhati Bhattachrya. The chief general manager of SBI (Bengal circle), Sunil Srivastava, pointed out that this is for the first time any bank in the country has undertaken such an initiative of hand delivery of pension at the door steps of elderly people.

“The scheme would be rolled out across the country over a period of time if it is found feasible. We were working on it for a few months following instructions from our chairman. We found that a lot of pensioners are staying alone as their children are abroad for studies or work. It is really difficult for them to withdraw the pension. Their number is increasing rapidly. We have tried our best to lend our helping hand to them,” he said.

Nationally, the number of pensioners aged 75 years or more would be over five lakh for SBI alone. The total number of pensioners with SBI is over 36 lakh now. There are 2.39 lakh pensioners in Bengal who are SBI account holders. Around 14% of them are in the 75+ age bracket. “There are 17 pensioners in the 100+ age bracket as well,” added Srivastava.

Srivastava explained that SBI will publish a helpline number 9674711102 for enrolling into the scheme. Once enrolled, the bank will issue two photo identity cards for the pensioners. “One identity card will be with the customer and another with the branch. While delivering the pension, the identity cards will be exchanged. This will act as a safety net to the whole process. Our own employees will deliver the pension. We shall only charge Rs 50 for this service per transaction,” he added.

To read the original article, go here.


Free Hearing test for Old is Gold Store customers

Free Hearing test Hearing issues are often neglected.  And if not rectified in time, hearing problems can get worse, so much so that one might lose ones hearing completely.

We, at Old is Gold Store, understand the importance of preserving each of our faculties and senses.  To help our customers take the first step, we have arranged for free hearing test.  To avail this, please call us at 044 244 66244.

HC Concern for senior citizens

The Orissa High Court on Tuesday issued notice to the State Government over non-implementation of the provisions under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.
Acting on a writ petition filed by a senior citizen Tarini Charan Padhy of Nabarangpur, the division bench of Chief Justice AK Goel and Justice AK Ratha has directed the State to file response within four weeks.
The petitioner drew the attention of the Court to the problems and sufferings of the elderly population in the State due to non-implementation of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act in the State.
The Act while mandating establishment of old age homes, providing special beds and wards for senior citizens in healthcare centres along with facilities for their treatment has stipulated constitution of Tribunals to deal with the problems and complaints of the elderly. They should be treated with respect.
It is a matter of grave concern that even after a lapse of five years, the State Government has not even moved to frame the rules for the act nor taken any steps to implement the provisions. Despite repeated appeals to the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary, and other Government authorities no action has been taken, Padhy alleged. The petitioner submitted that the population of senior citizens in India is steadily on the rise and projected to grow faster in the coming years.Senior citizens constitute 8.5 per cent of the population at present in State, however, it is more than the national average.
This evolving demographic situation calls for fresh thinking at the policy level to not only take care of the ageing population but also devising ways in which the potential of the senior citizens can be fully utilised.
You can read the original here.

Of remote caregivers and happy endings…

Mr. P came to our store yesterday. Since his mother’s passing 6 months ago, he had not had any reasons to come to our store, so it was a bit of a surprise for us.

More surprisingly, instead of the usual glum look, he was grinning from ear to ear. And he had a lady in tow. With a great deal of affection he introduced the lady as his lovely wonderful sister from Delhi. He also announced that his sister had arranged for an all expenses paid 15-day trip to Europe for him and that he was leaving next week and would like to buy some Anti-embolism stockings for himself.

He chatted with us for a few more minutes, paid for the socks and left with a spring in his step.

We were happy to see this wonderful change in Mr. P for we knew that neither his life nor the relationship with his sister had been so sunny before.

His ailing mother had lived with him for over 10 years till her recent death. A seventy year old retiree himself, it must have been difficult to look after himself and his mother. His sister apparently had offered to look after their mother, but unfortunately the Delhi climate had not suited her so after a short stint she had returned to Chennai to stay with her son.

According to Mr. P, his mother had been a dynamic woman, till a sudden stroke imprisoned her to her bed. A lot of the frustration she must have obviously felt subsequently was regularly taken out on poor Mr. P, as he was the only one around, and that caused him quite a bit of angst. Things got worse when his sister came visiting (which she did diligently every month or so, for a day or two) as their mother showered a whole lot of love on her daughter during those monthly visits.

Mr. P found it difficult to reconcile the fact that he did all the looking after, but was treated so badly, while his sister could just breeze in once in a while, cuddle up with mom, feel happy and go back to her life.

After every such visit, Mr. P would personally visit our store (forsaking the door delivery facility), ostensibly to collect some more diapers for his mother but really to vent his pent up frustrations. Once in a fit of rage, he said “I do all the cleaning and feeding etc., and all I get is cursed roundly”. After fuming for a while his anger subsided, and then he continued “My sister is nice. What can she do if my mother is frustrated with me? I guess it is good that she is here and amma is happy for at least a couple of days”. On our part, we were happy to be his release mechanism. After all, we are no strangers to such situations having seen similar stories play out at many of our clients’s homes.

We have a name for people like Mr. P’s sister – Non-resident family caregivers. As a class, they are usually well-intentioned and try to be as helpful as possible. They are also usually guilt ridden, being unable to participate more in the caregiving process. However, their good intentions do not always translate into supportive action. More often than not, their well-meaning suggestions come out as ill-conceived meddlesome advice.

If you are a non-resident caregiver, understand that the primary caregiver is usually under a lot of stress and hence may be a little short of patience, even though they would very much like to have all the support from you. The best way you can be a remote caregiver is to be supportive of the primary caregiver and shower them with all the love and affection you can give.

Mr.P’s sister is doing just that and we can see how that is having such a positive impact on his life. We wish Mr.P Bon Voyage and wish him many more happy years ahead!