Sep 24, 2023
Sep 24, 2023
Home: The very name has a warm ring about it.
The definition for the word home is ‘a place where one lives’. The home is like a nest, a snug retreat, which shelters young ones. Babies are borne, brought up with great care by parents. As soon as the younger ones grow and become self-reliant with complete support from parents, they spread their wings just like birds and fly away to distant lands. The parents are left lonely in their now empty homes.
Nowadays parents no longer wish to stay in their homes after their children leave them to pursue their separate lives. With years of fond memories associated with their homes, parents prefer to reside rest of their lives in a home, which has a different connotation. − It’s an institution, a gated community for senior citizens.
My reference is not to the regular old age homes for the destitute. The home I mean is the ownership of which would cost a tidy amount depending on the size and the comforts offered. But, the money is not a deterrent as the people are retired persons from high positions. What they require is a life of dignity in the dusk of their lives.
It’s becoming a common practice nowadays for senior citizens to sell their old houses (homes) for a tidy fortune and settle down with dignity in such institutions, which offer them all possible comforts and luxuries. Most parents prefer to settle in locations away from their original homes.
Not that parents are pessimistic or cynical in making such a move − it’s only that they no longer want to cling to their now grown up children unlike the previous generations senior citizens for financial or moral support. They realize that hoping and waiting for their children to come back to them and ‘live happily ever after’ as joint family will be sheer foolishness. To expect anything in return from their children for their life long efforts will only result in disappointment.
Parents are practical now what they did for their children was duty. They are not disillusioned that their sons or daughters are duty bound to take care of them in their old age. With changing values it’s much wiser to go separate ways.
The community living offered by such homes is a great solace to senior citizens. Life-long experiences are mutually shared. Long forgotten dreams or hobbies are made true now with sparkling swimming pools, well-maintained tennis courts, well-equipped libraries offered by the new home Spiritual discourses by eminent people, musical concerts that were impossibility due to the demanding life-involving youngsters now becomes a reality. Of course, tidy amount is collected in the form of maintenance by the community management.
Tables are reversed now-instead of ever being in the position of planning meals and coaxing children to eat, parents are now offered highly nutritious balanced meals in a royal manner.
No more waiting endlessly for their children to visit them some day to rid them of their loneliness. The busy schedule of the senior citizens in the form of Sanskrit or Veda classes makes them treat their children like any other guest. Anyone is welcome to stay with them as their guest, sight see nearby places making use of the readily available transport facilities in the home. It is a common sight to see little children running around in the plush greenery of the gated community – they are spending invaluable time with their grandparents during vacation. Also, talented grandchildren, who may be pursuing music as profession, are invited, during their visit, to perform in the well-equipped auditorium. It actually serves a dual purpose – the talent is nurtured and there is a positive interaction among the family members.
Therefore the new concept of senior citizens’ gated community mainly helps get rid of feelings of guilt by youngsters and also gives a confidence to elders that there is a life to be enjoyed without the presence of their children. This realization by parents will help them greatly mentally and physically thereby making the society a heavenly palace.
I visited my parents in a gated community in Coimbatore and interviewed some of my parents’ friends:
Question: Why did you move to this complex?
(Kamala Buvaraghavan, 65 years, her family resides with his family in USA) − I came with the intention of leading a peaceful and comfortable life. I feel physically and emotionally secure in this atmosphere.
(Major E.V. Subramaniam, 67years) − The community living would definitely in case of inevitable separation of my wife and me by death. Moreover I do not wish to disturb my two daughters-one is a Doctor residing in Chennai and the other one resides in USA. I have no sons.
(Mrs. Rajeshwari Subramaniam) − After years of toiling for the family, I do not want to bother with cooking, cleaning or house maintenance. I am now free to do what I have always longed to. I am learning Sanskrit, Bhagavad-Gita that gives me immense satisfaction.
Question: How do you spend your time here?
(Mrs. Devaki Lakshmikanthan) − I am learning Bhajans and Classical songs with utmost interest, which earlier in my life was unthinkable.
(Mrs. Rajeshwari Subramaniam) − The possibility of pilgrimage tours is the main attraction for me in this campus. Planning such tours becomes easy with the presence of like-minded people here.
(Mrs. Kamala Buvaraghavan) − We spend time listening to spiritual discourses and reading philosophical books without any disturbance.
Question: Do you have medical facilities here?
(Mr. S. Lakshmikanthan, a senior retired government official, B.E. and IIM, Bangalore) − Yes, eminent Doctors visit our home twice daily. Also the complex is well tied up with reputed hospitals in Coimbatore. Apart from this, sick people are taken care by trained staff here.
The dream of a ‘commune’ seems to have come true in senior citizens’ gated community It’s a living proof of the saying ‘Home is where the heart is’.
More by : Sujatha Natarajan
|Hi Meenakshi, thanks so much for the appreciation. Coming from a book reviewer, it's an honor indeed.|
|Sujatha, very well expressed, and I am impressed that you conducted those interviews. They give a more personal flavour to the article.|
|Fairly depicts the mindset of many upper middle class 50 + group.|
Yes, affordability is the main criterion.
I am not too sure of the food aspect though. Because, the food related complications are the major medical worry for the 50+ group.
On the aspect of expectations from parents and guilt on children - I truly feel that times have changed and the economic independence of the parents should make them think that they cannot and should not approach the subject on emotional grounds alone....perhaps with a pinch of spiritual detachment...
|Excellent article. Not a new message but well written and good structuring. American dream and path to citizenship has also discovered new way of living for senior citizens in India. Of course the catch is only who is rich and has good savings can afford this :)|