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Gurgaon elders find home away from home in old age facilities
Like many things, the concept of old age homes is a borrowed western concept in India. Especially in Gurgaon, where immigration is high and both the partners work and believe in nuclear families, old age homes are a practical solution for many.

A man's life is normally divided into five main stages namely infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age. In each of these stages an individual has to find himself in different situations and face different problems. The old age brings it's own problems. Nowadays, with a large number of youth hitting foreign shores and women working outside homes, many aging parents are left behind alone or put in old people's facilities. It’s a shameful state of affairs that there has arisen a need for old age homes in modern times.

Visiting Kriti Hospital in Gurgaon, situated in Sector 56, opened my eyes to people, who have lives their lives and are waiting patiently for their families to come back for them. Housing around 50 patients, this hospital is the perfect blend of old age home and hospitality where people leave their elderly mother or father and they are taken care of by the staff in return of monetary guarantee.

As I entered the yellow coloured room with a big window by the side, I saw a hand is stretched towards me with much warmth. Room 102 might have been an ordinary room in an ordinary home in Gurgaon, but it was just a facility with a patient, who has been ill for the last eight months and have been waiting for her family ever since.

Young at heart and with a book in her hand, Vrinda or may I say Dr. Vrinda Swaroop was all smiles and witty lines. When asked as of why was she here, she replied with a famous phrase ''majboori ka naam Mahatma Gandhi''. A Ph.D in Sanskrit, Vrinda was the principal of Gokul Das Hindi Girls PG College (Moradabad) in her heyday.

Talking of the bygone days, she proudly boasted about her promotion from being a mother to a grandmother and thereafter a great grandmother. Still savoring and rejoicing the moment she held her great grandchild firmly in her arms, she talks at length about her home and family. The 82 year old replies after a pause when I ask her about her family and where are they now. ''They come to visit me often,'' she whispers. Remembering her glory days, she questions, ''kisne socha tha aise din bhi aenge !''

Another man, who wishes to remain anonymous and who cannot really speak waits each day with the single hope that his family would come and take him back to what he still thinks as home. There was another women, who seemed really ill, but irrespective of her condition her family can make time for her just one day a week. This hospital, which is home away from home love these people and tries to make them as comfortable as possible.

Dr. Meenu Tyagi (MBBS, DFM) of Kriti Hospital says ''they are like a family now, we celebrate every festival with them. They feel like home here,proper care is provided to the aged with emotional support as well. They share their various problems with us, to which we try to find a solution.'' When asked whether their families visit them or not , she said ''some of the families come, whereas the others just send in the money for their treatment. Some don't come even once in a year.'' Children are taken to old age homes from schools to meet and understand the value of elders in their lives. It is an irony that what the parents are trying to pass off to their children are absent in them. The love the elderly bestowed, the sacrifices they made, their dreams and wishes that they killed for their next generation seemed to be in vain.

The concept of old age, which is really taking a shine with Gurgaonites was actually thought of in the early nineteenth century. Concerned that how the older generation may end up, church groups and women began establishing special homes for the elders in the west.

Not everything is wrong with the system as in some cases, it is better for the old parents to stay in an old age home. If the children stay in a different country and parents do not want to spend their last years in a foreign country, then the old age homes prove to be a good option where they can also visit their children through occasional trips. One more good reason for the parents to stay in old age homes is that if they face humiliation and disregard at home, old age home will help them rebuild their self respect and also they can find other old people as their new companions.

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